When Star Wars Episode 4 came out in May of 1977, I was five years old – despite which, I vividly remember standing in line outside the theater with my father, waiting for a matinee showing. It was a sunny day, and there were people everywhere. They did not form a line like we did at school, quiet and orderly, waiting for graham crackers and pillow time; they stood four and five abreast, restless and eager, the whole mass of them like a thick, ropy, nervous snake. I had never seen my father so excited, which is probably why I remember the experience so clearly. He was practically dancing.
Within months, I had the original Kenner action figures, the ones with the vinyl capes and weak-tipped lights sabers built into their arms. After that, I had fighters, and in 1978, the Death Star station, the one with the trap door, the foam garbage, and the extending bridge. Years later, when I was 9, Kim Duncan and I were playing with the Death Star on my living room floor when my dog walked up and unceremoniously barfed in her lap. Luke himself could not have made a more direct hit.
When I met my husband, I was about to turn 22. It wasn’t long before I discovered that he was a Star Wars geek, too. Growing up, he didn’t earn money for doing chores; he earned Star Wars figures. Although that was not the precise moment I knew that our souls had been cruelly severed at birth, it might as well have been.
My husband, Jason, opening a Star Wars toy in 1981
Because he asked for Star Wars toys every single year, for every single occasion, Jason had things I’d only dreamed of owning: Cloud City, Dagobah, the cantina, the Rebel Transport, Hoth. Better still, his parents still had them. Like, ALL of them. When I flew to California to meet his family for the first time, I had not been inside the house for five minutes before I demanded to see the goods. I can’t imagine what my future in-laws thought of this brash girl who marched in, shook hands, took the tour, and started bellowing orders, but they didn’t ask me to find a hotel, so that’s something. They also took this picture.
When George Lucas re-released the movies, Jason and I were there, in line for the midnight showing at the Cheri Theater in Boston, with people dressed in costumes. Years later, we watched Episodes 1, 2, and 3, faithfully, even when they made us cringe. We showed Episode 4 to our son long before he was old enough to understand it. I don’t know that he caught the fever, but he at least caught the cold, because when he was five, he asked to be a Jawa for Halloween. We spent days working on the costume – both of us. I even sewed.
For all these reasons and dozens more, I was beside myself when one of my favorite customers contacted me about a Star Wars commission. She wanted something that could involve lots of characters, and as odd as it may sound, I came up with . . . egg cups. No really.
Here’s the picture I sent her earlier this week:
This is going to be so much fun I can’t stand it. I might have to walk up and barf on a dog.