May the 4th Be with You – A Journey of 40 years
Today is May 4th and someone somewhere wisely proclaimed this as the day to celebrate Star Wars and it has been that way since 2011 but being a longstanding Star Wars fan my celebration of these movies started almost 40 years ago.
It was a warm summer evening in Oklahoma. I remember being an excited 6-year-old all piled in the pickup truck and cars with my other cousins, we were going to the drive in to see a movie. It was the first drive in movie I can remember seeing and I would have never thought it would have such an impact on this Native girl from middle America.
I can still see the opening sequence, the intensity of the music, then trying to read the words scrolling up the screen when all of sudden there came these strange sounds then this low rumbling sound through the drive in speakers as it echoed through the drive in arena. The sound of of oohs, aah, wows and babies crying all at once. I was hooked and every scene that played out that evening stayed with me from that point forward even today.
I so wanted Luke Skywalker to be my boyfriend, lol. 🙂 I think that is partly the reason my childhood crushes from that point forward were always boys with sandy brown hair and blue eyes. Being a tomboy at that time I really didn’t care about Princess Leia and didn’t come to appreciate her character until the subsequent movies when she showed both her strength and feminine side. Every girl has a Princess Leia inside of her.
It would be 3 more years before Return of the Jedi came out and then another 3 years before The Empire Strikes Back. I was so sad when the Empire Strikes back ended, I remember feeling so lost because there wouldn’t be any more movies, or so I thought. So when the movies originally came out they where all before I became a teenager. I later developed a liking for Han Solo and started following that actor in the Indiana Jones series of movies.
I grew up and kept the fond memories of Star Wars with me. Then later in life I had the chance to share that experience with my own children.
During the summer of 1999, The Phantom Menace was released. My ex-husband and I decided to take my son out of school for the day so we could watch the movie. My son was just a month away from being 6 years old when he saw his first Star Wars movie.
He became hooked too and started having the same dreams that I did as a kid about going into space to see what was there. I unfortunately will never get to see those dreams come true but he may. He recently graduated with a degree in both Math and Physics. I think this was partly because of the influence he received after meeting a NASA astronaut during one of our Native American Family nights in our school district but also because of his excitement over the possibilities still yet to be realized as it related to space travel.
These movies became a family tradition of sorts when we wrangled in his two younger sisters but the youngest son never became interested in the movies, even today he thinks we are crazy Star Wars people as he calls it. The Clone Wars in 2002, when the oldest daughter was about 5 years old and then the youngest daughter, in 2005 The Revenge of the Sith when she was 6 years old. These became summer movies of their youth.
As they all got older, we watched the original movies so everyone could now see the sequence of events. It sometimes became our movie marathon weekends. Even though there was major differences in the cinematography from the originals it didn’t matter, the story line is what was important.
In December of 2015 we as a family saw the Force Awakens. It helped tie in what happened to the original characters. I remember having that same awe inspiring feeling watching it like I did when I was a kid. We were so saddened by the loss of Han Solo. My oldest daughter had a tremendous liking for him because he was like a space pirate, something she jokes about being one day, a pirate :). She is currently a biology major in college so we’ll have to wait and see how that equates to characteristics of a pirate.
Then in December 2016 we were fortunate enough to all be together and watch Rogue One when it was released. The last scene when Princess Leia is asked “What is it they’ve sent us” and she turns around and she says “Hope” I started crying. The actress who played her had been ill that week, it had been in the news and in that moment I felt that she wasn’t going to make it. It was on the news the next day that she had passed away from complications due to her illness. It still makes me sad even writing about it today.
So now we anxiously await the next and final movie that ties the original characters together, Star Wars the Last Jedi. The story line that I’ve followed pretty much my whole life is now coming to a close and it doesn’t sadden me because I know there are generations still discovering it today and it will continue on as long as it needs to.
This movie became much more than summer or holiday entertainment. It helped propel the dreams of kids to think up and create the unimaginable. Things we only thought were possible in science fiction movies, stories, books and television.
So as a long time Star Wars fan raising other fans of this franchise, I want to wish you well and May the 4th Be with You always. 😉
Thanks for stopping by.