U.F.O.’s, WTF?

“U.F.O.’s, and aliens, and alternate universes, oh my!”

The first time I explored “Alien Territory”, both literally as a region of the U.S. I’d not previously been to and figuratively as the area of North America best known for  U.F.O. intrigue, a’la Roswell and Area 51, my senses and “alien radar” were abuzz!  Though I’m skeptical regarding abductions I don’t rule them out completely and I’m just happy to say I can’t speak from personal experience (and I’d like to keep it that way).  End of the day, I’m a believer, and have even made the mecca to the U.F.O. museum in Roswell, New Mexico from S.E. Florida twice, a destination only reached through purposeful intent due to its remote location.

On an extended road-trip through the southwestern United States, my friend & I knew we had officially entered X-Files domain when we passed an electrical box on a busy street corner that was currently doubling as a canvas for an amateurish but passionate painting of a large alien head and U.F.O. that dominated a background of night sky.  Accompanying this imagery were the brush-stroked and thought provoking words, “Do you believe?”.  This random but clear welcome to “Alienville” demanded a brief filming & photo op that we obliged by pulling over in the bustling intersection, unashamed & unapologetic, giggling, tourists.

Many miles to go to that days destination, the sunlight slowly disappeared until it winked goodbye on the western horizon.  With its departure there was no civilization present as far as the eye could see to offer even the faintest glow to cut the pitch black, desert, darkness as we navigated our rental car onward.  Traveling the dark and barren landscape, vehicles passed us and visa-versa only at noticeably extended intervals.  Fortunately, as good friends do, we had no trouble amusing ourselves as the hours and the miles ticked by, aliens naturally being a discussed and revisited topic of conversation along the way.  Until……suddenly……

”WHAT WAS THAT?”, I yelled out in alarm and excitement, leaning over her to get a better look out her driver’s side window.  “What?  WHAT?”, she loudly responded, uncertain whether to be alarmed or intrigued.

Me:  (Stammering and exclaiming) “I SWEAR, I just saw a light going across the sky and it just DISAPPEARED!”

Her (again):  “Where?  WHERE?”

Me:  “It was right out your window……”

(nervous giggles while she drove and I continued gazing intently)


Her:  “Where?  WHERE?  Oh my god! Where?”  (obviously working with limited dialogue under the circumstances)

Me:  “I swear, I’m not kidding you! I just saw it again but in a different part of the sky!”

No other cars in sight, it was just us, the desert, and the aliens.

I rapidly began fumbling in the darkness of our car for the video camera we had brought along to film our journey for future Memory Lane viewing.  This *obviously* deserved inclusion as part of our vacation experience and, more importantly, documentation for official, scientific review!  Despite my amateur filming skills and our mutually distracting squeals of excitement, disbelief, and shock, I managed to get the video camera out and the lens into focus.  I directed the camera towards, and recorded, out the front of the windshield into the void of the empty sky as we waited for our next Visitor From Beyond to make their presence known….and we were not disappointed!  This time BOTH of us saw it – “Oh my god!  Oh my god!  Oh my god!”

Her:  “I saw it!  I saw it!  Ohmygod!”

Me:  “I told you!  Ohmygod!  Pull over!  PULL OVER!”

(Insert ear piercing, extended, exclamations, merged together in a non-sensical, audio train-wreck.)


Too entranced to pull over, to do anything other than gaze with hypnotized wonder into the ebony infinity above, we saw yet another, this time clearly a different light that was much closer though which disappeared just as quickly as its companions.  Then, just a moment later, it played its role in this extraterrestrial game of “Simon Says” as it too reappeared.  A little bit longer and….AGAIN!  Same thing, different place in vast sky.  They…were…EVERYWHERE!  We were absolutely beside ourselves and it truly was one of the most exciting and intriguing moments of my life until…….

Her:  “Oh my god.  They’re PLANES!”

Me:  “Noooooo.”

Her:  “Yes!  Look!  You can barely see them because it’s so dark but there are clouds in the sky!  Every time we see a light it’s a plane and when it disappears it is going behind a cloud and then comes out the other side!”

Me:  (Gazing intently, the car loud with silence)

****There it is AGAIN!****

…..and now I see the damn cloud around it’s lights.

(Insert sound of deflating balloon *here*)

And so the road trip, us, and life moved on with one new item, a helluva’ entertaining vacation video segment, and one remaining item:

I still believe!


Summer of ’77 – Star Wars vs. The Rescuers

The year was 1977 and I was 8 years old when Star Wars was released.  Star Wars fans are unrivaled in their knowledge & passion only by Disney fans and those are the ones, perhaps only with the exception of me, that will recall that the Disney movie “The Rescuers” was in theaters at the same time during that disco era summer.

My parents packed me & my two sisters into our station wagon and headed to the theater with a plan of my mother taking me & my siblings to “The Rescuers” while my father went (Han) solo to “Star Wars”.  I was SO excited to see “The Rescuers” as I loved mice and going to the theater was a rare & special treat for us so you can imagine my dismay when we pulled up in front of the dual screen theater to discover a line that appeared to go on for MILES.  No, not for Star Wars but for MY movie, “The Rescuers”!  Star Wars had only been out for one month at that point and was still gaining steam, exposure and hype not available to the masses the way it is today in a pre-internet era.  It was quickly determined that the showing we were there for was already sold out and the line was for the *next* screening, resulting in the ultimate and dastardly decision for us to all go to Star Wars instead.  THE HORROR!  Truly, I’d been robbed!

Now…..imagine if you first saw Star Wars knowing absolutely *nothing* about it and not only did you NOT want to see it, you were MAD that you “had to”.  And so was my introduction to the uncontestably magical world where, instead of buffalo, wookiez & droids roam.

As with everyone, I had never seen anything like it and I was completely blown away.  It consumed thoughts and conversations and, at my age at the time, playtime and debates over who was cuter, Luke or Han Solo.  For the record, I’ve always been a Han Solo girl, apparently drawn to bad boys since I was old enough to like boys at all.  But I digress.  It was due to both my personal, and the public’s, obsession with Star Wars that my artistic self met my tiny entrepreneur self and I began cranking out hand drawings of Star Wars characters, R2-D2 being my specialty.  Once I had compiled an impressive portfolio I began going door to door in my neighborhood selling my masterpieces to those lucky enough to have the opportunity and wherewithal to make such a sound investment.  The market for eight year old pencil drawings of Star Wars characters was HOT!  Okay, well, shocking as it may seem, that wasn’t exactly the case but I do recall selling at least two, maybe three, of my drawings, obviously to kind hearted, encouraging souls who were probably also family friends.

Decades later I ran into Han Solo (aka: Harrison Ford) on South Beach, Miami.  Like, LITERALLY, ran into him – we roughly bumped shoulders walking down the sidewalk as we passed.  O….M….G!  That’s another story for another day but, I’ll tell you what, he was still one handsome devil!  While I can’t promise you’ll meet Han Solo or that you’ll make riches selling handmade art if you are a die-hard fan you can still travel to a galaxy not so far, far away and relive your own Star Wars memories.  Perhaps pass the lightsaber and introduce it all to a new generation, though may I recommend renting “The Rescuers” for them too.  😉