Thoughts: Star Wars – The Force Awakens (No Spoilers!)

Star_Wars_The_Force_AwakensYesterday was Opening Day for the seventh film in the Star Wars saga, and I was fortunate to be able to take my 13 year old son to see it. The Lux style (Hoyt’s version of Gold Class). I wanted to create a memory for him that lasts long.

Let me explain.

I saw the original Star Wars in the Regent Theatre in Palmerston North when it was released. I’m not entirely proud of how I got to see it, but I got to see it.

Oh OK. Here’s the story. If you insist.

I really really really wanted to see it but my parents were quite frugal (Dad was a teacher, Mum was a relief teacher (both at PNBHS) and they were raising four kids) so my going to see it was out of the question according to them. ANYWAY, I learned that my sister had been invited to a friends 7th birthday party – and the horde of girls was going to see Star Wars!!! Girls??? Star Wars??? And NOT me??? I rather suspect I threw my toys. Just a little bit. Long story short, I got to see Star Wars. And that fact transcended the fact I was at a 7 yr old girls birthday party.

I remember it vividly. I remember the Tangy Fruits in plastic pottles. I remember walking out of the theatre on its red carpet feeling like I was walking on air. And the memory of seeing the banner stretched across the hallway with ‘May The Force Be With You’ is seared in my mind.

So yesterday was a re-living. Another generation experiencing Star Wars on release in the cinema!


We were so excited.

I picked my son up a couple of hours before screening time thinking we’d wander the shops a bit, look for Christmas gifts, yarn, fill in time. Well – THAT idea went out the window pretty quick. Neither of us could concentrate. We were twitchy, fidgety and restless all at the same time.


My son has been nervous about this movie since it was announced. Years ago. He’s been “I hope Abrams doesn’t stuff it up” since he was 11. (He didn’t actually know who JJ Abrams was at the time). He loves these movies so much and has become the go-to kid at school on all things Star Wars. I’m not sure I should be proud, but at least he gets out in the sun and plays some sports…

Finally, the time came. We were escorted to our seats.


The coke and popcorn and wine arrived, the 3D glasses were put on, the lights went down and then…


We were not disappointed. A stupid, silly, happy grin has been on both our faces for the last 24 hours. Do go see this movie. It’s terrific!



Thoughts: New Plymouth and Childhood Memories

I’ve had the opportunity to visit New Plymouth on business and its occurred to me that I haven’t been here for a very long time. Over 20 years if memory serves.

Whilst I grew up in Palmerston North, both my parents were born and raised here. I remember being bundled into the Kingswood every available holiday (it seemed) and driving up with the family. 

Mum grew up on a dairy farm which was used as a military installation during WWII. It’s been sold off over the decades and is now home to some of the newest houses in the region. The Old Communications Bunker remains. Good construction is hard to remove, apparently. 

Between all my meetings I managed to do drive-bys of the places I have recollections of:

Mums parents house in Gilbert St.

Dads house in Govett Ave.

There was little or no change to Gilbert St, but Govett is unrecognisable. Apart from the driveway and the building positioning. A conifer I remember spending hours playing in is now a stump. I’m a bit miffed.

Pukekura Park is still beautiful.

The thing that strikes me the most is how much smaller everything is in reality. Through a child’s eyes I recall much larger homes, longer driveways, bigger sandhills and parks.

I also have little recollection of the city itself. Except for one memory where at the age of 8 I was captured by a large guard and accused of shoplifting. (I hadn’t been, and I was let go by the manager after proving my case). Wow, that one came back strong. Surprising.

I wonder if my parents really only spent time with the parents, aunts and uncles in their homes rather than drag us around in the hope of entertaining us. Interesting.

The Baptist Church where my grandfather died and was sent off, as well as my other grandparents is unchanged. I spent a lot of time there.

The model train club. Still there. Still fond memories.

It’s been great coming here. Good for work and good for the soul. There is a sense of belonging and history. But no, I’m quite sure I couldn’t live here.