My Strange New Year’s Eve

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December 31, 2014 by genelup

New Year’s Eve 1967 I didn’t go out to celebrate, but I stayed in my pension in Lisbon, Portugal. A young couple from Rome with small children, a Hawaiian living in Spain, the 19-year-old Portuguese night clerk at the pension and I celebrated the dawning of a new year in the pension’s dining room.

There was a language barrier for some of us, but we could make ourselves known.  At midnight, we sang our separate New Year’s songs – Italian, Hawaiian, Portuguese and I sang the familiar “Auld Lang Syne.”  We all sang solo, and I felt mighty proud to sing that favorite American song.  Four countries (well, Hawaii officially isn’t one) were represented at that small New Year’s Eve party, and we all agreed that the way we spent that night was probably the most touching of all New Year’s parties we had ever attended.  For me, it was the best way to start a new year.

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However, there was a downside to that evening.  Shortly after midnight when the party was winding down, this Hawaiian guy, who had drunk too much, started to talk to the Italian family in Italian.  He translated to me some of the things he said to them.  He asked them if they ever saw a statue of a large penis I guess was somewhere in Italy.  I felt sorry for the Italian couple and their children.  They excused themselves and hurried away. This Hawaiian guy, I found out, is homosexual and he asked me what I would do if he tried to put the make on me.  I told him I would punch him in the face.  He laughed.  I didn’t.  When I left, he said he was going to try to put the make on the Portuguese night clerk.  I hoped he failed.  Alcohol was talking; he really is an interesting guy when he is sober.

(From my book, My Life Shattered then it got worse, until…)

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