Memory Holobook

As my daughter grows up, I’ve become quite sentimental about Star Wars and view it differently than I did even five years ago. I believe it’s because she’s getting to the point where she watches the movie with me (she’s watched ANH twice!) and can finally begin to have conversations about it.

Generally, it goes something like this:

4 yo “Mama, Riley had a shirt with BB-8 on it!”
Me “Oh, really, did you tell him you know who that is?”
4 yo “No, I said, my Mama loves Star Wars!”

Almost every conversation ends with, “I know how much you love Star Wars, Mama”, which is adorable. But it also got me thinking – what will her memories be of Star Wars? Will they be as life-changing and as strong as mine were?

Finding Star Wars in a pivotal time in my life (just as I hit puberty) helped define and change me. I found solace in the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn. The Jedi taught me how to be a better person, to not care as much about what others thought (which was difficult during those years when everything revolved around wearing the coolest clothes and NOT liking Star Wars). I realized I have these memories linked to Star Wars and I wanted to record them. They are arbitrary, sometimes strange, but definitely not ones I want to forget.

As I get older, I’m also faced with death a lot more. I had a peculiar thought when my grandfather died at the end of 2018: There are so many small, tiny memories that make up your life, and no one will ever know them all.

The reason this was so bizarre for me to think is because my grandfather and I were not close. Not only was Italian his primary language, he also had had a tracheostomy right before I was born due to all the cigarettes he smoked, eventually resulting in lung cancer. Understanding him was…near impossible. My mother could understand him but when you’ve got someone who probably struggled to speak English to begin with, compounded with no real voice, it was hard. I almost always had to have my mother on hand.

But his death triggered that thought because I wondered about the minor, little memories he had. What was it like for him to make the decision to marry my grandmother (he wanted her to get an abortion (I know, swell guy))? What was that decision like to move to America and uproot everyone’s lives just so my mother could have the chance at a better life? Did he have any memories of being a kid and wandering the Italian countryside with his dog (I know he had a dog)?

That, in turn, made me think of my own memories. Small ones that no one will ever know when I pass away: playing Time Machine with my brother; when my brother got insanely jealous that my other little brother got a firetruck for his birthday; hen I used to blow out the candles on birthday cakes before anyone else could; when my mom signed me up for tennis camp that ended in going to the pool and that one week was cold almost every day in July and the pool was miserable and freezing.

From there, I wondered what memories do I have about Star Wars? Small, minor ones that I never want to forget? And here we finally get to the point of this post because I thought of them all and will record them here to live on posthumously.

Learning Palpatine
The first summer I fell in love with Star Wars, or maybe I should say that I became obsessed, was a whirlwind of Star Wars knowledge. I learned anything and everything I could. My family was on a roadtrip to visit

I’m almost 100% sure this was not it, but it was the closest I could find.

someone who was staying in New York, which meant about a five-hour car trip. Along the way, we went into a comic bookstore, or perhaps a CD/comic store like Newbury Comics. To this day, I have no idea why we ended up in there because it is NOT somewhere my parents would willingly stop. The only reason I can think of is due to Pokémon and my brother’s obsession with it. While in said store, I saw a box standing upright that had the Star Wars logo. I beelined toward it and it was an action figure. Larger than normal, so maybe a collector’s item, but the box was labeled “Emperor Palpatine”. I didn’t know who Palpatine was, but I knew who the emperor was – I mean, obviously this was the guy from ROTJ, wrinkles, demonic eyes and all. Slowly my brain started to make the connection. This must be the emperor’s name! Palpatine? What a bizarre name. In fact, it was almost silly. Who would think that was a good idea for a name? And wait, wasn’t there a Senator Palpatine in TPM? It does sound familiar. Wait, are they the same person? The Senator from TPM turns into the Emperor? Oh. My. Goodness. Mind blown. I mulled over this revelation for a long time, digesting it, stewing on it. I left that shop with a brand new revelation. Also, when we were driving away from there, my sister and I got into a fight in the car and she pinched me, which drew blood. I still have a tiny scar from that pinch. Another small memory linked to that Star Wars memory.

