(This is for my mother, at work, so she has something to read during her lunch break--can you read this font Mom? It is kind of small...put on your glasses) Dear George Lucas:
I am not writing to "Thank the Maker."
Our worlds have collided one too many times.
And it is time we talked.
How is it that some 68 year old guy from Modesto has taken over my life?
We have nothing in common really.
True, we are both white. And we both have a lot of facial hair on our chins.
And it is true we both speak English. How do I know that? Because I have seen you do it. On the documentary about you, starring you. Which I have seen. More than once.
And we both know a lot about "Star Wars."
You, of course, know it from somewhere inside your right side of your brain. Me....well, let's just say that I know a couple folks who have jumped feet first into your world. The world you came up with while filming your first true feature film of recognition: American Graffiti. (yeah, I learned that from the documentary too)
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fast foward to 1973:
I grew up with the American Graffiti soundtrack that my parent had on vinyl....see picture below....I always wanted a tiny waist like the woman in black pants. I didn't know what a car hop was because I was in Alaska and nobody 1) looks like this chick and 2) who has heard of a car hop in Alaska?
(by the way, about the waist....nope. Too many German genes)
And it always made me want to go roller skating...which is hard to do in a place with gravel roads and no sidewalks.
For whatever reason, George, you and I have been inexplicably connected since 1973!
That means you came in to my life when I was four years old. Four!
Dude, do you know what I was doing when I was four years old? I was packing my Barbie suitcase with five undies and two shirts and running away to Mary Ann's house down the street.
I was learning how to hooky-bob from her brother, Brad.
I was waiting for my brother, Brian, to be born.
And I still had longer hair (now you know how REALLY long ago that was!). See below:
One of the last few days that my brother
was actually smaller than me
That record moved with our family from Anchorage to the booming metropolis of Soldotna, where records and record players were hard to come by so I listened to it a lot.
I knew all the songs by heart and would wear my skirty outfit (see below) out in the driveway and sing all the songs like I was at the hop...
It was the closest thing to a poodle skirt that I owned.
And look, I still had some hair.
Little did I know I was singing songs to a movie that YOU wrote. Playing American Graffiti out in the driveway to a movie that YOU made.
Fast foward to 1980:
I had just turned 11 when "The Empire Strikes Back" was going to be released. I think I had seen the first one, which of course, is really the FOURTH one but I can't remember.
Mr. Fun had his "Star Wars" moment (which is like the moment people converted to the story) when he was turning 8 (1977). He lived in Washington DC and his mother let him go to the movie theater without adult supervision and watch "The New Hope" for 24 hours straight! You had him hooked at the first laser blasts.
My "Star Wars" moment was one summer day in 1980 when I was reading one of my mom's "chick magazines" on the porch in the sunshine. It was talking about the movie and it was sharing part of the dialog. It was months after it had been released, so they were not "spoiling" anything. I remember reading that *spoiler alert* Darth Vader was Luke's dad! I couldn't believe it. I remember jumping out of the lawn chair, running into the house to find SOMEONE to share the news with.
George, you had me at "Luke, I am your father." I could be a fan of some story where the evil War Lord turns out to be your dad!
I met my natural father when I was an adult, too. He was no evil ruler of the galaxy, thank goodness, although he does seem to have a problem with having a road put into his hidden Alaskan house and is sure that the fall of modern-day society can be clearly pinned on Chuck Norris. Clearly.
Fast foward to 1995:
When our daughter was born and got a little older, Mr. Fun thought like all children who were raised in the 1980's and are now parents, that we had some sort of contractual obligation to buy her a Star Wars (doll) action figure. Well, you might have guessed I had something to say about the fact there were NO girl figures.
No Princess Leia? What's up with that?
I know (from the documentary) that you are some marketing genius and figured out early on that the real money is the branding of underoos and Happy Meals and that YOU are the war lord of all that. So, where is Princess Leia? A major player!
I was so annoyed that of course I called Mattel or whoever was on the back of the box of the male figures, some of which are real losers. They did not connect me to your office in Modesto, but they did tell me that there was no female figure of any kind to be bought because (and I quote) "there is no demand."
Now, I have been on this planet long enough to know a couple things.
Females, make up half the Earth's population. More than half I think, actually.
Females like strong role models in media.
And females like to play with dolls action figures. See where I am going here?
Well, I see that now that The Girl is almost 20 that has been remedied. There are female action figures now! Some even get to hold their own guns! :)
Glad you finally boarded THAT ship, George.
In our world,
the Red Royal Guard is a girl....
that is why she is holding hands
with Darth Vader
Fast Forward to 2005:
Add The Boy and a best friend name Tom to the Andersonville mix.
Tom was recently going through a divorce, and one evening we were all talking about some of his new life goals he was establishing with such a change.
