An Open Letter to Han Solo

 

 

It was 1977.  My parents had separated and I was a six year old girl being bounced between mother and father like a hot potato.

Me in 1977.jpg

Me in 1977 – not the best quality pic, but hey – I’m lucky to have this one.  Stepmother threw away my baby pics. Read on.

 

My father stopped by to pick me up one weekend and announced he was taking me to the movies.  Well, AWESOME, because I had my heart set on watching ‘Sinbad and the Eye of the Golden Tiger.’

“No, Jodi.  We’re going to go watch Star Wars.”

“Um, what is that?”

“It’s a brand new movie that just came out and I know you’re going to love it.”

“No – I don’t know what that is.  I wanna see ‘Sinbad’!”

And so this went on for about 10 minutes or so, until my dad dragged my ungrateful ass into the car and we drove into New York City to watch this terrible life-ruining movie that I never heard of.

We arrived at the theater, I grabbed my program (yes, they used to have movie programs back in those days) and decidedly pouted my way through the movie.  Until one particular scene came up onto the screen.

Han Solo. I’m captain of the Millennium Falcon. …

Han Cantina

Well, HALLOOO!

I immediately sat upright in my seat, pulled my dad’s head down so I could whisper into his ear, “Dad! Who is THAT?!?”

And it was all downhill from there.  I was hooked.  I was a six year old girl in love with a fictional character old enough to be my dad.

But what was really interesting was that it was definitely more than a little girl’s crush on an obviously handsome actor’s portrayal of a character.

After watching Star Wars for who the hell knows how many times (yes, I managed to convince my father several times over how we needed to go watch it again), it became apparent to me that this was now my life.

Star Wars curtains hung in my bedroom at my mother’s apartment.  I had a Star Wars electric toothbrush. My bedspread and sheets matched my curtains. I had action figures galore (including 10 million Princess Leias. Princess Leia’s head always managed to break off for some reason) but the one action figure I never had was – HAN SOLO.  Irwin’s, the local toy store, never seemed to have them in stock.

This was before the interwebs, so it wasn’t like we could ebay it or something.

My husband DID manage to get my first Han Solo action figure for me when I was about 30 at a comic con!

Anyway, I digress.

I did manage to have quite a few of the figures.  My dad had his own pharmacy at the time and he had this weird little section where he was selling brass doll furniture and other brass oddities.

Well I convinced him I needed the little brass bicycle and the brass table and chair set. I mean where else was Darth Vader and Chewie going to be able to enjoy tea together?? Really!

Comic books became my bible.  I plowed through those things and couldn’t wait for the next trip to the comic book shop.

Then life took a horrible left turn and stayed in that direction for years to come.

My mother died that year.  She was only 27 and the circumstances around the death are still not closed. I was thrust into my dad’s life full time.  We did ok in his 1 bedroom apartment.

He bought me a bunny.  I named him Peter, because I was so original like that. Peter became quick friends with my cat, Camus, or Moo Cat for short.  Which isn’t actually shorter but it worked for me.

I had a handful of my comics with me, as well as my umpteenth Princess Leia action figure (damn head popped off all the time), my Darth Vader, and my R2D2. I pretended they were family and went on picnics at the brass table.  And this was before we knew Darth Vader was Leia’s father, mind  you!  I was so insightful, even back then!  Well, maybe not, but you get my gist.

Immersing myself in Star Wars helped me cope with the death of my mother because I had no closure.  My father could barely take care of himself.  But Han Solo?  He excelled at taking care of himself.  And was a hero doing it.

Don’t get me wrong – Princess Leia was my idol.  She’s strong, smart, and a leader.

But Han – Han also had all of these qualities but was an outsider.  Like me.  He didn’t fit in.  He didn’t WANT to.  He needed to get by, get his shit done, and to hell with everyone else. Like me.

Kids in school were horrible.  Because of the mystery around my mother’s death, the kids used to think it would be very amusing to them to make up how they think she must have died and taunt me with them.

“She choked on a chicken bone!”

“She was a drug addict!”

