It’s a ‘Knew’ Day



I love old photographs, but new toothbrushes. I love old books, but new scientific discoveries. I love an old house, but a new apartment.

Even before 2014 dawns, my thoughts turned to my love for a new year — when looking at a fresh calendar makes me expect (as unrealistic as it is) that the next 365 days will be filled with nothing but — to quote Lesley Gore — sunshine, lollipops and rainbows.

Then I started thinking about “new” versus “old.” I have little use for an old year, since it cannot be relived. Then again, I do have use for an old year’s pleasant memories and the gains I achieved in some aspect of my life.

I got some new items of clothing for Christmas and am wearing them today, the last day of the year. The first time I wear something new, I practically feel like dancing. Well, that’s not entirely true. The first time I wear new shoes, I do not feel like dancing. Fancy footwork, let alone marathon walking, must wait until new shoes have been “broken in” and the soles have been “scuffed” enough to provide friction on a noncarpeted surface.

I also got a new CD for Christmas, but it’s a CD of old music: Back-to-Back Hits of Al Green and Teddy Pendergrass. So I’d have to say I prefer my music skip-free but by talent that doesn’t rely on automatic pitch-correcting studio equipment and distractions worthy of David Copperfield. Seriously, I don’t even think a Princeton debate team could convince me that Justin Bieber’s “Baby” can hold a candle to Al Green’s “Here I Am (Come and Take Me).”

I also prefer old toys. I am not a hoarder, but I do have the dolls that Santa brought each year when I was a child. They include Patty Play Pal, Chatty Cathy (Mattel’s first string-pulling, talking doll), Little Miss Echo (with a built-in recorder that, alas, stopped working when a battery leaked in her torso) and Baby First Step (Mattel’s first walking doll with a Frankensteinish stride due to her lack of bending knees). Today’s most popular dolls, a Google search reveals, are Monster High. Gimme a break: They’re only about 12 inches tall. Patty is 35 inches tall, which isn’t that much shorter than I was the year I found her in front of our Christmas tree.

This past week, I heard on the news that the average age of cars on the road is 11 years. While some folks like to trade in their set of wheels every year or two, I am still in love with my 1998 model. Familiarity breeds contempt? Hah! Not when I know how to turn on the windshield wipers without having to pull off the road.

Some things are good whether they’re old or new. I love the time-tested dishes that I can make without having to read a recipe book. But I stretched my culinary repertoire over Christmas week and discovered some tasty concoctions that I’ll make again.

Money also is good whether it’s old or new. I am not talking about whether it comes from successful ancestors or a cash infusion when a video game geek sells his invention to Nintendo. I’m talking about the actual money. I love a crisp Federal Reserve Note that hasn’t been soiled by oily fingers. But the paper bills that have more wrinkles than a Mastiff still pay for groceries, theater tickets and parking.

If there’s one thing I could point to that I love to have both old and new it would be this: friends. May your 2014 be filled with both kinds.


Janice Kleinschmidt

For the record, the above photograph is my dad, dressed in a Tom Mix cowboy outfit.


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