Happy New Year to all, we’ve just been through a decade of change that has shocked the world. Who would have thought, at the beginning of the decade, that blood thirsty maniacs would crash and destroy the Twin Towers in the name of religion? Who would have thought that the Catholic Church would ever close schools and churches? Who would have thought that a billionaire mayor would buy elections, abandoning the will of the people? Apparently anything is possible and the only hope we have for the future are our children.
This all came to mind Sat. Dec. 18, when this Santa attended the first Christmas party my co-op, Harway Terrace, had in over 30 years. When my kids went to PS 212, the mothers set up Christmas parties for the kids. The custom has been revitalized three generations later, when the childbearing parents took over their parent’s apartments (or those that retired to Florida) and started the Holiday Party committee.
The grandmothers that remained urged their children to revitalize the Christmas parties — now called a “holiday” party in deference to the different ethnicities of the co-op members. (I don’t need to tell you that I objected strenuously to the renaming and said this Santa Claus only goes to Christmas parties).
Since I am the president of the Board of Directors of Harway Terrace, I attended as Santa’s Helper, having grown a month’s old beard, and wearing a red tri-corned jesters hat and red shirt, arriving on my trusty scooter with flashing reindeer antlers.
Harway’s mothers did a magnificent job of decorating the newly refurbished community room into Santa’s Playland. Over 40 kids were in heaven doing crafts, making gingerbread houses, putting their names on their Santa caps, playing games and generally running helter-skelter as kids always do. Giving credit where its due, the parents’ party committee did a grandiose job: Randy, Tara, Dina, Amy, Joanne, Erica, Dorothy and, of course, Louie, who came dressed in an authentic Santa suit complete with fur-lined booths.
The parents collected $5 per child and, with generous donations from the Board of Directors and Saparn Management, were able to supply pizza, candy, cake, cookies, soda, booty bags and juices to everyone.
The parents and grandparents also filled their tummies at the happy holiday party. Each child was given a gift from Santa, who, of course, knew exactly what the children wanted.
This party was filled with holiday spirit, and allowed the parents, as well as grandparents, to mingle with other co-op members of the 360-unit complex. Mind you, in 30 years, many have moved out and into Harway Terrace. The ethnicity has changed from predominantly Jewish and Italian to a mixture of Russian, Asian, Pakistani, Polish and others.
What’s that old adage … “and a child shall lead them?” With such a successful party to build on, the mothers plan to include otherholidays throughout the year for the kids. Halloween, Hanukkah, Purim, Fourth of July, Easter, and maybe Christmas can get its own individual party again.
Who knows? Miracles are known to happen this time of year. The parents feel that the kids would enjoy, respect and — at the same time — learn intercultural customs and holidays. This will be our hope for the New Year and for years to come. Happy New Year everyone!
Screech at you next year!