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 June 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, 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 the guys were. The other option was to stay with the 13 to 19 year olds, who were pretty sure I was going to abandon them. I decided against the bar and to stay with the younger crew.

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 variety. We couldn’t agree on anything except the new movie that had a lot of word-of-mouth buzz, “Star Wars.” So there we were, 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. The 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. 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, or possibly a cat, who’s bones crunched as the wheels rolled over it. Then we had to calm her down.

As expected, 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, I had organized the whole adventure and talked them into going. If they wanted to punish anyone it should be me. I was having a noble moment. Other than that, I believe that our energy and enthusiasm won them over. For of us couldn’t stop talking about the ‘BEST MOVIE EVER’ and we talked over one another about our favorite scenes. One of us was still talking about the squirrel.

The parents went from considering us all dead on the road somewhere to wondering when we would shut up. When asked where the 22-year old was, we were honest, he’d gone to a bar. Secretly we all hoped to deflect their attention away from us. What more could you want from a rainy, weekend night in Maine? Plus we got back first.

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