“She couldn’t stand you, so she killed herself!”

Those are a few of the gems that stayed in my memory.

I really REALLY needed to get the rest of my Star Wars toys and memorabilia out of my mother’s apartment.  It was a necessity at this point.  I was falling apart and I knew that living vicariously through Han Solo’s adventures would put me back together again.

One day at the dinner table, I said, “Dad, when can we go back to my old place and get all my Star Wars stuff?”

My dad got a weird look on his face.  He took a deep breath and said, “It’s gone.  The landlord didn’t want to wait for us, so he threw everything out.”

I felt like my world was ripped from me yet again.  I mourned the loss of my mother and now the loss of the only world that helped me get through the loss of my mother.

A year or so went by and my father in his phobia of being without a woman in his life moved us in with a woman who had two sons from a previous marriage.  One was a year older, one was 7 years younger.

We all moved into a new place together and I really looked forward to having a family again.  I never had siblings and I thought it was the coolest thing to have brothers.

Within a week of moving in together, my father’s wife made her opinion of me very clear.

Police and CPS were frequent visitors to our home.  But because of her father being a prominent figure in the police department, nothing ever came of those reports.

School would send me to the nurse constantly to check my bruises, my scratches, and eventually, my behavior.  I started to rebel in school because I had no control anywhere else in my life.

I began finding my baby pictures and my mother’s pictures in the garbage.  She was throwing them away systemically, so that they weren’t all gone all at once. I was being erased.

I tried reaching out to my dad to tell him what was going on, both with me and what she was doing to our family’s history, and he didn’t believe me.

Of course it never happened with him home.  He was working three jobs because she refused to work one and his paltry salary as a pharmacist in a mom and pop pharmacy could barely support him and me, let alone three others.

So he was never home.

I did manage to start collecting more Star Wars comics and at this point The Empire Strikes Back was out in the theaters – reinvigorating my obsession and helping me escape into the world of Hoth, Cloud City, and WHAT??

Han Solo is frozen in carbonite and THE CREDITS ARE ROLLING?? WHAT???

Boba Fett Carbonite Screen Cap

Isn’t anyone gonna STOP this MF?? The movie’s almost over!!

 

I was stunned. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that they let him go with Boba Fett.  They abandoned him, in my mind.  The way I felt abandoned.

Then Return of the Jedi comes along and thank FUCK within the first 20 minutes that shit got resolved.  There was no way I was sitting though this movie without Han Solo being alive, snarky, and waving that damn blaster around.

The rest of my teen years were spent in not very good ways.  I won’t get into details here, but when the Star Wars movies stopped coming, I focused my energies in not healthy ways.  I needed to get out of the horrible home situation.

WWHD – What would Han do? Well, I think for one he’d have stuck his middle finger up at the world and went his merry way.  Which is pretty much what I did.

FINGER

Ok, not quite giving the finger, but you know the power of the Ford finger

 

Fast-fowarding decades into the present.  I’m middle aged, married, four children, three cats, one guinea pig, and a jewelry business.

Going to see Star Wars The Force Awakens was a religious experience for us.

We prepped the kids by having three days of original triology immersion, in order.  Do NOT get me started on the prequels.  I adore Ewan McGregor with all my heart but there’s nothing in my mind that can save those movies.

I managed to stay spoiler-free! Not ONE single factoid – true/false or otherwise made it through my senses!

We arrived at the IMAX theater, thankfully still spoiler-free.  I even went to the lengths of covering my eyes and ears in the lobby so I wouldn’t see people’s faces or hear their comments as they exited the theater.  Yup.

As I sat through the movie with my family, enjoying the looks on their faces, it really came full circle for me.

Until one pivotal moment.  SPOILER ALERT!!!

 

 

The moment Han walked onto that bridge, I knew it wasn’t going to end well.  I had ‘a bad feeling about this’.

As I saw the blade emerge from his back, I gasped, audibly.  I covered my mouth with my hands.  I stayed in that position as I watched Han place his hand on his son’s face tenderly, then fall off the bridge into oblivion.

