2 days ago, June 12th, 2011, was the anniversary of 2 very important times in my life and both significant events really shaped who I am as a person, albeit they happened 29 years apart.
June 12th, 1981- I was 9, getting ready to turn 10. Being an only child, during the summers, I would go down to Phoenix, Arizona and spend time with my cousins and their larger family of 7 kids. While there, I would learn to interact with a larger family dynamic.
My parents would also send money with me and I would go to movies with my cousins and we would catch as many showings of the big blockbuster movies between 1981- 1985as we could stand.
It started out very strongly in 1981 when my cousin Denny came back from a date after seeing a midnight movie that had very little opening word of mouth.
I have always been a night owl and, even at the age of 9, I was routinely staying up until 2 or 3 am watching old reruns of Twilight Zone, Odd Couple, Real People, and watching any old movies I could find that interested me at the time.
Denny came home from his date and, not surprised that I was still awake, told me to get to bed because he was going to take me to the first showing in the morning of the best movie he had seen in a long time.
We went to the 10 am showing at the Chris-town 5 and several of my other cousins came along. The lines were not too long and we got in easily. This was going to be the last time that ttickets would be easy to get for this film for the next year.
I remember getting a Coke for the movie, but remember very little else about the actual experience as far as seat choice and such bcause once the film started, it was one of the greatest moments of my film going life.
Many people of my generation say that the opening scene of Star Wars is what turned them into movie fans. While I really enjoyed Star Wars, it held nothing in my mind to this experience.
As the Paramount logo turned into a live action mountain in South America (actually Hawaii), I was hooked for the next 115 minutes as the world was introduced to Indiana Jones in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark'. The story, the action, the characters- I was enthralled! My parents also saw it while I was in Phoenix and were dead set against me seeing it when I came home because they thought it would be too scary. When I got home that summer, though, I had already seen it 3 times.
Before the movie left theaters 86 weeks later, I had seen it in theaters 13 times! I purchased it on VHS when it came out in December of 1983 and I wore out 2 VHS copies. I have purchased it twice on DVD. I will purchase it the day it is released on Blu Ray. On my mission, I could literally watch and hear every moment of it in my head. In 1995, I lost track of how many times I had actually sat down and watched it. At the time, I was up to 435 times of actually sitting and watching it. This does not include the millions of times I have had it on in the background as I wash dishes, cook, do homework, write, anything! And, since then, I have had another 16 years to watch and listen to it. I am sure that I have sat and watched it well over 600, if not 700, times by now and my "listenings" of it probably go up into the several thousands. Even today, I have a digital copy of it on my Zune.
When I got home, I took all of my friends to it at the Villa theater in Salt Lake. My parents took me to the late show on New Year's Eve for our celebration of 1981 turning to 1982.'Raiders' was a phenomenon and there were times when we would have to plan to see a specific showing and you would get your tickets several days before.
Somewhere around the 7th time, I realized just what filmmaking was. It made sense to me how dialogue, acting, costumes, music, cinematography, directing, sound, editing, and the whole moviemaking process worked as a whole to bring a story to life. Although I was already a huge movie fan, 'Raiders' helped me see beyond the screen and get into my true love of films.
My parents encouraged my love of films. My dad took me to see Raiders many times and would watch it with me on video many more. He also showed me his favorite films, most of them starring Steve McQueen and Clint Eastwood.
My dad's favorite film was 'Bullitt' starring Steve McQueen. I got to watch it last year on June 12th, 2010- 29 years after the release of Raiders of the Lost Ark and a mere 19 hours after my dad's death.
Denny also factored greatly into last year's proceedings as he and his brother Garry gave my mom and I blessings the day we learned that my dad was terminal.
I am still working through the grief process. June 12th, 2011 was hard. Aleisha and I are in Hurricane spending the time with my mom as a time of reflection and remembering.
I worked late at Blockbuster on Saturday June 11th, 2011 and went home, finished packing and we got on the road. We pulled out at 1:12 AM on June 12th- the exact 1 year mark of the death of my dad. I could not imagine a better place to be at the one year mark. My dad loved to drive and to travel. While travelling, he listened to music and talk radio, so I listened to music, general songs and a few selections from the Raiders soundtrack and Rick Emerson.
I wanted to stop by my dad's grave in Nephi on the way down but wanted to make it to Hurricane instead of being arrested by the Nephi City cops for trespassing, so we will stop on the way home this Sunday.
I thought about holding my dad's hand for the last time during the 1 o'clock hour. My dad was dead for about 45 minutes before we called anyone last year just because we were all too stunned and drinking in the moment to even think about calling anyone at that time.
I was close to tears during the entire day of June 12th, 2011, but yeaterday and today, I feel a weight has been lifted off. While still hard, it is comforting to know that I have done an entire year without my dad. I know that seems strange, but that's how it feels to me. Since I have now done it all once, I can do it a second time. And a third. And a Fourth.
While I don't think it will ever be easy without my dad, I have learned a lot. I have had many friends and relatives give me love and support. Aleisha and I have had to work through it all together and have become much closer in doing so.
I am working on finishing Time Out (another chapter of which should be posted by tomorrow night) and getting my career going in that track and I'm not sure if I could have forced myself to do it without the death of my dad. Even though he has been gone a year, he is still making me a better person.
So, June 12th will forever be filled with tons of emotion for me and will probably be a yearly day which I take off from work.
Thank you, Steven Spielberg.
Thank you, Daddy.