Sensing Something
That line in ANH, when Darth Vader says, “I sense something. A presence I’ve not felt since…” He leaves us hanging! It had to have been the fifth or sixth time I saw ANH where I noticed that line. Previously, I had been trying hard to grasp other details like the characters, planets, and plot points. I remember my mother being in the room, hovering, you know…when a parent doesn’t actually sit down to invest in what’s on TV but interested enough to watch a bit? And I turned to her and said, “Senses what? What does he sense? Whose presence?” She ignored me for a bit before snapping, “I think Obi-Wan!” I’m not sure why I remember this line so vividly and my reaction, but it was impactful. He could actually sense someone else? Wow, what else can you do through the Force?

Summer School
I went to summer school for math due to poor grades during that summer. It was hot, the AC was almost always broken or not on, and I was bored. I used to sit at the desk and practice using the Force by trying to move other kid’s water bottles. I really thought I could do it if I believed enough.

Star Wars Insider
As my first summer of Star Wars love came to a close, I decided to write to George Lucas and ask him all the questions that were burning within me. Most of them had to do with how he was going to transition from the Prequel Trilogy to the Original Trilogy. They looked so different! I handwrote him a 4-page letter, double spaced, with important questions like: Will there be mouse droids in Episode II or III? Will you make sure the twins live long enough to know Padmé because of Leia’s line (har har)? How were Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon able to run so fast in the Trade Federation Battlestation when we had never seen Luke be able to do that? Will you make the ships look more like X-Wings? These were important questions. He didn’t write back. Instead, I got a beautiful package in the mail that explained he was very busy in Australia filming AOTC and here’s a copy of the Star Wars Insider, if you’re interested, along with some fun fan club trinkets. The cover of the Insider had Aurra Sing and I was intrigued. I had seen TPM at least four times and had never seen her. This opened up a completely different world to me – a world where there were fringe characters that had their own stories. I still subscribe to Star Wars Insider today and read that first copy so, so many times. The cover is no longer attached to the rest of the magazine and I refuse to throw it out:

Activate the Droids
Yes, sir! My brother and I would play this game in our kitchen, to the annoyance of my mother, for at least six to seven months after TPM was released. The music (which I had on cassette!) and the scene were just so much fun. We’d both squat like the droids and then activate ourselves, while listening or singing John Williams’ iconic music.

Another scene we acted out right after was Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon trying to get through the doors when Destroyers came upon them. “Master, Destroyers!” was my brother’s line as I had to be Qui-Gon Jinn. He’s the best Jedi and I can’t settle for less than the best.

Entering 7th Grade
The summer after my Star Wars conversion found me entering the 7th grade as a whole new person. Whereas before my binder, folders and notebooks were stylish, fancy and had a “cool” edge, now they did not. I bought everything to reflect my love for Star Wars. And it was terrifying for me. I look back on it with pride, but it was not cool for me to like Star Wars. I was taking a big leap by coming back to school and declaring myself a geek, especially when I tried so hard the year before to be cool and popular. The first class where I pulled out my new Star Wars binder, full of Star Wars folders had my heart racing. I was sitting next to Mark, a boy I thought was cute, but was definitely way too cool. He snickered at me and laughed at my Star Wars paraphernalia. Three days later he conspiratorially leaned in and told me that he too loved Star Wars. I didn’t want to believe him and ignored him. To this day, I have no idea if he did like Star Wars as much as I did and didn’t want anyone to know, or if he was trying to pull me out of my shell and talk about it to laugh at me more. I’m glad I erred on the side of caution. Self preservation.

This is a poster, but I’m pretty sure one of my folders was exactly the same.

