January 1, 2007
There is a tradition in the South that if you eat blackeyed peas on New Year’s Day, you will have good luck all year. During the 14 years that I lived in New York City, I tried this just about every year, for old times’ sake, until I decided that all the bad luck I was having was because of those peas. From then on I ate whatever I wanted on New Year’s day and things got better. Now, there are those who feel there is no such thing as luck anyway, and to some extent I agree with them.
New Year’s Eve here in Fairhope was wet and unseasonably warm – with a high of about 70 degrees – and I was destined to spend it alone. No let-down, actually. I don’t think much about the coming midnight of the last day of any particular year any more than any other midnight, so I seldom plan anything for it. Anyway, I’m taking an inventory of my stuff, physically and psychologically, at this point, so the rainy Sunday was a perfect day for it.
Also, I looked in the wine rack for something bubbly and found only a bottle of actual champagne leftover from my birthday party last May. Who better to celebrate with than myself? So I laid in some shrimp and fixings for hors d’oeuvre and planned that little party for a party of one. I crawled in bed early but woke up in time to see some of the New York City celebration on tv, and then by midnight our time, the fireworks lit the sky in Fairhope, from a point just a few blocks from my house. I realized they can be viewed from here and started planning a party for next year.
I bought some oranges to make a Buck’s Fizz for breakfast New Year’s Day in case there was champagne left over and I felt like hair of the dog. Buck’s Fizz is the English name for a drink we Americans call Mimosas, except the Buck’s Fizz must be made with fresh orange juice to be authentic (It’s better that way anyhow). As it turns out, I feel like a bracing start today, so there is a little flute of the stuff at my side as I type.
The upcoming year is very promising. Before the end of January I’ll send the outline and a few chapters of the new book to a genuine agent, and if she rejects it, my nephew, also a published author, has promised he’ll help me in the submission of it to his own agent. If it fails to excite either one, too bad -- I’ll go back to other projects, as I have many of them in the works.
The main thing, in Fairhope anyway, about 2007, is that it will mark the 100th Anniversary year of the Marietta Johnson School of Organic Education. Our school was founded in Fairhope the same year Dr. Montessori founded her revolutionary school in Rome. Something about being seven years into a new century, I guess, that breeds reform and new thinking. At least that was true for the 20th Century; the 21st has yet to show us.
The year in Fairhope will be peppered with Centennial events celebrating the school, culminating in a huge reunion of all classes, to be attended by people from all over the world. There is a London-based writer who is considering coming, a seller of antiques in Atlanta, and an environmental scientist from Oregon. We are trying to locate Mary Pat Anthony, whose father was the man who said, “I have a lady in the balcony, Doctor,” on the radio show of the 1940’s called “Dr. I.Q.” There will be at least one graduate of the class of 1927, Mrs. Helen Dyson, who still lives in town and was everybody’s favorite First Life (1st and 2nd Grades) teacher. There is Nicholas Lindsay, son of the poet Vachel, who lives in South Carolina and whom we’ll encourage to attend and do one or more of his famous readings of his father’s work. And there will be Dr. Paul Gaston, Professor Emeritus of Southern History at the University of Virginia, leading a seminar on the work of Marietta Johnson. The reunion will be the high point of the year in Fairhope, at least to a certain blog writer and member of the Board of the school. Sometime during the weekend I'll make a talk about Mrs. Johnson's life and school.
By the end of January there will be a special advertising supplement to the Mobile Press-Register with a calendar of events for the Centennial celebrations for the school. Readers who plan to attend can watch this space for details on how to apply for attendance.
I'm sure other events will occur this year. I'll just be so consumed in planning local Centennial activities, preparations for the reunion, and then the actual reunion, that I'll hardly notice the parade of candidates for election in 2008 or any of the other minor crises of the world outside Fairhope. It will be a good year!