Everybody has moments that they will always remember. Where you were when the Towers fell, how you felt when you finally got that puppy you’d begged, borrowed and bartered to get, and the day you saw your first Star Wars movie.
When I was a kid my mom and I used to go on weekly movie dates to the Lake Street Movie Theater in my hometown of Oak Park. There was something a little clandestine about this visit though. I was a question kid, and had asked all kinds of questions about what we were seeing, who was in it, how long is it and everything else in between. My mom kept on telling me I’d just have to wait and see and she had this cheshire cat like grin. I was suspicious. She was definitely taking me to see a documentary or something else way too boring for my eight year old brain to handle. We got our popcorn and our pop and we sat down. Then I hear it. It was the iconic opening credits music for the slow crawl. I instantly scooted my little bottom to the front of my seat and was using my speed reading skills to take in as much as I possibly could without missing a thing.
As everyone knows, this movie starts with a bang. There was this bad ass lady with weird hair giving a cute blue and white robot a message and being brave in the face of blasters and lightsabers. It was so cool! As an only child who genuinely enjoyed the company of a good book over other children, I didn’t have the easiest time making friends growing up. Other kids played while I would sit on the concrete wall cross legged and go through Black Beauty again. Star Wars helped change that. I went to the playground the next Monday aflutter with excitement and told the guys in my class about this cool movie Star Wars that I saw. I blathered about it all morning in our line as we waited for our teacher to collect us. I told all the guys that they needed to go see the movie ASAP. Then, out of nowhere this kid named David, who was one of my closer friends at the time said “That’s not a new movie, my dad has had it at home forever.” I spun on my heels and told him he was a liar, I had seen it at the movie theater, therefore it was a new movie because only new movies come to the theater. He said he would prove me wrong and bring it to the playground the next day.
I ran the whole three or so blocks home and had my fried baloney sandwich with my grandpa and waited for my mom to come home. She came in the door and I was on her like white on rice “David C. said that Star Wars isn’t a new movie and that he has it at home on tape.” She looks at me blankly and says “So?” I’m crestfallen, what does she mean “So?” I tell her that only new movies are at the movie theater and she laughs and tells me that’s not necessarily true and that she had seen it when she was a little girl. I went to my room mad, upset that David was right, that I had JUST now been introduced to Star Wars and that I would still have to face the kids on the playground the next day.
I got to school the next day and told David he was right but that he was still a Nerf Herder. He laughed and handed me an invite to his birthday party. I couldn’t believe it, I was invited! I was kind of used to dreading birthday party invite time because I wasn’t always handed an invitation and it was nerve racking waiting all day to not receive a cool slip of paper with your name on it. David said I was cool but I’d be the only girl from school at his party because girls don’t like fun stuff but I do and we could all play freeze tag and hide and seek and eat copious amounts of sugar together all day.
I started feeling at home at school and becoming more social and learning that there were other kids interested in the stuff I was interested in, I just had to look a little harder. All of this came about because of a movie. A movie where a girl with weird hair kept up with the boys and made no apologies for who she was. That girl and that movie helped shape me into the person I am today and I’ll be forever grateful to the princess who used a blaster instead of waiting for a man to come save her.
Carried Fisher died this morning at sixty years old. Carrie was magical and Leia Organa will always be one of the bravest, most magical characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying. She was ‘drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra and I couldn’t think of a more fitting way for an icon of her caliber to go out.