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A fitting occasion for an elegant frock

We spent a quiet New Year's Eve. Watching the arrival of the millennium on TV, as it occurred around the globe, was stimulating enough. Spectacular. We were awed and thankful for the technology of this era that brought the world into our living room.

Arnie dozed, as he does so much these days and evenings, in preparation for a full night's sleep. It's a blessing that he can drift off into the twilight zone, leaving all cares behind. But it can be boring to celebrate alone to the rhythm of his soft snoring, done while he sits up - before he gets into bed and assumes the serious hooting and tooting mode.


I wore my denim housecoat. It was the proper attire for a couple who have been together on New Year's Eve, except for the three during World War II, for 58 years. Bringing in the next thousand years was a momentous occasion for which I was adorned in my subdued, fine denim gown. The floor-length robe is a madras purple plaid with puffed sleeves.

The pleats falling from the shoulders yield to a fullness of the body. It is elegant. When my daughter gave the robe to me, I tried it on and wore it that day. I thanked her and summarily hung it in the closet. Such a garment couldn't be worn in the kitchen where it would get stained and lose its luster. Over the years, it started in a place at the front of the closet, but moved back, replaced by articles used more often. It hangs there, neat and clean, waiting for the proper occasion - maybe when the Queen of England comes to visit.

However, in 1994 when we cruised on the Crystal Harmony to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, it was part of the baggage. When the captain announced the Britannia, her royal majesty's private ship, was anchored in the harbor next to ours, I was ready. That night, when the only light came from the stars and the full moon, we could see several people moving about on deck. Some passengers from our vessel waved and tried to establish communications, to no avail. I had hoped to find an excuse to invite Her Royal Highness to our cabin and greet her in my housecoat. But you know how those queens are. Snobs.


The Clintons were also on their way to the event, but they flew in on Air Force One and, although I did get a photo of the prez alighting at the site of that awesome cemetery, it was too crowded and distant for an invitation to view the housecoat. Besides, Hillary doesn't seem the type who would be duly impressed: maybe he would be more amenable to come to a lady's boudoir, but that's another story for another time. So I gave up, unpacked the gown after the trip, and it has been hanging ever since, awaiting exposure.

Amid all the hype and hoopla of the Y2K bug and the year 2000, it occurred to me that I have, indeed, lived through most of the 20th Century and that we're not eternal. Although we have deep appreciation that we're still here to start the future with a new era, new great-grandchildren, I've had the housecoat for 20 years. The time to live it up is now. The realization of my mortality struck me as I saw the world turn and the young people in places I've visited. It's later than we think. So, I decked out in the robe as we sipped our champagne at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard time in Broward County, connected electronically to the universe. We accept being of the older generation, in the Third Third, in this new period. Our plan is to enjoy life as we find it from here on out. We can sit in the comfort of home, relaxed in our style of living. If Elizabeth II or Hillary should happen to drop in, I'll find something to don. But, until that time, I'll quit saving for tomorrow and enjoy being with my most important person in my elegant costume.