My 1st Star Wars Party
I started having an annual Star Wars party in 2017. It’s grown every year, and barring this year where it didn’t take place, it’s been one of my favorite days of the year. No one knows what movie we will watch and it’s always a surprise. A prize is given to those who guess it correctly. It’s a power trip, what can I say? It’s also a sneaky way to get everyone to come instead of people deciding whether or not they’ll attend based on the movie shown. These parties, while fun, were not my first Star Wars party. My first Star Wars party was in 9th grade, a few months before AOTC was released in theaters. I gathered my friends, my mom cooked some TIE Fighter TIES and Obi-Wan Kebobs and we had a sleepover while watching TPM through ROTJ. I believe we fell asleep after ESB and watched ROTJ in the morning, but the details are hazy. My dad escaped to a hotel with my two brothers to be spared. My poor mother. This party exhausted me so much that I vowed never to host another one…when it was my mom who did all the work! Funny how our brain works as a child.

Star Wars Celebration II
My father is the best father. I begged him to take me to Celebration II when I was in 9th grade. He agreed, but only if we could drive. So we did. We drove 16 hours from Massachusetts to Indiana with my younger brother and my grandfather. My grandfather was visiting from Australia and had come to stay with us. For him, this was a good way to see parts of America; we even stopped at some airplane museum on the way. I have four distinct memories from this convention. 1) After we had unpacked at the hotel, we decided to drive to

the convention center and catch the last few days of Day 1. My dad absolutely refused to let me wear my Jedi robe because he said no one else would be dressed up. About three blocks from the convention center we saw someone walking down the street, talking in his cell phone, in complete Qui-Gon Jinn getup. I will never be able to describe that feeling of elation and thrill, seeing that person. It was my first time seeing cosplay. Ever. And I thought – I want an outfit like that. My dad thought he was a one-off and there wouldn’t be many others like him. 2) I really wanted to go to the Star Wars concert to hear the music played live. Because there were too many lines to go in, we sent my grandfather to get those tickets while my dad, brother and I went to another line. My grandfather came back with the tickets and an incredible story. The line snaked around the convention center (true, we verified this later) and he walked all the way to the front only to be told he had to wait in that line and there was only two tickets per person. Grandpa, in his wonderful Australian accent, goes, “Blimey! You’re telling me I’ve got to go stand in that line and do that walk again? I’m not even interested in this bloody concert; just doing it for my granddaughter!” The couple next in line took pity on him and said that he could stand with them and they’d give him his extra tickets. So that’s how my grandfather played the system and got us tickets to the concert where most others were cut off. At the end of the concert, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker were leaving right behind me and going to some kind of party. I overheard their conversation, looked at them, knew exactly who they were but was too overwhelmed to ask for an autograph or picture. 3) I was really excited to see Hayden Christensen. I put the tickets in my back jeans pocket and waited in line for three hours (which, by convention standards nowadays, is nothing). My spot in line was right in front of the bathrooms, but as luck would have it, I therefore had Anthony Daniels and Jeremy Bulloch pass in front of me to go pee. I was too scared to ask them for anything and felt bad that they were just trying to go to the bathroom, but other fans bombarded them. When the line finally began to move, I couldn’t find my tickets. I thought I had put them in my front pockets. I was looking everywhere while my grandfather was tsk-tsking and people were passing around me. I finally found them, but about 30 people passed me by. If that isn’t tragic to you, trust me, it is. You get these spots in line for hours before an event and having people pass you – it’s mortifying. 4) On the last day, my dad was sick of wandering around looking for a parking spot while I freaked out that we would be late by the time we got through the entrance line, that he dropped my brother and I off near the convention center. We walked by ourselves but every entrance was locked. We must have been on the opposite side of the main entry doors. As we were heading to another door to try it, we saw a large parade of stormtroopers, emperor’s guards, and Vaders marching towards us. It was the 501st! We watched in awe as they passed by us and the doors were unlocked for them. One Vader even turned and pointed right to my camera. It was then that I did my best out-of-the-box thinking, ever. I realized we could sneak in with them. We snuck in at the end of the line and the convention center was empty other than workers and licensed cosplayers. We got a run of the area and didn’t have to stand in line for hours to get in. I honestly have no memory of how my dad and grandfather found us, this being prior to cell phones.

