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Potomac Towers sings in the new year

January 01, 2000

SmoochingBy BRUCE HAMILTON / Staff Writer

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




Martha Carter, 79, danced her way toward 2000.

She skipped and swayed spryly to some rock and roll in the community room of Potomac Towers Friday night. About 50 residents gathered there at about 9 p.m. for a New Year's Eve bash.

Carter is the mother of five, grandmother of 14 and great-grandmother of 16. She expects to become a great-great grandmother in March, the same month she will celebrate her birthday. She wasn't especially excited about ringing in a new millennium.

"It's nothing to me," she said. "It's going to be the same as it ever was."

Others felt differently.

"I think it's great to be able to live into a new century," said Randy Erickson, who played music popular through the decades.

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Erickson, 54, brought his stereo and a karaoke setup downstairs from his apartment. With vinyl records stacked on the table, he spun selections from the 1930s to the '70s.

"I can remember thinking 30 years ago, I've got to make it to the 21st century. Now it's here."

This New Year's Eve was like no other, according to Erickson. Waking up in the morning would be special, he said. "This is a gift God gave us."

He said he hoped people would learn to care for each other more in 2000, stop going to war and feed the hungry.

But on Friday, he was more concerned with fun. "I stayed sober except for six beers," he said with a laugh.

Erickson crooned into his microphone, singing "Only You" along with the Platters. Some residents sang along with him from their seats at long tables. Most wore colored plastic party hats and smiles.

"It doesn't feel or seem different from any other New Year's Eve," said Althea Crowe, 65. "But it's exciting because not everyone can go through into a new millennium."

Evelyn Shay said she hadn't planned to come downstairs to join the festivities, but then decided, "you never know what tomorrow holds."

She was feeling optimistic after battling cancer. "I'm thankful that I'm here to see the old (millennium) out," she said.

Residents chatted cheerfully, blew noisemakers and spun rattles. A few felt frolicsome and headed for the dance floor.

"I love to dance better than eat," said Susan Eichelberger. She tried cajoling Leon Peck.

"Why don't you get up and shake a leg? It'll do you good. It will make you loose," she said.

Peck calmly consumed his refreshments. He playfully shook a fist at someone else across the table.

Sweet red punch, potato chips, pretzels and cookies were served. Louise Jones, 90, organized the event. "I just thought I'd get the people out of their apartments and get a little excitement," she said.

"Life's what you make it. You can be miserable or you can be pleasant."

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