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Some prefer to keep New Year's revelry quiet

January 01, 2000|By KATE COLEMAN

On New Year's Eve 1999, some passed on the noise and crowds of a public celebration, choosing instead to have a quiet time at home with family and a few close friends.

Dress was sweaters and denim, not sequins and tuxedos.

"We just wanted to be kind of quiet," Amaya Dull said. She, her husband, Dave Dull, and a few friends gathered at the Smithsburg home of Dave Dull's mother, Grace Dull.

"I think they took pity on an old widow lady," Grace Dull laughed. "And I'm glad."

One of the party guests, Angie Byers, also was celebrating her 31st birthday. "It's cool that the whole world parties on my birthday," she said.

Was this New Year's Eve different from others? "I feel kind of weird," said Amaya Dull, who said that when she was a child, she couldn't imagine living in the year 2000.

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But the first year of the new century is going to be special for her and her husband. Their first child is due in May.

"It's a regular old day - different year," said Kathleen Costello, 10. She and about 19 other kids ranging in age from 6 to 18 were partying at the north Hagerstown home of Stephen and Debbie Ryan.

About a dozen friends and their children gathered for a planned-at-the-last-minute New Year's Eve party. The children played games, the grown-ups talked and Steve Costello grilled hot dogs on the deck.

"Same hors d'oeuvres, same friends," said Carol Costello of the casual gathering.

"We're into comfort," said Susan McGinley.

Suzy Cochran wanted to make sure that the youngsters would have a memory of New Year's Eve at the turn of the century.

"The memory was just being together," said Debbie Ryan.

The families planned to attend the 10:30 p.m. Mass at St. Ann Catholic Church. Pope John Paul has declared the year 2000 a year of jubilee, McGinley said, adding that she's looking forward to all the blessings of the New Year.

"I'm glad to have family and friends to celebrate the New Year," Stephen Ryan said.

As they have for about 10 years, Pam and Gordon Ott hosted a small neighborhood gathering in their home north of Hagerstown. This year's get-together was more sober than past parties, according to Gordon Ott.

"We've just matured a little bit," said 75-year-old Bob Ballentine.

What are the friends' hopes for the next century?

"My hope is that we don't lose the values that were brought by our forefathers for our children," said Roger Samuels.

"I hope I'll live to see a lot of it," Ballentine said.

The adults joined the youngsters and two of the Ott family cats at the big-screen television in the basement. They watched, along with more than 1 million people in New York's Times Square, as the New Year's Eve ball dropped on the year 2000.

"Don't miss it," said Pam Ott.

The neighbors began the countdown: " Ten, nine, eight ... three, two, one ... Happy New Year!"

"The lights are still on," said Samuels.

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