My first memory of Star Wars is not the typical experience for most that are my age and are old enough to have actually seen them in the theaters. I grew up in a very strict household and was not allowed to watch much TV and we never went to movies, so my first actual interaction with anything Star Wars was in 1981 playing in the dirt with a neighbor kid who was slightly older than me but who had most of the original Kenner collection of action figures. The first figure I picked up was Hammerhead, (now known as Momaw Nadon but will always be Hammerhead to me.) The look of this figure was so riveting to me. I had never seen an alien of any sort up until this point. Along with Hammerhead there were also other memorable alien figures such as Walrus man and Greedo. All these characters were really interesting to me and made my mind race with questions and intrigue. The only humanoid character that I remember was Big head Han and of course He was with his trusty companion Chewbacca. To add to all this The Millennium Falcon was the centerpiece of this new playworld. From that point on, despite the fact that I still had not seen any of the movies I never stopped thinking about Star Wars because I was creating my own stories.
The first time I actually saw Star Wars was on the last day of school before Summer vacation in 1983. I was in the third grade and the teacher brought in her personal copy of Star Wars that she had bought during the holiday season the year before. I was finally seeing what I had only imagined in my mind. The aliens and characters I had only seen in plastic form were coming to life on screen right in front of my eyes. It was absolutely exhilarating. That was where it all started.
My first real experience with the Star Wars fan community and the collecting community was at Celebration V in Orlando back in 2010. Just prior to that I had no knowledge of Celebration. I first became aware of Celebration in 2008 when I purchased a Ralph McQuarrie 30th Anniversary Threepio and Artoo and a Celebration II Commander George Sacul at San Diego Comic con. After doing some research I found out about these incredible gatherings every few years. Fortunately for me I lived about 3 hours south of where Celebration V was going to take place. My wife and I attended in the summer of 2010 and we were so blown away. Wehave not missed a Celebration in the U.S. since.
I manage a small commercial printer in Jupiter Florida of which I have worked at for over 20 years. It is here where most of my contributions to Jedi News occur. Although I have written for Jedi News, I utilize my printing knowledge and capabilities to produce promotional materials for the Conventions that The Jedi News Team covers.