He mentioned attending a "Star Wars" convention.
He was a fan. A big fan.
I had, of course, never heard of such a thing but The Boy was about ready to run and pack his bag right then.
Being the good friend that I am, I said "Mr. Fun and The Boy will go with you." :)
Which lead into, well, it is going to be in Indianapolis this May, which is only 8 hours away and you have never been there Val and we should all go.....including The Girl.
Now, The Girl thought it was THE lamest, worst (and to use her favorite word of all time) stupidest idea of all time. "NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" could be heard throughout the Northland when she found out we were making her go with us. Kicking and screaming.
Of course, they reeled me in with "you have never been there, Val"....you know I can't say no to somewhere that I haven't been.
So that May, we packed up the kids, us and Tom and took a field trip. That was before the four cats, and it was easier to get away back then....:)
This is what I think of my first Star Wars Convention....pardon me, Celebration III:
Too many fat Princess Leias in slave girl costumes. What are they thinking?
Why did we have to wait in line for five hours for a talking Darth Vader doll? And I mean doll.
I liked the M and M costumed mascots
I did NOT like waiting in line for 2 HOURS in the rain just to get into the event arena. Do you know how wet we were? Here, look at this:
Look at their hair and pants! We were soaked.
I liked how by the 4th day (yes, you read that right 4 DAYS) that the stormtroopers had chapped thighs from the plastic costume rubbing them and were all walking very gingerly.
I loved the opening music of movie.
And my favorite part of all....the Star Wars Tattoo contest! My winning choice? The man that had his entire back tattooed....
I am glad I went so I could say "Hey, I went to a Star Wars Convention once." And once was plenty enough.
I thought I was done with you and your imaginary world that week, George.
I was Wrong. With a capital "W."
Fast foward to 2010
Tom is diagnosed with terminal cancer on the way to the rest of his life, and decided that he needed to pay homage to Darth Vader and Darth's naughty friends.
see the Tye Fighter?
This type of tattoo is called a half-sleeve/leg
Learned that from the master artist, J Monk
He decided that he wanted his last trip to be a family trip. You know where he took them...you guessed it.....Celebration 5. A Star Wars convention.
He had invited us to go along. We stayed home but surprisingly, this time it was our Girl who went, but she sure wasn't kicking and screaming....she wanted to go.
They had a "blast"er of a time
(Boba Fett blaster...get it? a little Star Wars humor)
Tom got sicker.
We decided to have a "going away" party of sorts for Tom a few months before he passed away. It was one of the coolest things I have been to.
Tom so impressed the Star Wars costumed folks that came to the party that they had a star wars figure made of him.
He was so happy with it that we buried it in his casket with him.
And my kids were so impressed with the costumed actors that they have now followed Darth Vader's request of Luke to join him in his work in "the Dark Side". I know all about the 501st....I have seen that documentary, too. More than once.
My girl is now an official member of your "501st Legion: Vader's Fist" world...which, of course, is what all good Mormon moms raise their babies to grow up and be. :)
If you want to see what that looks like on any given weekend around Andersonville, read all about it here:
And because I am "that mom," this summer the kiddos and I are DRIVING to Florida for what's that you said? Yep...
Why drive? Because their costumes are too wacky to try to take on a plane. Too bulky. Too fragile.
So, you and I might even be able to meet and have some hot chocolate and a bagel together in Orlando and reminisce about our long history together.
You will notice me. I will be one of the only women there NOT in a Princess Leia costume. Speaking of which, did I mention that we have a pair of cats (the cats formally known as Tom's) Princess Leia and Luke. And our Luke whines just as much as your Luke does in the movies.
George, I guess my point of writing this letter is it appears that you and I will continue to be connected to each other, perhaps for the rest of our lives.
The Girl is already planning which Star Wars figures she wants at her wedding reception someday. The Boy is anxiously awaiting his 18th birthday so that he can join Vader's Fist. We currently enjoy everything Star Wars in our house. Art, figures, ships, more art, clones, and movies on video, regular dvd and blu-ray. I drew the line at the brainstormed idea of entire scene drawn out on The Boy's bedroom wall.....I am NOT "that mom" when it comes to permanent things like that.
I want you to know I think of you often, George. Even when I don't want to.
I am now privy to conversations that include phrases like "my light saber is the wrong color," "my robes stink like sweat," "Dad, will you take At-At to India?" "No, we are not trekkies," "Mom, I met a cool guy in a snow trooper costume when I was speed dating at the Star Wars convention," (that was the scariest sentence out of her mouth....speed dating at a star wars convention) and my all time favorite "Darth Vader lives in Sedalia."
Darth Vader lives in Sedalia? Now that....I do believe. Have you met some of those folks from Sedalia? :)