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Summary As the new year, 1917, approaches, the children reminiscence about olden days and dream about the future. Francie feels certain that they will soon have electricity in the house. When the clock finally strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, Katie joins the children in singing songs and cracking jokes. Katie even mixes them all a drink. She is pleased, however, when Neeley claims that a vanilla ice-cream soda tastes better. When Neeley and Francie are alone, they agree that their mother had been testing them with the alcohol; both confirm that they do not like the taste and that their mother has nothing to worry about.
The New Year is celebrated in the Nolan household with remembering old times, dreaming about the future, singing songs, and making jokes. Katie even fixes a mixed drink for the children and herself, but is relieved to know that neither Neeley or Francie likes the taste of the alcohol. Since she has suffered through Johnny's drinking, Katie wants to make certain that the children do not follow in his path.