I was born in '79, so the first time I saw "Star Wars" was on TV via a CBS "movie of the week" or what have you in the early '80s. I remember finding the part where the jawa jumps up and shoots R2-D2 on Tatooine very unpleasant; during subsequent VHS viewings I cowered behind the couch as that scene crept up. I also wasn't very fond of the part where Chewbacca just straight up yells at Luke over being handcuffed. Like, you understand English, you know what the score is, calm down. Jesus! Otherwise, this was the perfect movie.
"Empire" was also presented to me first on a tv set, at my aunt's house in Greenwich, CT (the only reason that town means anything to me). I remember watching the Hoth sequences over and over again because I thought they were so dreamy and cool. I was still rather young, so the major plot points were totally lost on me, but hot damn if I didn't love this one even more than the o.g. "Empire" also helped me become cognizant of fashion, in that I realized no one in my world dressed as cool as Han or Luke or Vader or Boba Fett.
By '83 I was deemed old enough to experience Skywalking in the theater, but initially I didn't even want to see "Jedi" because the commercials on television made Jabba the Hutt look like evil incarnate. Funnily enough, spotting an Admiral Ackbar action figure in K-Mart changed my mind. I wanted that figure like the dickens and I sure as heck wanted to see that funny fish guy do his thing on screen. So a couple hours later my grandparents took me. It was pretty great, but near the end of the movie I had to go to the bathroom, and I distinctly remember missing key pieces of the speeder bike chase.
Flash forward a decade-ish. I was eighteen when the Special Editions came out, and I was just ELATED to finally have the opportunity to catch the first two in theater after years and years and years of small screen viewing. On top of that, I was employed at Taco Bell, who struck the deal for the SE "Feel the Force" promotion (that may have been how I initially found out about the rereleases); I nicked so many trinkets and stickers and cups during my shifts it's a wonder I wasn't fired/arrested. I don't know how they did it over in England, but here in the states the SE releases were staggered a month apart (January, February, March), which seemed really cruel. I didn't want to have to wait that long to see all three. The outstanding memory from these showings is how "Rocky Horror" the crowds were---cheering and booing and laughing and going nuts at the weirdest times. The Toschi Station line, I swear people just started screaming in pain and calling Luke terrible, not-PC names.
Naturally I found all the updated bits pretty displeasing, but I didn't sweat it at the time. I mean, there was no way they'd really keep that dodgy Greedo fuckery in there or that quasi-world music horse shit at the end of "Jedi." This was just a one-time thing. VHS was gonna be around forever. Right? Sigh.