Birthday: The Models


Shadow Box
Originally uploaded by Beth Doughty

Those at my birthday may have noticed the picture below didn’t have the shadow box. This deserves special mention especially since one of us might have had a mini-meltdown at the birthday party over it.

You see, I have a rare phobia involving model robots in small spaces….
No wait… I’ll start at the beginning. A small story for my friends/family who were at my birthday since I couldn’t choke it out.

When my mother was growing up in the 40’s they lived in a big house with their grandmother, aunt, uncle and her cousin Philip. Mom & Philip did everything together so it was only natural that when Philip and his dad got together for model building that Mom would join them. Well, Uncle Phil explained to a young Mom that girls didn’t build models, which was a lot like saying “as soon as you’re on your own kid, you’re going to build as many models as you can get your hands on” and after being deeply offended that’s what she set about doing.

Mom has built all sorts of ships, shuttle craft and when the Star Wars phenomenon hit the 70’s she grabbed up these models – putting in more work than was called for on C3PO and possibly R2, but that’s actually not the original R2 that she put together – he disappeared – and somewhere in the 90’s we went on a mission to find a duplicate kit. These were the models I took with me for show-and-tell; the envy of all my classmates at the time. In fact, for that one day I was popular – everyone wanted to play with them. (Not that I was old enough in the 70’s to take them anywhere, mind you.) These are the models that always stood on her shelves even when she started to loose everything and had to drastically reduce what she owned to what she could fit into a single bedroom. I would say that of all the models my Mom built, and there were many impressive ones, these meant the most to her.

My cousin Kim used them in part of the display at the funeral to remind people of who Mom was and I remember Kim saying she wanted to do something special with them and I completely forgot about them.

Then my TWENTIETH birthday party came along and I’m pulling out gifts, working my way to opening my “Box o’ Beth” and get to this. Kim had placed Mom’s models in a shadow box, lit up the back with stars and there R2 and 3PO stood before me on the sands of Tattooine.

Kim, I will never be able to express how much this gift meant to me – how incredibly thoughtful – how deeply it touched me. Thank you!

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