Archive for December, 2014

Banana Splits on New Year’s Eve (1976)


New Year’s Eve: a raucous celebration with drinks and delights for everyone—except me. I, forever the baby, old enough to want for the midnight merriment; young enough to be excluded from what ‘the big kids’ and my parents enjoyed.

But 1976 changed Everything. Jimmy Carter, 52, poised to pull The White House out of Republican scandal; I, 10, finally allowed to stay up and greet the new year.

Still a month away from the Blizzard of ‘77 that would incapacitate Western NY, the gray, frigid Eve perpetuated a gray, frigid December. The twelve-degree outdoor temperature coaxed me into my new Christmas snowsuit, a down-stuffed, full-body outfit, to hike with my older brother and sister to our neighborhood supermarket. I didn’t care about the cold. Midnight loomed large—and we had a rare $5 bill from our unemployed dad. “Treat yourselves,” he invited, handing my brother the money as he and Mom left to play a piano-and-vocalist gig they’d been lucky enough to book.

Five dollars! In the Freezer aisle, we negotiated with the fervor of a United Nations debate; my tiny vote for Spanish peanuts nearly lost amidst my older siblings’ insistent selections: the cubed carton of Sealtest Neapolitan; the jet-black can of Hershey’s syrup; the tall canister of spray crème; the brown ooze of Smucker’s caramel; the stemmed cherries suspended in red fluid; the sticky jar of wet walnuts; the blonde trio of bananas.

Back home, we pulled out the cut-glass, canoe-shaped bowls and began scooping, doling, slicing, dribbling. Transporting our creamy treasure to the family room, we fought over TV trays and couch space.

Finally settled in front of Dick Clark, I spooned in mouthful after mouthful of the banana-laced bounty, waiting for the glittery ball to drop, marveling at the privilege of grown-ups.


Gregory Gerard is author of In Jupiter’s Shadow and The Martini Chronicles, and serves as editor for the
net’s newest narrative nonfiction journal, The Big Brick Review. For more, visit