Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My introduction to Star Wars...

I've recounted this story for a couple of different people lately, decided I should actually write it down, and now is actually the perfect time :)

It was the week between Christmas and New Years, I was 5-years-old, and Seattle was hit with a much stronger than usual snowstorm.  As it does when it gets a proper snow storm (or, ok--let's be real--even a couple of flurries), the city shut down.  Whether my dad had planned to take that time off of work or not, the whole family was together that week.

At some point around Christmas, one of the network TV stations aired the trilogy or at least A New Hope.  So my parents recorded it on VHS - ad breaks and all.  They showed us A New Hope and we all had our minds blown!!  Transported to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away!  The enthralling opening music and scroll (even though my parents had to read it aloud to us), this defiant princess, the twin suns of Tattooine, jedi mind tricks, wookies, droids, lightsabers!!  Then my parents told us there was more!  More of this new, unbelievable drug of wonder, humor, and bravery?!?  Yes please!  Our family was never the "binge-watching" type.  We got one movie a day on weekends and that was it.  But my parents must have been moved by our delightful reactions and put on Empire Strikes Back.  I liked this one even more (and still do!).  His scoundrely romance with Leia cemented Han Solo as my first crush.  And you should have seen our visceral reactions and loud gasps to The Biggest Reveal in Movie History™.  What a film; what a cliffhanger!

Somehow, my parents had been able to get Episode IV and V, but not VI!  With the storm, even VHS Rental Stores (now a historical relic) were closed.  But they had 4 agonized children suffering not only movie hangover but also dying to find out what would happen!  Out of that desperation, my dad phoned a friend, the Smiths, our closest family friends [like I still have their phone number memorized].  They owned the whole trilogy and, yes, they would let us borrow Return of the Jedi.  But since the roads weren't drivable, my heroic dad ran through the snow--a mile and a half uphill, a mile and a half downhill--to obtain the Episode VI.

My dad was a good runner and, though the snow slowed him down, it probably took no more than an hour.  But what. an. hour.  I remember my mom saying, "At least you didn't have to wait 3 years like we did."  I also remember writhing; I'm pretty sure some of us were writhing on the floor, exposed to the pain I would learn to become very familiar with: waiting for resolution.  But at last, we could see our dad jogging through a white world up our street and our rejoicing rivaled that of the Ewoks' we were about to meet!

We watched it, finished it...the whole Star Wars trilogy in one day and it was magic!  I was changed forever.  And that snowy, starry, unique day happens to be 20 years ago this week.  I have seen The Force Awakens twice and am now living again with that dull but sweet pain that accompanies waiting in between Star Wars.  Till then, may the force be with you!