Remembering The Special New Year’s Eves With My Big Brother, Gene Paplanus – By Penny Showalter

My big brother, Gene Paplanus, died Jan 1, 2021. Since then, my days have been filled with tears, but there have also been moments of joyfulness. I remember, for example, some incredibly special New Years Eves spent with Gene.

For a few years between what our parents must have characterized as the we gotta hire a babysitter for the kids for New Year’s Eve stage and the both the kids are going out on dates for New Year’s Eve era, Gene orchestrated our own galas to herald the New Year. After our parents left for the evening, we would start our party, dressing up and setting the table with a festive dinner. While our midnight toast featured ersatz champagne (aka ginger ale), it was a real celebration that I loved because I was with Gene.

Later, Gene and I would observe New Year’s Eve by going our separate ways, first to parties with our respective dates and then to festivities with our own sets of family and friends — and those events were wonderful, but they never replaced my forever memories of those brother and sister celebrations.

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