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Our Princess is gone. How can that be. We ask ourselves why. If the answers were easy it would be easy to accept but this right now is like swallowing glass and gravel mixed with dirty needles. There are no answers just a dimmer, sadder world being left behind. We who have faith prayed for a miracle and it was just not to be. It would be childish to get angry because things happen, and you just accept them but somehow this one is mighty hard to accept.
When I was 9 years old, back in 1977 I was dragged by my sisters to the Hollywood Theater in downtown LaCrosse to see a movie that was taking the world by storm. It was called Star Wars. We sat in the middle row, mid section and waited for the curtain to rise. What I saw was a revelation. It was not that the special effects were cool. (Is there anything more iconic than the consular ship being chased down by that Star Destroyer for an opening shot?) It was the story and mostly the characters. It was our introduction to the man who would become one of the biggest movie stars of all time, a legend and icon, Harrison Ford as Han Solo. It was our introduction to Mark Hamill who will forever be associated with his character Luke Skywalker and of course Carrie Fisher whose portrayal of Princess Leia would inspire girls everywhere for decades.
The two that I paid most attention to of course were Ford and Fisher. For some reason they made the movie for me. As a little nine year old they were my heroes in the saga. Everybody else yapped about light sabers and Jedi's. Me? I loved Han Solo, and the fact I just knew he would sweep that fearless little princess off her feet and in The Empire Strikes Back, he did. The two characters would be forever connected like Rick and Ilsa, Scarlett and Rhett. We Generation Xers had Han and Leia. As every bit as epic a romance as there has been written about in Western Culture.
When I saw Carrie up there on the screen bravely facing Darth Vader and Governor Tarkin it made me feel that I could face the bullies at school. My brothers taught me how to throw a punch but there is more to it than just knowing how to fight back. You have to really want to stand up for yourself. Carrie showed me and millions of other girls like me that you can stand up to anyone and win. I will miss her so much.
Star Wars made me want to be an actress. I was already a singer and a good one. But watching Star Wars made me feel like the kid in the Foreigner hit, Jukebox Hero. I had my nose pressed against the glass and wanted to be part of the show. Carrie Fisher gave me something else besides the courage to fight back, she gave me a dream. Carrie and Harrison Ford were my role models and somehow I was going to go for it when I was ready. Life got in the way and my dreams never got realized. I still remember the dream growing and wanting it. I remember seeing Carrie and saying if she can do it I can do it. I think she'd appreciate that to.
See I know for many people its hard for them to understand why people get upset when a person who was part of our cultural back drop passes away. I think part of it is envy, and part of it is trying to condescend. They just don't make the connection that the rest of us did. There are the dreamers who day dream and the ones who have no desire to think about being somebody else or doing something amazing. I believed I could because I had a heroine and a hero who showed me how. They have both forever meant to me courage, being undaunted and never giving up.
I cannot imagine the world without Carrie. Her name should never be said in the past tense. It makes no sense. Its like the world has been swiveled off its axis. At least it seems that way to those of us who grew up with her. I read somewhere just today that the human mind is actually more connected to the outside world than we imagine. That we literally touch the things we see and the areas we walk in a way that we did not imagine with our 'minds'. I think that it captures what the soul is. The soul merely houses our bodies. In some ways Carrie really did touch those of us she never met personally. Everywhere a human goes they bring and leave parts of their selves and take some of what they saw and did with them in their souls. She did that. Even way up on a movie screen or in her writing.
I want to say to Debbie Reynolds, my heart cries out for you. We loved her so much. To Carries daughter Billie, your mom helped more of us grow into tough minded women than you could ever imagine. Be proud of that. Remember how much we loved her. To the rest of Carries family we are praying for all of you. She meant the world to me and millions. God bless you sister, Carrie. May He hold you in the palm of his hand forever. Goodbye Princess. Forever in our hearts.