for old times’ sake

It was Winter Break 1987, and I was in my pjs stringing (and eating!) popcorn with my big sister during Winter Break while It’s A Wonderful Life aired on TV during the local holiday movie marathon. This was my first memory of hearing the song Auld Lang Syne during the final scene of Frank Capra’s 1946 family drama. From then on, I recognized the song when the ball dropped in Times Square while watching Dick Clark’s Rockin’ Eve on TV with my cousins in Ann Arbor, MI.

The melody that has become synonymous with New Year’s Eve celebrations in North America was not widely known until December 31, 1929, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. That was the year that Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians first played Auld Lange Syne at the turn of the new year in a series of popular radio broadcasts. The broadcasts then later turned into television productions and continued for more than 30 years. 

Just as the song was not always popular, neither was the movie It’s A Wonderful Life. It received mixed reviews when it was released in 1946, and it did not even make it to the theater in my hometown until May the following year. The film’s comeback came in 1974 when it was viewed on television sets in households everywhere, because the copyright holder overlooked the film’s renewal expiration. This oversight meant it was free for TV stations to air the movie as often as they wished. And they did! In 1993 NBC bought the rights and now traditionally broadcasts it on Christmas Eve night in the United States. 

This year marked the 75th anniversary of the movie’s premiere at the Globe Theatre in New York. Today the movie is described as a “classic about a man (James Stewart) who is shown the value of his life by angel Clarence.” These are the intangible gifts that cannot be bought or sold, and the past few years have reminded us once again that triumphs are often hard fought, just as George Bailey was reminded by a look at the world if he had never been born. The emotion in his eyes alone at the end of the film show us how invaluable these moments are to him.

When I first heard George Bailey and his littlest daughter Zuzu singing at the end of the movie, I thought the words were, “For Old Lang’s Sign, my Dear.” I figured that “Old Lang” must have been someone from Bedford Falls who had a new house built at Bailey Park, and they were headed over to Martini’s for a party! I did not know that “Auld Lange Syne” was Scottish verse that roughly translates to “Old Times’ Sake.” Though even at my young age, I did understand that together, the community was celebrating a triumph of the greater good. I hope we will do that in 2022.

Auld Lang Syne. Thomas G. Doyle, Bookseller, Stationer, Song & Hymn publisher, No. 297 Gay Street, Baltimore, Md. Monographic. Online Text. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/amss.as100470/>.

For more information and further enjoyment on this topic, click on these free resources:

The Greatest Gift Audiobook by Philip Van Doren Stern – hoopla (hoopladigital.com)

Auld Lang Syne Song History & Lyrics – Britannica

The Seneca Falls It’s A Wonderful Life Museum

OSCARS.org: Wonderful Life Collection Highlights

antidotes and anecdotes, part 1

Single square images and silly hashtags became important to me during a time when blogging did not seem like an option. Since it has been over three years since my last blog post, you can fill in some of my story at my Instagram account. The tagline there used to be “antidotes and anecdotes” much for the same reasons that this blog is called “cozy good times.” I posted images that either amused me or provided a remedy when I needed a reminder of good things during the inevitable. Yes, it is a highlight reel of sorts, aimed at sharing the good stuff whenever possible.

It feels nice to dust off the old WordPress account and begin to document, express, and share again in this way. My goal is to create new content once a week, so shoot me an email at cozywalls@gmail.com if you have ideas of topics to pursue. For now, I will continue to catch you up on a few important developments around here… stay tuned for part 2.

Pumpkin Plate Silly Face

Pink Hair Pumpkin Plate FaceHole Punch Pumpkin PlateGoogle Eyes Hole Punch Craft GlueThread Pipe CleanersGoogle EyesGoogle Eyes Teeth SmileGlue the Google EyePipe Cleaner BraceletSilly Pumpkin FacesSilly Pumpkin Plate Face on Fridge

In case you still need to decorate for Halloween, here’s a simple and silly craft that will put a smile on your face. I put it together for a childcare group earlier this month, so when I had special breakfast guests over the weekend, we made them again at my place!

Supplies: orange paper plates, google eyes, colorful pipe cleaners, hole punch, craft glue, sticky magnet (optional).

Directions: Punch the orange paper plate with three holes in the top for pumpkin “hair” vines and two holes in the bottom for the smiles. Thread the pipe cleaners through the holes and twist them to style unique hair and smiles. Glue the google eyes on the plate and add a magnet to the back.

puppy love chow

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puppy love chow 092 smallYesterday my niece and I made Puppy Chow for a special Valentine’s Day treat using the “Muddy Buddies” recipe on the Rice Chex box. We never called them Muddy Buddies growing up, but looking through these photos, I can see the muddiness right before the powdered sugar comes in to absorb the moisture and soften the texture. I think the powdered sugar makes the crunchy chocolate peanut butter treat irresistible. My niece especially likes that step in the recipe, because she says it looks like a bunch of tiny snowflakes coming from the sky. The recipe is straightforward and simple (I don’t turn the mixture out on wax paper to separate, but I do put the mix in the refrigerator to set). For a finishing heart-like touch and added flavor layer, we studded the tops with white chocolate peppermint M&M’s: another sweet avalanche!

prefab gingerbread castle made fab

candy plate decorating gingerbread castle cinderella candy castle coach cinderella mice candy castle roof gumdrop snowman alienI’ll admit that I was not thrilled with the idea that my niece chose a prefab Cinderella castle kit from the store for our annual gingerbread session this year.  She loves to bake and is now old enough to see the project through from scratch.  I was looking forward to designing our own charming chalet or creative candy cottage a la Hansel and Gretel.  In the end, the gingerbread castle we put together from the kit still allowed for unique touches.  My favorite parts are the mice dancing on the roof and the alien-looking snowmen with the blue eyes (all from the brain of the sweet five-year-old).  I need to remember that these activities are, above all, about togetherness and that the outcome will inevitably be as unique and fabulous as the individuals involved.