I felt as if I fell into oblivion with him, my thoughts spiraling.  Waiting for some miraculous rescue and a medic droid to make it all better. It never came.

He didn’t get the burial he deserved.  No one said any last words on his behalf.  He was simply…gone.

Han Solo left this world without closure.  As did my mom.  Ironic, isn’t it? Yes, I do realize Han Solo is a fictional character.  However, if you read through this post, you’ll understand Han Solo’s significance in my life.

So without further ado, here is my letter to Han Solo:

Dear Han,

Your sense of survival, your quick wit, and your heart really changed my life forever from the first moment you appeared on screen when I was a  6 year old little girl.

I lost myself in your adventures through an incredibly difficult childhood up through my teens, and even through my 20s.

Now, a middle-aged woman with 4 kids, I find myself in mourning of the character that swooped in on the Millennium Falcon, helped save the galaxy, as well as this little girl at heart.

You will be remembered as being a scoundrel, a mercenary, a general, a mighty opponent, a survivor, and my hero.

May the Force be with you, Han Solo.

Jodi

Here are some Han Solo-inspired pieces you will find in my shop eldwenne.etsy.com:

Han Shot First

Han Shot First

I Love You - I Know Necklace

I Love You – I Know

 

The Death of Han Solo 2

The Death of Han Solo

 

 

May the Force be with You

DCCon: The Jewelry, the Angel, and the Wormstaches

DCCon.  Far from the final frontier, but these are the voyages of Jodi and her son, Jaden.  It all started out on a Thursday morning on Amtrak, trekking it down from Jersey to DC.

Don't let this pic fool you - he was excited as hell to be going to DCCon

Don’t let this pic fool you – he was excited as hell to be going to DCCon

This trip to DCCon was not only another leg of my traveling jewelry tour, it was a chance to try to give my son, Jaden a decent memory from 2014.

Jaden went through quite a lot from 2013 up until recently. He was bullied all throughout last year of school.  We were not aware of exactly what was happening, but we knew something was wrong.  Finally, during the summer, we were able to figure it out – another child was brutally bullying Jaden.  Psychologically.  This kid had Jaden terrorized and afraid to speak up for himself.

Long story short, we pressed charges, the bully got what amounted to a slap on the wrist, but the act of standing up to this bully really empowered him.

But it wasn’t enough. Jaden has spent the past school year guarded, defensive, suspicious, and hurt. He was withdrawn.  We basically lost the outgoing, chatty, vibrant young man we once knew.

I thought taking him to DCCon would be a welcome distraction for him, especially because he truly loves Supernatural, devours the novels, and finds a welcome escape watching the episodes.

Upon arrival in DC, we rushed to our hotel.  Unfortunately we were staying in the spillover hotel, not the actual event hotel, but it wasn’t far away.

We settled in, unpacked, ate, and then went to the Con to start setting up Eldwenne’s Fantasy and Clifhangers tables.

Thursday was a loooong day for us and by the time the vendor room closed for the night it was after 10:45pm – we had been on the go since 3am!

Friday was going to be a cinch – the vendor’s room was going to be open from 9:30 – 6:30.  Not bad.

When I did VegasCon, I had a raffle to vote for your fave – Crowley vs. Abaddon.  It was wildly successful and the fans had a blast voting for their favorite. Will there be a King of Hell or a Queen of Hell?  The fans chose Crowley (as did Supernatural, as per this past episode!)
I wanted to give the fans some more fun so I held a raffle to win the companion bracelet to Castiel’s Grace necklace:

The companion bracelet to my original necklace design: Castiel's Grace!

The companion bracelet to my original necklace design: Castiel’s Grace!

 

In addition to trying to win the bracelet, it was also a chance to vote for your favorite version of Cas – Angel or Human!

Most importantly – half of the proceeds from the raffle were donated to Random Acts of Kindness! Everyone wins!

A chance to win my bracelet, vote for your fave version of Cas, and donate to Random Acts of Kindness!

A chance to win my bracelet, vote for your fave version of Cas, and donate to Random Acts of Kindness!

