I'm from the Star Wars generation. I was the perfect age when the original movie came out, and Star Wars toys and merchandise absolutely defined my childhood.
I'll never forgive George Lucas for taking one of the most important parts of my childhood and forcing me to watch while he took a giant Jar Jar sized shit all over it, but all the Midichlorians in the world can't take away the joyous memories I have of playing with my Star Wars figures, sleeping on my Star Wars sheets, and wearing my Darth Vader Underoos T-shirt everywhere I went.
I spent way too much time in the Growing Up Star Wars group at Flickr yesterday. It is just filled with photos, drawings, and other artifacts of my generation's youth. I couldn't stop watching the slideshow because each new picture showed a kid with a toy that I wanted so much, a kid wearing a costume that I had, or something else that was so familiar, it was like looking into my own memory.
Unless you have an hour or more, I wouldn't recommend viewing the group's slideshow, but here are a few highlights:
Jackpot - originally uploaded by eyebrow antics.
I am so retroactively jealous of this kid, 9 year-old me wants to punch him in the face. It's bad enough that he got the Imperial Shuttle that I always wanted, but the Tie Interceptor, too? And just to rub salt in the wounds, look at all those GI Joe toys!
Headphones - originally uploaded by fidgikiwi.
This could have been me. Everyone knows that the Star Wars soundtrack sounds better when you listen to it through giant can headphones with the long extension cord while you sit on the floor.
Christmas Morning 1978 - originally uploaded by secretfunspot
The gold shag carpet, the wood paneling on the wall, the heavy curtains, and the Death Star playset that he didn't need to trade for the landspeeder because he already had it … how many other kids had precisely this Christmas morning in 1978? (Take a look at Christmas 1981 if you really want to envy this kid.)
TK 421 - originally uploaded by Two Twumbo Twetzels.
You really have to see the largest version of this picture to fully appreciate it. That awesome helmet is paper maché, and anyone who was once a little boy will tell you that the costume isn't complete without a gun … even if it's a six shooter.
I could easily go on and on all day like this, but I think you get the point. Even though I know the world wasn't sepia toned, and wasn't viewed in three inch squares, it's how I remember my childhood. This is how I grew up, this is why Star Wars is so important to me. This is why Han will always shoot first, and I'll always wonder what exactly I should get a Wookie for Christmas if he already owns a comb.
I submitted this post to Propeller. I'd love it if you could help me get it to the front page.