The #1 Mistake Boys Make
By high school, it was well known that I loved Star Wars. If boys were interested in me, they thought they could put on Star Wars, watch it with me, sidle up close and talk about it, with the end game being that they could hook up with me. I had already planned in advance for this. I did not want my viewing of Star Wars to ever be tainted by a hookup. I knew that if it happened, I would always be thinking during the Hoth battle scene, “This is when I hooked up with X”. No, thank you. Their plans always failed. I would let them put their arm around me, but that was the extent of it. I am proud to say that I held fast to that rule and have never in my life hooked up with someone while watching Star Wars. Star Wars is my first and only love, I guess.

Star Wars Trivia
I cannot beast the hyper Star Wars fan in trivia. I do not know the specs of a Star Destroyer (in meters, no less) or the name of the 3rd player to the left in the Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes band (heck, I couldn’t even remember how to spell Figrin). But I can beast most average fans in Star Wars trivia. Obviously. In my freshman year of college I met a man from Amherst College. He was average looking, but really funny and later went to join the Upright Citizens Brigade (if a guy can make me laugh, I’m smitten, no matter what his looks are). At this party where I met him, I learned he liked Star Wars as much as I did. We began to quiz each other’s knowledge. He was at my level. But I continued to drink and get more inebriated. Then it happened. He asked me, “What was the name of Darth Vader’s flagship?” I couldn’t remember. I could see it in my head, but was coming up with nothing. I eventually had to ask for the answer and was thoroughly embarrassed. I lost this trivia contest, but since then have never forgotten the Executor. The reason this sticks out in my brain is because when I got back to my dorm, I waited two days for him to ask for my number. It didn’t happen, so I sent him mine over a FB message. The first and last time I have ever sent a man my number. And so began my tumultuous, first friends-with-benefits experience that lasted all through freshman year and into some of sophomore year.

R2-D2 Mailboxes
Did I mention I have the best dad? When the USPS released limited edition R2-D2 post office boxes, my dad took me to every one in Massachusetts so I could take a photo with it. When we went to Florida for vacation, he even took me a to a few around our timeshare. He’s awesome.

Star Wars Brings People Together
People have always underestimated how much I know about Star Wars. I could pretend like I don’t know why, but that’s ridiculous. It’s because don’t fall into the stereotypical “nerd/geek” bucket. My first job out of college, I was seated next to someone who would later become one of my best friends. Sadly, we did not talk for a few months because we had nothing to talk about. In fact, he outright ignored me most of the time and I believe he thought I was annoying (he later revealed he was scarred by the last person in the position). Eventually he noticed my Star Wars day-by-day calendar on my desk and it prompted conversation. And…

Star Wars really does bring people together. I think I talk more to this person than any of my other friends because we chat almost daily online.

It used to be that I couldn’t abide tattoos. Disgusting things, really. Ironically, I married someone who has seven tattoos. When I first discovered Star Wars, I was given a kid’s book with temporary tattoos within it. I loved the Rebel Insignia/Alliance Starbird tattoo. I thought to myself, If I ever got a tattoo, which I won’t, it would be this one. And I got the paper towel wet, plastered the tattoo face down on my skin and proceeded to hold the wet, sopping towel on it for 60 seconds. Peeling off the cardboard backing, and seeing the tattoo on my skin gave me a thrill. I thought, I actually kinda like this. As the days went on, I avoided washing it. I wanted it to stay on as long as it could. After a week or two, when you could barely see it anymore, I thought, If I still like this in 10 years, I will get a permanent one. In 10 years I will be 22 and I’m sure I will have forgotten about my love for it. When I turned 26, I was still thinking about the tattoo and realized I had to take the plunge. But tattoos are irreversible!! And am I even a big enough Star Wars fan to justify this? It was the first time in my life that I had to change my long-held personal conviction on something (it’s thankfully happened many times since then…like buying a Jeep Wrangler. I thought I would never have one because I don’t off-road enough, but you know what, I’ve had one for almost two years). Once I had made the decision, I decided on where to get it (ribs) and it’s in a place no one can see it. Sometimes I wonder what the point is of getting a tattoo that no one sees? But for me, it’s my special secret, it’s something that is near and dear to me. Not that my love for Star Wars is a secret, but I like that the tattoo is not something easily noticeable.