 

What were the results?  You’ll find out at the end of this post!

So what makes Fridays special at any Salute to Supernatural Con?  KARAOKE PARTY!!!  Jaden was up to going.  So we went.  And oh.  My.  GOD!  This event really solidified to me how wonderful Supernatural fans are.

I can’t count how many lovely people saw Jaden and me and shooed us up to the front of the crowd so that he could see.  We didn’t ask anyone, we didn’t complain, people just went out of their way to give Jaden an amazing experience.  I cannot thank all of you enough for that!  It really epitomizes the generous and giving spirit Supernatural fans have.  I’m so proud to be a part of the SPN Family.

Here are some pics from the evening:

Matt Cohen channeling his inner Keanu

Matt Cohen channeling his inner Keanu

 

Richard Speight Jr - a man and his wig.

Richard Speight Jr – a man and his wig.

 

Osric - always a knight in shining armor

Osric – always a knight in shining armor

 

Father and son karaoke - the first time John and Henry Winchester are onstage together!

Father and son karaoke – the first time John and Henry Winchester are onstage together!

 

The beautiful Kim Rhodes rocking out on stage!

The beautiful Kim Rhodes rocking out on stage!

 

Some angel and prophet love - Sebastian Roche happy to see Rob Benedict!

Some angel and prophet love – Sebastian Roche happy to see Rob Benedict!

 

VERY lucky to snap this one of Dr. Badass himself - Chad Lindberg!

VERY lucky to snap this one of Dr. Badass himself – Chad Lindberg!

 

The Rock Goddess - Stephanie with Richard Speight Jr - if you haven't heard her rendition of "Time Warp" you have not lived!!

The Rock Goddess – Stephanie with Richard Speight Jr – if you haven’t heard her rendition of “Time Warp” you have not lived!! You also need to check out her frigging amazing band – Samurai Fish!

 

The true highlight of the evening for Jaden:

Jade getting to meet Rob Benedict at Karaoke.  Rob is AMAZING - thank you!!

Jade getting to meet Rob Benedict at Karaoke. Rob is AMAZING – thank you!!

 

We stayed until the lights went on – and the next day was going to be a long one for us in the vendor’s room – 11 hours!!  Jaden decided to ease into his morning:

Jaden - life after karaoke

Jaden – life after karaoke

 

Saturday is always the long day for us vendors – it’s usually an 11 hour day.  Jaden slept under the Clifhanger table for a bit, lol! Then he went off to some panels.

Saturday was the big day where a lot of people began to notice my Supernatural Inspired necklaces – it was quite an amazing reaction and I’m so pleased with how many of you came by to admire my work!

I always say that the biggest compliment I could ever receive is to see someone wearing a piece of mine.  I was floored for the entire weekend!!
ALL seventeen of my designs were snatched up by you guys – THANK YOU!!  It was such an amazing response to my work that I decided to mark down the necklace in my online shop: http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com – from now through midnight May 12, you can buy these necklaces at the same low prices I was offering at the convention!  You can get the following:

The Impetuousness of Balthazar

The Impetuousness of Balthazar

 

The Sacrifice of Mary WInchester

The Sacrifice of Mary WInchester

 

The Soul of Sam Winchester

The Soul of Sam Winchester

 

The Wisdom of Bobby Singer

The Wisdom of Bobby Singer

 

The Complexity of Meg Masters

The Complexity of Meg Masters

 

The Fire of Abaddon

The Fire of Abaddon

 

The Genius of Charlie Bradbury

The Genius of Charlie Bradbury

 

The Loyalty of Benny LaFitte

The Loyalty of Benny LaFitte

 

The Heart of Castiel II

The Heart of Castiel II

 

The Purification of Sam Winchester

The Purification of Sam Winchester

 

The Tenacity of Dean Winchester

The Tenacity of Dean Winchester

 

The Deception of Crowley

The Deception of Crowley

 

Castiel’s Grace is still the all-time favorite!

