Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I threw away the cork this morning. That’s the cork from the champagne we used to see in the new year. As I threw it away I thought of all the corks I have kept, I could have kept, or never had a cork for to keep. Back in Britain when I was sorting through my things at my parents house I found an old cork. It was the one for my 18th, or was it my 21st, but there it was, unlabelled in a box of loot and booty. Not knowing which birthday it was for, that cork didn’t really lose any worth, but it just felt worthless holding on to.

So the catalogue of corks, those I have, haven’t and never have had:-

18th Birthday. This was a quiet birthday with mum, dad and Helen, just before she headed to University, and so I assume Stewart would have been there too. I got my second stereo, midi cut with a linear tracking two speed turntable. I guess the venue for dinner was The Trooper in Christleton, just outside Chester, that was our de facto celebration restaurant. I might be wrong, it might have been out at Tarvin, or Tarporley in a small country pub. Since University starts in October I am sure Helen was there. The stereo was a Fisher, and replaced my old Bush.

21st Birthday. This was a lot more public. I had a Christmas dinner with some college buddies, and a couple of friends from High School. I don’t remember Helen being around, but she was working by then.

Graduation. Well, there was no champers. Mum and dad took me, and my friend Paula for a nice dinner in Chinatown after the formal ceremony in the Free Trade Hall. I remember it was a good meal, and when we were browsing the shops in Chinatown after there was a rack of Asian Playboy magazines, and Paula teasing me about how I’d probably want to have a look in them.

Engagement. It was New Years Eve 1994 when we formalized everything. I say 1994, because I first came to the US in 1993, and David was born in 1997, implying marriage in 1996, and so, since we had a year of betrothal before, and it was New Years Eve, in Chianti’s restaurant in Merced, on our way home from a day in the snow in Yosemite. I don’t remember that cork, or if we had sparkling wine. I just remember the look of joy on the faces of the people at the next table. It wasn’t a surprise engagement, but we didn’t know that morning we were going to formalize it before the year was out.

Wedding. This must be in the box with the guest book and the photo album. I remember the wedding fell flat in many regards. We had to choose to either marry in America or the UK. It was easier for my immediate family to travel to the US then for Evelyn’s to go to the UK. This made for a smaller congregation, but freed us up for a civil ceremony in a romantic location. It rained in the morning, but dried for the ceremony. I remember my mum was very impressed, but like all couples, in retrospect, we kinda wished we could have took the money and added it to a down payment and got into a house sooner.

Wetting the baby’s head. Sure, this should have happened, but I was on the sympathy wagon through the pregnancy and while he was on the breast. The actual day was very tiring, Evelyn going in for induced labor about 3pm, and after a stressful, sleepless night, going for a C section 22 hours later. Evelyn got some rest, but I had to carry on, straight into new dad mode, not getting any sleep until after visiting that evening. I was allowed to stay in the hospital for a couple of nights. Not having the kids christened or baptized meant we never really got a formal welcoming for the bairns.

Wetting the other babies head. Well, everything moved so quick. From Evelyn asking me to stay to breakfast and not rush off to work until he was in my arms took less than 3 hours.  We were busy with a toddler, a baby, my mum there to help us out, and my busy work schedule.  No time to party, just plenty of cups of tea.

Romantic getaway weekend.  There’s only been one of those since the kids arrived.  I guess at some point there should have been champagne, but we elected to stick to margaritas, tequila, beer and Southern Comfort.  Oh, there was a night away from the kids, and Asti was consumed then.  It felt like a second honeymoon in some regards and a second date in others.

I guess since I left home properly (excluding college) I have had 20 New Years, only one was at a friends, and only one had my parents around.  I don’t always get bubbly, New Years has mostly been a quiet holiday in this household.