I’ve only been to two Celebrations – Celebration II and SWCA. II was right before AOTC and SWCA was the first one after LFL was bought, and right before TFA was released. SWCA will forever be linked in my mind

with my second pregnancy. I was throwing up constantly and was sick and drained of energy often. After coming home, I had a doctor’s appointment a week later where they discovered the baby was full of defects. We had to make the hard choice on if I wanted to have a stillborn or have an abortion. Obviously, I never knew any of this at SWCA. All I knew was that I was pregnant, I was sick, I was tired, I had spilled pizza all down my cosplay outfit which resulted in me crying in line to my husband and the poor guy next to him…he didn’t know I had hormones ricocheting all over the place. But now, when I look back, I always associate this celebration with the difficult decisions I had to make with that pregnancy (we opted the abortion route). It’s been marred because of that. I know that I had fun and thoroughly enjoyed it, as seen here. Yet it’s just different now.

I made this list for over a week and writing them has been somewhat therapeutic. Here, I know, is a place where they will live on, even if I forget. Perhaps this is something I should do every 10 years? These are memories that I cherish, that mean so much to me, and that I hope never get lost in the dark recesses of my brain.

Do you have one or two Star Wars memories you hope to never forget? I challenge you to write a post about them! Or, if that’s too much, leave a comment.

11 thoughts on “Memory Holobook

  1. I love this post so much! Before I even say anything else, your Jedi robe from the Celebration II picture is BADASS. It looks amazing! Your cosplay from SWCA is fantastic, too, but the Celebration II was in the beginning of your Star Wars journey and before cosplay became such “a thing.” I’m impressed. It made me think of a Jedi robe Grandma made me when I was in middle school :).

    This is such a great way to walk through your life, via Star Wars. And OF COURSE you had to put that challenge at the end! I’m already obsessing over what memories will fill my post when I write it (depending on how long I obsess over it will naturally dictate how long it is until the world gets to read it). It’s natural to say we are the product of our memories so to look back on your life through your memories of something so important to you is brilliant and beautiful and I love it.

    I remember the awkwardness of my owning being a Star Wars fan, too. As if middle school wasn’t already hard enough! But owning it has been worth it as Star Wars has helped cement some of the best relationships in my life, too.

    What I will now never be able to stop thinking of though, is your revelation with your grandfather’s passing – “There are so many small, tiny memories that make up your life, and no one will ever know them all.” That’s so poignant! I love that line and I know I’ll go to bed tonight thinking of what those memories are/will be and I know much of the days to follow will be spent turned inward, thinking of that as well.

    1. I knew you’d love this post. It reminded me of your post with songs and moments that you think of whenever you hear that song. AND I KNEW YOU’D LOVE THAT THOUGHT ABOUT MY GRANDFATHER. I was like…this will resonate with Michael hahahaha.

      So happy you like my robe from CII. My mom made it and it is not up to Rebel Legion standards at all, unlike my current, very thick, wool robe that is gorgeous and I could seriously walk around in winter weather with it and not feel cold. But my mom’s was a labor of love.

