Today is two days after the ubiquitous “May 4th” otherwise known as May the Fourth Be With You. A pop cultural phenomenon that’s blasted it’s radius worldwide since nerd culture became the new “IT” thing like froyo a decade back.
After the famous May 4th every year, we nerds spend the next day(s) or day celebratinng Revenge of the Sixth (or fifth), depending on your preference.
This year, I’d like to recollect my very first Star Wars story.
In scorching hot May of 1999 in Arcadia, CA, my father heard through his coworkers the long awaited Star Wars trilogy has revived since it’s introduction to the silver screen in the late 70’s. In the 90s, there wasn’t streaming services to catch up with the Skywalker family so my parents and I went into the theaters with fresh eyes and no background what Star Wars was all about.
This Star Wars pastime brings me back to something I hold very dear to my heart. My parents immigrated to the United States in hopes of giving us a chance for a better life. We certainly weren’t wealthy but father did give up his chief role as dentist in a big hospital and mother left her job as a broker agent so I could live in greener pastures.
They spent all of their last savings so that we could start a life here.
The day we went to see Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace, we drove out in my dad’s secondhand beater silver Plymouth. Yellow stuffing from the leather seats pushed its way out. The stitchings on the back of the passenger chair were loose and haywire reminiscent of shriveled dry leaves barely clinging on a branch. Those small details never bothered me as a child. It was our family’s first car and I had nothing shinier in the world to compare to.
Back then, we rarely had family outings on the weekends where it cost us any money. Father must have saved every last penny to take us three that day. I didn’t know any better at the age of 9 so when I asked for popcorn when we got in, I couldn’t comprehend the frowns and resistance from my parents. We went back out to the parking lot and got back in the car. I saw my parents bent over picking up quarters and dimes from the torn carpet in our Lincoln. It became this fun hunt for me as I tried to find more shiny coins to point out for my mom to claw in.
I’ll never forget how much my parents showed love that day. Instead of saying no to their little girl, they found a way to still provide for me. We didn’t have enough for popcorn but they did end up buying me this gigantic cookie that was the size of my face. I tried to savor every bite of those ooey gooey chocolate chips as the film went on. I felt happy sitting between my two role models and my tastebuds were in kid Heaven. My first memory of Star Wars brings me back to a time we weren’t at our financial best, and it’ll keep reminding me to stay humble and grateful for what I do have in life.