I’ve been a fan of Science Fiction as long as I can remember. I was like most little girls in that I loved to read about Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and other princesses. I was different from other little girls in that I loved the tales of Jules Verne, HG Wells and Edgar Allan Poe.
I don’t remember other girls in my class who stayed up late to watch Night Gallery or ran home from school so as not to miss re-runs of Star Trek. Weekends were the best. The mornings were for cartoons like Johnny Quest, Planet Of The Apes, and again more Star Trek. Evenings held treasures like Buck Rogers, Battlestar Galactica and a host of craptastic Sci-Fi films on the local “creature feature” showcase that was so popular in the 1970’s.
While other pre-teen girls had posters of Shawn Cassidy, Parker Stevenson and Andy Gibb on their walls, my room was wallpapered with pics and posters mostly ripped from Sci Fi magazines. The crew of The USS Enterprise was the feature decor, and William Shatner was my very first celebrity crush.
One of my most treasured childhood memories was attending a Star Trek convention in Lincoln Nebraska. Mom and Dad were going to a Cornhusker football game and left my brother and sister and I in the hotel to swim, play pinball and not pour orange juice out of the windows on passers-by. We didn’t even know that Mr. Sulu was in one of the ballrooms of this grand hotel until we started to wander out of boredom. Just tell me that’s not the most thrilling surprise for a group of dorky kids stuck in a hotel for an afternoon!
I grew up and still live in your typical Mid-Western city with a population of about 35,000. While I was growing up, that number was closer to 20,000. I grew up in the 1970’s, so we had no internet, no shopping mall, and only two movie theaters, each boasting a single screen~ as well as a drive in movie theater.
Many movies passed us by entirely, and the ones we were lucky enough to see had been in circulation for such a long time that we had heard more about them than we would have cared to. Star Wars, (when it was still called just plain Star Wars) is a perfect example. I had heard so much about it by the time I saw it, that I was expecting something absolutely spectacular. I don’t know who I thought I was, like a twelve year old girl is a seasoned film critic? Regardless, I was slightly underwhelmed. I do remember seeing Young Frankenstein around the same time. I found that to be a much better movie. Funny, Young Frankenstein was released almost three full years before Star Wars. Didn’t I tell you it took forever to get movies in our little town?
As I got older, my love for horror and sci fi movies grew, and my friends and I would rent movies on the weekends. Back in the day when you didn’t just rent a movie-but actually rented the machine to watch it with too. I remember many evenings when hooking up the damn VCR took longer than actually watching the movie itself.
Time went on. I married. I had children. How was I to know that I would have a house full of boys? My upbringing and my taste in entertainment made being the mother of three sons a much easier and more enjoyable task. I didn’t mind the trucks, the Legos, the Hot Wheels and the constant trail of mud on the carpet so much.
In the 1990’s, when Star Wars was revived in movie theaters as Star Wars Episode IV, A New Hope, we took our boys, then 8, 5 and 3 years old to see it.
That trip to the movies was the catalyst for a shared love and appreciation that continues to this day. The boys grew to love watching Sci-fi, Fantasy and Horror movies with dear old Mom. Saturday mornings were spent with my kids, sitting on the floor with big bowls of sugary cereal, watching Mystery Science Theater 3000.
The boys loved Harry Potter, The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy, The Matrix and of course, Star Wars. We had more Star Wars action figures, Lego sets, Micro Machines, puzzles and video games than you could shake a light saber at.
One year, they all dressed as Star Wars characters for Halloween, wearing costumes made by Your’s Truly. What could possibly be cuter than a 5 year old Luke Skywalker and an 8 year old Han Solo, led through the streets of town by an 11 year old Darth Vader on the quest for candy?
I allowed them to attend midnight showings of films they had waited so desperately to see, and even took them to a bad movie festival once. Keeping them out until 1 am to see The Giant Gila Monster, Robot Monster and the abysmal Plan 9 From Outer Space. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. You must be the coolest mom ever!
At least, that’s what I hope you’re thinking.
This Christmas, as my adult sons sat in my living room, bantering about the latest Sci Fi movies, watching You Tube videos and marveling at the gingerbread R2D2 I made the youngest (AKA Luke Skywalker, turning 20) for his upcoming New Year’s Day birthday, I thought to myself...yeah, I AM the coolest mom ever.