If I get the chance to sit and think on New Year’s Eve, if I’m not expending all my energy cooking for and cleaning up after my sister and her kids (grumble, grumble), the first thing that enters my head is the memory of New Year’s Eve 1975. (My god, that’s twenty-nine years ago!) I was sick that day, running in and out of the bathroom all afternoon with a mild case of the Tijuana two-step. (More information than you wanted, I know, but it’s relevant to the story…) My new boyfriend and I (we had started dating a week or so after Thanksgiving) were invited to a party at my best friend’s house. Though I didn’t eat, and couldn’t drink (waaaaah!) we went anyway. It wasn’t much of a party. Maybe a dozen people huddled down in the basement of the ancient house my girlfriend and her…domestic partner…had purchased a few months earlier. I can’t even recall who was there, what we did, whether there was music, or games. What makes the evening memorable is that it was the night my husband asked me to marry him. He was drunk…I was not. So, I said, "Sure, dear!" figuring he had no idea what he was saying, and was never going to remember any of it in the morning, anyway. Reality set in the next day when he asked me, "So, you’re still gonna marry me, right?" Whoa! Say what? Commence panic-stricken back-pedaling.
After the initial freak-out period, and setting and re-setting the date a couple of times, we DID finally tie the knot before the year (1976) had run its course. By Valentine’s Day, husband had moved out of his parents’ home and into an apartment with a roommate; and though I didn’t "officially" move in with him until months later when we got our own apartment, I just…didn’t sleep at home anymore after that. I think it was the middle of June when I sat down on the foot of my parents’ bed as they were changing out of their work clothes one evening, and said, "Well, I guess we're going to get married in October…" Dad tried to look serious, as befitted the occasion…but he was beaming (he'd always liked this boy…) My mother must have shit a brick: Sixteen weeks to plan the wedding. I was too starry-eyed to notice.
Most women I know can accurately cite the anniversaries of all the milestones in their early relationships with their partners. I don’t remember any of that stuff. I didn’t run home and make note of the exact dates. I remember this---the date of my first and last marriage proposal—primarily because it happened on a day that was easy to recall. Still, it’s a lovely memory to have, tied as it is to a day that one traditionally ponders one’s blessings. I’ll always have the beginning of the greatest partnership of my life to look back upon and smile on New Year’s Eve.