Star Wars: The first time


We were told to stay put while our parents went out to dinner. But staying put was not going over well with us . . .

They left us with directions to stay home while they went out to dinner. They also left us with cars. The directions to stay home, coupled with the access to cars, made the six of us, aged 13 to 22, itchy. We wanted to go somewhere, to do something, anything, on a cold, rainy early July weekend in Maine. I have no memory of why we were grounded; only what we chose to do that night.

The 22 year old headed out to a local watering hole, with his cousin, and the twins. At 20, with the legal drinking age in Maine being 18, I was invited to go along. I briefly considered and quickly dismissed this option. Being the fifth wheel had no appeal, no matter how good-looking guys. Option two was to stay with the 13 to 19 year olds.

The beach would be cold with all the rain. For the same reason, playing Frisbee in the yard or going to the ice cream shop wasn’t appealing either. Watching TV was of the limited, standard major outlets from Boston, and a few local stations. We couldn’t agree on anything except the new movie, with a lot of word-of-mouth buzz, called “Star Wars.” So there we were, 5 teenagers, with nothing to do but drive to a movie theatre in Ogunquit. The only hitch being leaving the cottage.

I never anticipated that we would actually get tickets to the movie, I figured that the drive to Ogunquit and back would kill some time. The anticipation of potentially seeing “Star Wars” would keep everyone upbeat on the way to the theater. The drive back would allow us to talk about how to lie to our parents. I hoped that everyone would keep this trip a secret, but I knew the odds were not on my side.

So we hopped into the car, drove to Ogunquit, parked under the drive-up teller window of a local bank, and ran to the movie theatre. Others were cruising for parking spaces and running for the theatre, so we were not the only ones to decide it was a great night for a movie.

I was astounded when we got five of the last seven tickets. My plan had met its flaw, our unauthorized trip would be discovered. There was no way our parents would still be at dinner when we got back. The movie theatre was of old variety. Polls in the middle of the theatre, old leather seats, egyptian medallions. We weren’t able to sit together, and we all had obstructed views. I remember craning my neck around a pole, while being totally entranced by the whole movie.

The movie was fantastic, I had never seen anything like it before. The fast pace, energy, young, unknown cast, and the bar scene, left me energized and excited. I knew we were seeing something new and unique. Some of the movies that left me thinking I had seen something unique and timeless are “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Casablanca”.

We were so pumped up with this strange, exciting movie that we could talk of nothing else all the way home. That is, until my sister (I’d let her drive home) ran over a live squirrel, and we could hear the bones crunch as the wheels rolled over it.

Of course, our parents were waiting for us when we made it back to the cottage. Being the oldest, and I think the one least likely to be in trouble, I told them it was my fault, iI had organized the whole adventure. If they wanted to punish anyone it should be me. Other than that, I believe that our energy and enthusiasm won them over. We couldn’t stop talking about the ‘BEST MOVIE EVER’ that we had just seen. One of us was still talking about the squirrel.

When asked where the 22-year old was, we were honest. What more could you want from a rainy, holiday weekend night in Maine? Plus we got back first.

“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is pretty good. It has some great new characters. I saw it in a modern theater with padded, stadium seats and no obstructions. Nothing will ever be the same as the first time.



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