      I can’t wait to see your post. 🙂

  2. Hello Kiri, what an awesomely open and honest post. All those little memories are now preserved forever (well for as long as there is the Internet) so people will know how great you are.
    For me, Star Wars was always in my life and around me but most of my memories revolve around when I got the toys and merch or saw the films on TV. I came from a struggling family, financially, as my dad couldn’t work due to ill health and my mother was busy with me and my brothers. I didn’t go without the basics (you know, food, clothing and a roof over my head) but things like Star Wars toys and tickets to go to the cinema were rare/expensive. One year my mother tried to get the Falcon for me but they were like gold dust – every toy store was sold out months before Xmas. That year I got a large box that looked like it could be the Falcon but upon opening it I discovered something else…it wasn’t the Falcon but it was a close cool substitute toy. I got a “Space Explorer” role play kit with a “communicator wrist band watch with compass” a telescope and a soundFX/light up laser blaster with holster. It was almost like an unofficial Han Solo playset…it was cool. The telescope could be attached to the blaster to form a scope and you could only fire the blaster if you had an activation card that slotted into it so only I could use it! Anyhoo long story short it was great second choice present and next year I did get my prized Falcon making it even more precious for me.
    The other major memories were the times I got to watch the Star Wars original trilogy from the projection room of my local cinema! My family knew the chief projectionist and he invited me to a special screening of the three movies. And it was surreal! You see the projectionist was an extrovert and well known for dressing up to raise money for charity…well it was Star Wars so he got a full screen accurate Darth Vader costume to wear for the day….and I had to sit with him in the projection room as the films played out! Imagine, it was like being IN the movie itself with all the humming projectors and a real life Vader next to me…I kept thinking the projectors were lightsabers!
    I’m sure there are more memories from my younger days but then schooling took over and Star Wars had it’s hiatus till it exploded back onto screens with TPM….and as luck would have it TPM opened in cinemas whilst I was on my honeymoon so I didn’t get to see it on the big screen. However I have made up for that over the last decade or so, Sorry the comment was long winded but I got carried away. Thanks for sharing your memories.

    1. I’m so glad you liked this post! It’s not often that I go into the personal side of me, but it’s impossible to keep it separate from Star Wars. And that story about the knock off toy you got warms my heart…the fact that you were happy about it, instead of crying out of disappointment is what makes it better. I feel like I get my hopes pinned on something that it’s impossible for me to think of anything else and I suffer major disappointment and cry when it doesn’t go my way, even in my adult life. Which in some ways, is good as I’m highly ambitious and work very hard. In other ways, it’s not good when I’m left with no choice but to give up. I love that you had the resilience to be okay with the other toy and had fun with it.

      And how fun that you got to go into the cinema and watch it from the PROJECTION ROOM. Omg, that would have made my life!! Also, being on your honeymoon is a totally good excuse not to go see TPM. 😉

      1. I was slightly disappointed but when I realised the laser blaster had lights and sound AND the cool security card feature I loved it and I still have the pistol in storage to this day! It still works too.
        And I nearly had a heart attack just now reading your reply…the way it displayed it read, “OMG, that would have made my life! Also being on your honeymoon” – I thought hang on YOU weren’t on my honeymoon then I scrolled the rest of your reply down and got the full text which made more sense (but for a minute I thought I’d married you! 😀 )

  3. What a wonderful post, thank you for sharing! I’ve written one or two personal “Star Wars Stories” on my blog, but you’ve inspired me to write more. These memories are important, because they define who we are, in a very real way. By the way, I’m from Massachusetts too (Greenfield, not too far from Amherst).

    1. Hi to a fellow MAer!! I went to school at Mount Holyoke, so I know Greenfield and I believe I went contradancing there. I’m now located outside of Boston in a suburb.

      I would love to see your post where you write a compilation of memories, if you make one! Tag this post in it so I’ll know when you wrote it…I’m horrible at keeping up with other people’s blogs lol! I used to be so good at it, but I don’t have as much time anymore so unless someone emails me to check one out or does a pingback, I tend to forget.

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