Tuesday, May 28, 2013

For Keepsakes

I was reading on Al Gore's Internet about how the original title for "Return of the Jedi" was going to be "Revenge of the Jedi." Apparently, even though it is a dish best served cold, it is something that Jedi Knights are above. At least that's what George Lucas decided way back in 1983. Now, thirty years later, as the forces both dark and light set about to make another installment of the Star Wars trilogies, fanboys and girls are rising to the intergalactic bait that is the discussion of anything vaguely related to the Skywalker clan.
As I read the discussion of revenge versus return, I became distracted by a thread that began as a complaint about this or that piece of treasured memorabilia that was wantonly and recklessly sold off while the nerd or geek was away from his or her parents' house. It began with a bitter whine about a Star Wars lunchbox that fetched a paltry three dollars at a garage sale while its legitimate owner was away at college. This generated a flood of responses that piled on the torment: baseball cards, classic cars, comic books, and still more lunch boxes, all of which had been underhandedly dispatched by uncaring and unknowing parents simply to get rid of the "junk" that was in their basement.
Suddenly, I found myself squarely on the fence. Certainly I have felt the loss of a great many of my most treasured items that I assumed would be safe forever in the Fortress of Solitude that was my parents' house. All those Mad Magazines. GI Joes with lifelike hair and kung fu grip. Models of Luke's X-Wing fighter. I am also the custodian of all of the mementos and keepsakes of my son's youth. I am currently storing miles of model railroad track and boxes full of related accessories. There is a fleet of partially functioning Tonka trucks a pair of tricycles, a unicycle and an extra bicycle that never see the daylight anymore. Thanks to Craig's List, my son has been able to offload some of his spare Transformers while he continues to ponder how to reduce his Nerf arms stockpile. I can feel the parental nerve in the back of my neck twitch each time I have to move a crate of forgotten toys to find that thing that I went to the basement to find in the first place.
Like the tub of original Don Post Studios Star Wars masks that I have carried with me for the past three decades. Or the carton of Marvel Comics my older brother rescued for me back when my mother decided to close up shop at our warehouse of memories. The ones he discovered while he was going through the comics my mother had saved from when she was a kid.
Then, suddenly I returned from that galaxy a long time ago and far away. I remembered why the article was non-news for me: I own a copy of that Revenge of the Jedi poster. When I left my parents' house to go off and seek my fortune, I decided to take a certain number of items with me. My movie poster collection was one of them. A great big, hard to store item, but it was important enough to me that I wanted them with me. Those, along with the hundreds of pounds of vinyl records which have since become someone else's problem, were the keepsakes I took with me. And that's all I need. Except that box of comics...

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