I saw Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (the original Star Wars movie, for those unaware (Dude. Do you even Star Wars?!?) ) in the theater with my father.
I was 5 years old and I fell asleep. I remember crying the next day when I woke up…I was upset about not even making it halfway through the movie. But my dad took me again to see it and that was a big deal. A really big deal! Trips to the theater weren’t common and going to see a movie twice wasn’t an option I knew existed. Going alone with my father was unheard of and I only remember doing it one other time in my life and that was to see this gem. All I remember about THAT experience was thinking “this definitely wasn’t worth the popcorn!” and wishing I would fall asleep.
Sitting in the theater, watching Star Wars, I asked my dad “who’s the bad guy?” and if we’d seen him yet. This was a common question from me…there was always a “good guy” and a “bad guy” in the movies I watched with my father (and in John Wayne movies there was what would become my favorite type of hero, the chaotic good “Bad Good Guy”) and I was always worried I had missed something in a movie. I clearly remember him whispering “You’ll know him when you see him, Kiddo…” with a touch of excitement in his voice and DAMN if he wasn’t right!
Thirty-five years later I watched my own children’s faces when Darth Vader made his first appearance and I was thrilled at the wonder and fear I saw there, knowing that three little hearts and heads were hooked, just as I had been. In that moment, as a parent, I felt more connected to my father than I ever had before despite him not being in my life for 24 years by that time.
I saw The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi in the theaters as well, with both my parents and all (or most) of my siblings. At the time, the excitement of seeing the continuation of the story on a big screen while we were on vacation was also a big deal. I felt part of something big and just genuinely happy.
Through the years, the memories of those experiences became more cherished and valuable…that nostalgic air creeping in, tinting those finite experiences with a bittersweet pall, realizing just how lucky I was to have had no idea what lay ahead. I had the freedom to enjoy those moments without weight in my heart and not a care in the world. Hindsight gives those memories more importance than they would have garnered on their own, but being aware of that doesn’t lessen the impact.
As I grew up the reasons I loved Star Wars changed…developed, matured and deepened, it is a deeply rooted emotional thing for me, but the foundation of that love would always be a simple memory of sharing something with my father that could have been mundane and forgettable but wasn’t.
-Rainy day slacking ❤
(And can I just say how amazing a thing the internet is?? For years I have tried to remember what the hell that crappy other movie I saw with my dad was…I only remembered that it had something to do with Noah, but was an archeology movie and not religious, had a lot of boring (to a kid) talking and desert…less than two minutes on Google and I was not only able to find out the name, but was able to see footage and finally understand why my father wanted to see that movie. The man loved B movies, thematic cheese, and nothing piqued his interest more than a good conspiracy theory…The Search For Noah’s Ark probably satisfied all of those interests for him. I’m going to watch the movie again…hopefully it won’t inspire another post 😉 )