My Father, Dad, had three loves movies, sports and frugality.
During the warmer months, we would go to the drive-in movies. One of his favorites was Shankweiler’s where I remember watching “Bambi” and my first memory of that theater was of my brother crying when Bambi’s mother was shot. Another was the Boulevard Drive-In where I remember watching “The Beastmaster” as Dad just kept watching the movie repeating “what the heck, what the heck” as he wrestled with the decision to either head home to keep us from watching or to side with his wallet, as the box office was closed we could not get our money back. We stay, his frugality won.
Cooler weather brought us indoors. His choice of cold weather theaters was the Allen where we made a lasting memory seeing “Grease” or the Eric on Hamilton at which we all saw the last movie with an intermission, “Reds”.
Going to the theater we always, always took in the matinee.
Picture it: Allentown 1977…
If we waited for the next showing, we would not get matinee price, however, the front row was only the seats available. We did our best and adjusted our bodies and distorted our necks to be as comfortable as possible look in at a screen at a 45-degree angle.
The lights dimmed.
Something happened. It was different. Something new. No long introduction credits. The movie began instantly. The screen flooded with stars and words informing the quiet patrons of the story, “so far”.
I remember two things: being grateful I knew how to read and the pain of my neck strain disappeared.
My heart raced as I saw a woman with hair similar to cinnamon-buns communicating with a robot.
Throughout the movie, I watched with a strained neck and sitting, figuratively and actually, on the edge of my seat. I was watching a Princess.
[Yes a princess, I was surprised myself.]
She was not the typical princess who has always been dependent, naive and lovestruck.
She was strong, independent, witty, confident and knew technology.
She was something different.
She was a rebel.
She was feminine.
She allowed herself to love.
She was complex.
I started to notice her characteristics in others around me. Dad’s sisters aunt Dolly and aunt Snooker have this authentic, generous quality about them. Dad’s mother, my grandmother, was the most altruistic person in my youth. I sought these traits in professors, friends and peers. I wanted these attributes to growing within myself, to be associated with these noble qualities. I wanted my personality to be a force of gravity to pull like-minded into my life. I have been lucky. It worked.
This princess inspired me to love technology.
This princess inspired me to become strong.
This princess inspired me to become brave.
This princess inspired me to see my inner princess.
This princess inspired me to to be genuine, to be me.
It is my most cherished memory of my dad taking us to see Star Wars. It is a memory infused in my life. It is my constant reminder of childhood significance flowing through my blood … minus, of course, the cinnamon-bun hairdo.
Thank you Star Wars!