The year was 1977, my family and I were on our way to Scotland for a few weeks in the summer to visit relatives.
I remember staying at an airport hotel in Toronto the night before our flight left. At this time there weren't a lot of hotels to choose from, this was back in the day where staying in a hotel was big time, it was special. Not everyone got to do this, and I remember having that distinct thought as we pulled up to the hotel that hot summer day.
My older cousins and sister who were apart of this trip were talking about going to see, perhaps the biggest movie for our generation to ever hit the screen. It was Star Wars....and no one had ever seen anything like it. To be honest, I don't think anyone would ever see anything like it again either. We were at a technological age in time that had stood still since the introduction of the rotary dial phone. I am not even sure most homes had push button phones at this time to be honest. Movies depicted change, like being able to see the person you were talking to in video, ( our modern day FaceTime, or Snapchat, and video chat ) but nothing had changed in ages! Not like today when techno advancements are made while the rest of the world sleeps and we wake up to new advancements on a weekly basis. Nothing like that.
So, my cousins went to see this life altering movie, and I swam in the huge hotel indoor/outdoor pool. Simply because I was a little too young to hang out with them, and because: OMG! This pool had access to the outside pool via a small tunnel from the indoor pool. and I was a swimming freak show . Water...water...water....love the water! Always have, always will.
Anyway, after a summer in Scotland I came back to Ontario with the movie 'Star Wars' even more embossed on my brain. Turns out the ENTIRE world was ready for this movie, it was so spectacular for its time. You can't even imagine how for us at that time, who were captivated by exploring and adventure, how this one single movie dominated our lives. I simply HAD to see it.
By the time I had the opportunity to see the movie in my small town, all my friends at that time had already seen it, and could simply not afford to frequent the theatre again. Going to a moving back then required serious consideration regarding how we were going to spend our allowance, pocket money and/or part time job monies. Going to a movie was an investment.
I remember phoning friends to see if they could go to see Star Wars with me, but everyone had seen it, and some?!? twice even! ( Huge investment!!) I wanted to see this movie so bad! ( I also remember being shunned by some kids because I had been away that summer..."oh, you were away when we went to see it! It was a really good movie! You missed out!" )
I think that was what hurt me the most: "you missed out"....like it was my fault my parents had relatives in Scotland that we got to visit every once in a while. Meanwhile the movie was still playing at our local cinema, I hadn't missed out on anything.
My father, Ben, see'ing how let down I was about not being able to see Star Wars, stepped up to the plate and said he would take me. I was 13 years old at this time....entering into that dark side of the pre-teen world: fluctuating and punishing emotions. Going to the movies with your Dad was not cool, at all. Yet, I also remember knowing this was not my dad's thing either. Not the kind of investment he wanted to make either.
So, off to the local theatre we went one Friday evening. Of course it was packed, jammed packed in fact, but we managed to get a couple of pretty good seats. We pulled the red velvet covered seats down from their hinged upright positions, the squeak of metal whining as we did so. It was loud in the theatre, kids mostly, everyone eager for the movie to start. I sat there with my small pop and Sweet Marie bar hoping beyond hope that no one would recognize me with my dad.
Theatres were small back then, well at least our small town theatre was. I stood a good chance of being prosecuted by any peers who knew that the "old" guy beside me was my dad. What did not occurr to me at that time was that my dad was probably crindging about his circumstances too, but for all together different reasons. He was probably dreading having to watch this hyped up science fiction, action adventure movie in a theatre, on a Friday night, filled with noisy kids. But watch we did.
I chomped back my chocolate bar in awe of this space tale, and all its far out space creatures, while my father sat with his arms folded with the biggest look of : " what in the name of God are we watching?!?" I was developing the biggest crush on Han Solo not even daring to look side ways at my dad should he come to realize his daughter's googley eye'd gaze at this handsome , rogue space cowboy. I kept looking straight at the screen so intently I am sure Harrison Ford himself could have been sitting on my other side, and I wouldn't have had the faintest clue.
A little more than half way into the movie I was pretty much on my own because the faint snoring noises beside me ( definitely not coming from Harrison, he probably never snored a day in his life!) alerted me to my father being fast asleep. His head was cranked back on his neck so far, his entire face was pointed straight up to the movie house ceiling. Then his head started to do the snap back and forth thing, which would cause him to wake up briefly, and in doing so snort rather loudly and pretend he wasn't asleep. One thing about adventure movies, especially the space kind, the special effect sounds are really loud, only Harrison and I could hear my dad's nasal snorts and trumpets.
When the movie finished and I let go of my googley eye'd Han Solo gaze, my father woke up, rather well rested too I remember, The lights came up, we were gathering our things, the red velvet chairs springing back to their upright position, and then I heard someone shout my name, not too loud, but loud enough to know someone there recognized me. I didn't look around to see who it was, I just knew the person who called my name did not mean well. Damn!! Now I would be teased mercilessly at school..."Sheila went to the show with her dad, Sheila went to the show with her dad.." There was nothing I could do but wait until Monday and deal with the wrath.
Monday came, I was absolutely dreading it! I stood in the hall with my other class mates waiting to go into our home room. When I heard the voice from the theatre say it: " Sheila went to the show with her dad!" For a moment there was silence, my cheeks were burning with embarrassment, all eyes were on me, and then another voice spoke out: " Star Wars? What a cool dad!" It was our home room teacher. I couldn't believe it! I was saved from adolescent prosecution...not another word was said to me about going to the movies with my dad.
My world quickly went back to normal after that, what a relief. Many years later I remember talking to my dad about going to see Star Wars with me, and I thanked him, because I knew it wasn't his kind of movie. He told me he couldn't remember a thing about that movie, other than is was so damn loud, but that he was glad he went too, because it obviously made me happy. I am thankful we both invested, because now I know, snoring and all, I had a really cool Dad.