My First New Year’s Eve Party and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy”

Driving back to my in-laws this afternoon after taking the kids to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, we sat in the blessedly cool air conditioning of the car (it was nearly 90° F outside), listening to Sirius XM 80s on 8, and Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy1” came on the radio. I did the same thing I always do when I hear that song: flashed back to my first ever New Year’s Eve party which took place while I was in 7th grade.

Only this time, it occurred to me that inaugural New Year’s Eve party took place three days shy of thirty years ago.

My memory of the party is a little sketchy, not because we were drinking, or because so many years have intervened to distort my picture of it, but because it was also my first all-nighter, and that seemed wreak havoc with my 12-1/2 year old brain circuits. What I do remember:

  • The party took place at my friend and fellow homeroom classmate’s house. Her name was Bonnie. The house, I seem to recall, had recently been used in an episode of Matt Houston2, or some show like that.
  • It was an all night party at which boys and girls attended. That was something new for me.
  • There was a scavenger hunt that had all of us roaming about the neighborhood in what seemed to be the middle of the night, looking for the things we were supposed to collect.

After that, things get fuzzy. There was a lot of music, and among that music, Prince’s “Let’s Go Crazy” sticks in my mind as representative of both the time period (late 1984) and the mood of the partygoers. At least, it is what 12 year old kids thought of as “going crazy.”

I seem to remember the sun coming up in the morning. The L.A. river (we called it the “wash”) ran beyond the backyard of the house, and I remember being out there while the sun came up. I remember doing some silly things over the course of the night, too, but there is no need to bore you with those here.

The next day, I was supposed to go to a friend’s house. I did go to his house, and I think I recall Stephen King’s Christine playing on the TV at one point. But I was so worn out that I asked for my parents to come pick me up. I went home. My mom had made lasagna for dinner, but I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t concentrate. Indeed, I swear that I had started to hallucinate from a lack of sleep. I went to bed before the sunset, and didn’t wake up until late the next day.

None of this would be of particular interest, except for my realization that it took place almost exactly thirty years ago. And it shows. I don’t even stay up for New Year’s in Times Square anymore, let alone pull an all-nighter.

  1. Alas, I could not find a good quality version of the video for the song online.
  2. I grew up in Los Angeles, so this was not entirely uncommon.