The New Year of 2019

By Barbara F. Dyer | Jan 03, 2019

Out with the old and in with the new. I shall go along with that, as long as they are talking about the year and not people.

Life has a way of making changes and instead of progression it seems to be regression. But if one has had a good life and no regrets, I think it is fine and normal to regress. Instead of going dancing, I am content to stay home and watch the ball drop at midnight, but very glad I am not in Times Square. My friends say that the ball will drop even if I am not watching; it always has. I am up anyway so why not see the New Year in.

As far as New Year Resolutions go, my interest isn't there anymore. A large percentage say they are going to lose weight. That is soon broken, I know, as I was always one of the percentage. Besides at my age, one needs a little padding, just in case they might get sick. Over the years, millions of dollars have been spent on the latest diet, only to find it is simple; just eat less, more veggies and fruit, plus exercise.

It is, however, difficult to exercise when you are using a cane or walker (as most of my friends are now). Other than doing a few to keep the muscles stronger, so you do not stagger like one who has had a few too many, I find knitting, making jewelry and greeting cards to be enjoyable exercise. Mind exercises are necessary, like meditation, reading and/or writing a column for the paper. Some say you should be “mindful all the time.” So many things we do repeatedly every day, it is so automatic that some times we wonder if we had done it. Our mind wanders, but they say if you can notice it wandering, bring it back. A busy mind is a good thing.

Speaking of New Years, I remember the year 2000, when it was said that all computerized things would go haywire. We were going into a new century. Camden had one of the best celebrations of all times. There was dancing in the fire station. The parade ended at the public landing and I was riding with the time capsule on a hay wagon. I was supposed to meet two friends there and I looked and saw just people that filled the whole public landing. They found me and I never did know where the capsule was buried or when it would be re-opened.

There was a brass concert in the St. Thomas Episcopal Church, something else in the Camden Opera House and events all over town. The stores were open and had treats. One of my friends even left her house open, with the door unlocked and goodies all on the table, in case some were hungry. It was a great celebration, as the year 2000 came, and everything run by computers did work. It was an evening that included the whole town and is still remembered.

In the “good old days” Guy Lombardo and his orchestra always played on New Years Eve, I believe at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. He never failed to finish with the song “Auld Lang Syne.” I never got to see him in New York City but in about 1950 the Big Bands were beginning to run out of steam in the cities, and they all came to Maine. A group of us went wherever a popular band was playing, as we had only heard them on records or the radio. We went to Waterville to see and hear Guy Lombardo, who was playing, and it was about the hottest night of the year. But if his orchestra, The Royal Canadians, could play in the heat, we certainly could dance to his music. It was great. He also came to Oakland Park in Rockport.

It was a wonderful year. Harry James came to the Augusta Civic center and played his trumpet like no one else could. We also went to Belfast to dance to his music, as he played on the steamboat pier. He had given up his band about 1947, but then started up again and played until he died in 1983.

Even though we had to be at work by 8 the next morning, we would travel to Old Orchard Beach to hear Cab Calloway and hear him sing, “Minnie the Moocher.” He sang just about every song his orchestra played. We also saw Louis Prima there one night. We were at work on time the next day.

Vaughn Monroe was one of my favorites and he came to Lewiston, and Rosemary Clooney was his vocalist. He gave up his orchestra about three years later and he died in 1973.

Sorry, I get carried away when writing about the Big Bands but they were in my day, although some of my readers may not have heard of them. It was real music and nice voices. Unlike today, you can even hear the words and understand them.

Yes, I shall watch the New Year 2019 come in, at home by the fire. I am thankful for every new year I see. I hope you are also, as they are a gift, regardless of your age.

Happy New Year.


Barbara F. Dyer has lived all her life, so far, in Camden and is the official town historian.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Jan 03, 2019 13:56

Thanks for the memories as Jack Dempsey used to say. Happy New Year Barbara. You are not alone feeling life speed by too fast. Here now with my daughter Maureen in AZ and loving it. But I do have memories and read on line your weekly column....Blessings!

Mary "Mickey" (Brown) McKeever +:)

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