In the summer of 1980, between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, my friend Terry and I would take the long bus trip from Milwaukie to Beaverton to see The Empire Strikes Back at the Westgate theater, every time we could scrape together the bus fare and ticket price (which I vaguely remember to be about $1.00 round trip + $3.00, maybe? It was a long time ago and might as well be in a galaxy far, far away). I think we saw it at least 4 or 5 times, maybe more.
Afterward, we would walk across the street to the Beaverton Mall, where they had a Star Wars arcade game, and we would play that until we only just had enough quarters left to get home again. On the bus ride back, we would discuss the movie and just generally be nerds.
Someone in a Boba Fett costume made an appearance at the Lloyd Center Meier & Frank that summer, and we were there, pretending he really was the infamous bounty hunter, demanding he tell us where he had hidden Han Solo or if he had already delivered him to the gangster Jabba the Hutt. I’m sure whoever wore that costume thought he wasn’t getting paid enough for that gig, but we had fun, regardless.
So many memories of Star Wars and Terry and me. I could write a book about it all. Someday I will.
I was Luke to his Han, a bit of role-playing that would become even more true as the years past. Except I never did gain Force powers. He did marry a fiery princess, though, and was father to twins.
Terry and I are still friends today, and I am grateful for that friendship. Few people understand you when you’re older like those who were there when you grew up.
Terry has been incredibly excited for the new Star Wars movie, Episode VII, The Force Awakens, since three years ago when it was announced. I’ve been more cautious, worried about the possibility of disappointment, but it’s difficult not to catch some of my friend’s passion and optimism, remembering those days long ago.
Thursday evening, he and I were together again, side by side, playing in a Star Wars RPG, fighting for the Rebellion or maybe just fortune and glory, and as I post this, I am on my way to the theater where we will be seeing a brand new Star Wars story again.
“How we doin’?”
“Same as always.”
“That bad, huh?”
Just like old times.