Castiel's Grace

Castiel’s Grace

 

For the Love of Supernatural

For the Love of Supernatural

 

The Integrity of Dean Winchester

The Integrity of Dean Winchester

 

The Legacy of Henry Winchester

The Legacy of Henry Winchester

 

We Are All Team Free Will

We Are All Team Free Will

 

ALL of these pieces are currently at their low convention prices at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com

 

If you happened to buy a piece from me at the convention – send me a pic!! I’d love to feature you – like these beautiful ladies!

Sporting some Dean earrings!

Sporting some Dean earrings!

 

Wearing The Impetuousness of Balthazar!

Wearing The Impetuousness of Balthazar!

 

This young lady bought my pride and joy – The Winchester Family Tree necklace!

The Winchester Family Tree went to a good home!

The Winchester Family Tree went to a good home!

 

This cutie loved my Sacrifice of Mary Winchester necklace!

This cutie loved my Sacrifice of Mary Winchester necklace!

 

Some other amazing people strolled into the vendor’s room:

 

Dr. Badass!  Wearing his Dr. Badass bracelet I made him!

Dr. Badass! Wearing his Dr. Badass bracelet I made him!

 

Jaden was touched by an angel

Jaden was touched by an angel

This whole weekend was so incredible for both Jaden and me.  I finally saw Jaden smile for the first time in months.  And who put that smile there?  Not just the amazing cast of Supernatural, but YOU!  The fans treated him so well and restored his faith that there are genuine, good people out there!

Kim Rhodes was super amazing and tweeted this pic of her beautiful daughter wearing a necklace I made for her!

Kim Rhodes' daughter, wearing the necklace that matches the one I made for her mommy at VegasCon!

Kim Rhodes’ daughter, wearing the necklace that matches the one I made for her mommy at VegasCon!

So without further ado, I’d be remiss in not including my Wormstache Brigade!

Wormstache 1 Wormstache 2 Wormstache 3 Wormstache 4 Wormstache 5

And I also want to highight some pretty frigging amazing cosplay by Mel!

Mel Abaddon Mel Angel

And lastly – the memories my son will have for a lifetime!

Jared and Jensen got Jade to smile!

Jared and Jensen got Jade to smile!

 

The results of the vote: Human Cas got 14% of the vote.  Angel Cas received a whopping 84%!

Thank you Creation, Kim Rhodes, Chad Lindberg, Gil McKinney, Rob Benedict, Osric Chau, Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, and all of you amazing human beings who made DCCon the best experience for Jaden!

Remember to stop by online at http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com and come say hi to Clif at http://www.facebook.com/Clifhangers

The next few weeks will be intense as I prepare for a six week stint in Nashville, preparing for my Teach for America training.  Wish me luck and I’ll talk to ya’ll soon!

Interview with Brittany of Legacy X!

Many of you may be wondering what I am doing with my posts recently.  Most of them have absolutely nothing to do with my jewelry. 

But in a way they do.  Because of my career traveling the Supernatural convention circuit selling my handmade jewelry, I’ve had the honor of meeting so many incredibly fascinating people whom I otherwise would have never known.

I feel compelled to share these people’s messages, to promote their businesses, to celebrate their amazing accomplishments.  I feel better as a person when I write about them.

I originally started doing customer features once a month to acknowledge my amazing customers and friends, however, I seem to be collecting many more customers and friends in my journeys.  Writing about them once a month doesn’t cut it and I wanted to create a connection between my work and providing a platform for these individuals to be heard. Which brings me to Brittany.

 

Brittany and me doing a selfie in VegasCon

Brittany and me doing a selfie in VegasCon

 

When I did VegasCon last month, I had a table next to me called Legacy X.  I met a group of amazing, determined, passionate women whose mission was to collect anti-bullying messages from the crowd. These messages were to be written on red paper and then used to recreate Legacy X’s logo in the desert.

It cost nothing to write, but each message’s value was priceless.

 Being the mother of an eleven year old boy who was traumatically bullied to the point where we had to press criminal charges, Legacy X’s message really hit home and I was drawn to its members to learn more about their organization and how we can each make a difference.

I met this absolutely beautiful young woman, Brittany, who has generously allowed me to interview her about her bullying experiences and how Legacy X has transformed her.

 

The beautiful Brittany Ritz!

The beautiful Brittany Ritz!

I’m Brittany Ritz. I am 17 years old and from Las Vegas, Nevada. My favorite colors are blue and red :).  I am part of an anti-Bullying group called Legacy X.

Why Brittany likes Blue

Why Brittany likes Blue

 

Why Brittany likes red!

Why Brittany likes red!

I am attending a private school because I was bullied a lot from 6th grade to 10th grade.  I went through so much; I’ve been spit on by girls and boys, they’d put gum in my hair, and boys would write ‘go kill yourself’ or ‘make a video of you hanging yourself!’

The bullying didn’t stop there. One time a couple of girls had jumped me and hurt me badly.

 

Brittany after the attack

Brittany after the attack – she used her images to help others.  One of a million reasons why I admire this woman.

They broke my teeth.  They cut my hair.  It affected me in many ways. I was feeling suicidal and depressed. I lost weight and then gained it back 2x more. It got to the point where if I died I didn’t care! But now I care about my life. I love my life so much and am grateful for my whole family and friends ❤

Because of all of this, I am now part of an organization called Legacy X. It’s a rebuild yourself program that was founded by Justin Spencer.  You may know Justin as the founder of Recycled Percussion from America’s Got Talent 🙂 Everyone is like family to me ❤

Brittany on the Teen X Team! She's up front and center with the organization's founder, Justin Spencer!

Brittany on the Teen X Team! She’s up front and center with the organization’s founder, Justin Spencer!

Brittany got the Vegas-based vocal group Mo5aic to create anti-bullying messages!

Brittany got the Vegas-based vocal group Mo5aic to create anti-bullying messages!

While I was with you in VegasCon, it really astounded me how many people actually said, “NO” when asked to write an anti-bullying message.  One person actually got extremely confrontational about it and the mother bear in me had to grab one of the Creation staff over the incident.

In this day and age where bullying is so much more in the public eye thanks to social media and the internet in general, one would think that most of us would have empathy.

But for every person that refused to leave a message, there were many others that did, including some familiar faces.

Kim Rhodes' message says it all: "Don't let

Kim Rhodes’ message says it all: “Your worth is infinite.  Let your heart define you.”

Kim Rhodes, actress and activist, left a very poignant message which reads, “Your worth is infinite. Let your heart define you.”

I shared this message with my son and as a result, he started to crack that hardened shell he built around himself.

Brittany refuses to let her bullies define who she is.  She has many facets to her sweet personality, including being an aspiring designer!

Jodi: Do you have creative outlets? Tell us about them and if you have photos of your work, please feel free to share!

I make lots of things from dresses and hair bows I do not have any photos but will soon 🙂

I’m making Brittany promise that to us so we can see her amazing work.  She described a lot of her designs to me while we were in Vegas and I have to say we are going to be in for quite a treat when she sends me those pics!!

 

Brittany, what kind of advice would you like to share with us?

If you see something, say something. Don’t allow your fellow peers to hurt someone! How would you like if it was your sister or brother? If you don’t like being picked on why pick on someone else ?! Because you never know what they are going through.  They might be suicidal.  So please if anyone is ever feeling down or upset you can email me or message me on Facebook  Brittanyritz@gmail.com

Brittany, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to allow me to interview you.  Your message is a powerful one that resonates loud and clear with us all. Be good to yourself.  Help others to be good to themselves.  Help others to be good to others.  

And because of your hard work, Legacy X was able to fulfill its goal to create their logo in the desert!

They did it!

They did it!


You are a beautiful young woman and I look forward to seeing you again!

Please follow Legacy X on twitter @LegacyXonline and on FaceBook https://www.facebook.com/legacyx

And to everyone out there I hope to see you in DCCon next month! I’m working away on tons of new designs and you’ll have first pick of ’em there!  Until then, just keep checking my shop http://www.eldwenne.etsy.com for daily updates!