Origin Stories: Heather Cichos

Heather Cichos. She of the coming novel-writing fame, she who would shame Bob Vila with her incredible building, sawing, hammering, measuring skills, and she who let me ride on the handlebars of her bike while singing The Beatles' "Birthday" to me the day I turned six. Yes, Heather Cichos is my sister. But wait, there's more!

Her first book is awaiting publication. The comedic novel "Weregrannies" is plum full of pop culture references and features a cast of sweet little old ladies...turned into werewolves. Her forthcoming novels, well, I don't think I'm allowed to tell you about them yet. (Or I think I'd have to kill you.)

But they both take Heather's love of monsters and pop culture and do something brand new with them.

This is her (funny) Origin Story...

It wasn't a radioactive spider that triggered my ascent into geekhood. No...it was the Underoos. When I put them on, I was magically transformed into Wonder Woman. I was instantly hooked. 

One amazing Christmas, my big sister Shannon got a Wonder Woman doll to feed our shared obsession. I got the Lone Ranger. He was no Steve Trevor, but he had a horse! And it didn't matter that he was on a smaller scale than Wonder Woman. He still could have kicked Ken's shapeless butt. I can remember the smell of the yellow glue our mom used to re-attach Wonder Woman's leg again and again as we carelessly knocked it off. For the record, she could not do the splits.

Mom was a devout Trekkie and had filled her own childhood with Superman and the Three Stooges, so she understood. She was also very talented with a needle and thread, and she made us costumes to play dress up. One of my favorite old photos features my older sister and I in character. She was Wonder Woman, and I was a ballerina. Shannon's arms were crossed over her chest to showcase the homemade bullet proof bracelets, and her expression said, “I dare you to mess with me!” My expression was more along the lines of, “Duh.” But I rocked that purple tutu!

The years that followed were filled with fantastical characters. If it was unfathomable in real life, I sucked it up like a sponge. The Superfriends introduced me to more obscure heroes like Aquaman and Hawkman. Adam West brought me Batman. I even have vague memories of a live action Spiderman show. And then there was the creative genius that was Jim Henson. The Muppet Show was a constant delight, and when Luke Skywalker himself appeared in a Pigs in Space sketch, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven!

When mom remarried, we gained an instant sister. Leanne was just a few months younger than me, and we three girls were a tight bunch. Together we discovered the joy of being a mermaid after seeing the movie Splash,so mom sewed little mermaid tails for our Barbie dolls. That's right, folks. My mom thought of it first!

Somewhere along the way, Our baby sister Audrey was born, and we had a new little geek to mold after own our likenesses. Ghostbusters came along when she was only two, and though parts of it scared the heck out of her in the theater, the resulting cartoon was a favorite of us all. We got her a sticker book and bought stickers for her every chance we got. When we got our first VCR (complete with a real remote control...on a ridiculously long cord), we acquired our very own copy of Ghostbusters, taped off the tv. I lost count of how many times it satisfied our viewing pleasure somewhere after forty. One time, we watched the whole thing in rewind, and it was great even at high speed with no sound. We sat down once to write out the entire script, but it proved to be too much work, and we stopped soon after Ray's description of a “mass sponge migration”. Shannon's Ghostbusters bedsheets followed her to college.

Other than my overly gummy smile, I was no Molly Ringwald in school. There was no hot rich guy to see past my nerdiness and fall madly in love with me. But so what? I had Jareth the goblin king and a new improved Batman to dream about. In my fantasies, I was a mermaid, a gracefully roller-skating muse, an Amazon princess. When I finally escaped to college, I started dating a guy whose love for Scooby Doo rivaled my own. A man who my mother insisted would look like Harpo Marx if only he'd let her put a curly wig on him. Naturally, I married him. Han Solo and Princess Leia sat on top of our wedding cake.

It's been twenty years since we met, and now we have two children of our own to influence. My eight year old daughter has watched all three seasons of Wonder Woman on DVD (I know...can you believe it was only three?), and plays with the collectible doll my parents gave me long before she was born. My son has watched the Ironman movies with me an obscene number of times. Together, we are loyal Harry Potter devotees. I still speak in fluent Movie-quotese with my sisters, a language which my son is quickly picking up on.

I have a very full life, divided amongst work, family, and numerous creative outlets. I completed my first book, and have two more in the works. I picked up mom's sewing skills, and now my kids have the coolest Halloween costumes in the neighborhood. My daughter sleeps atop the castle loft I built in her room. I literally have too many hobbies and interests to keep up with. I've had to slow down a bit due to carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands, but you can't keep a good geek down. 

Little Audrey has surpassed us all in geeklore and actually makes a living that way. She taught me to wave my geek flag high. She is the queen, but I like to think I'm runner-up!


I'd like to add the following bit of music as a special little add-on to my sister's Origin Story. I can't ever hear this music without thinking of her, because she was completely in love with Madmartigan and totally wanted to name her daughter "Elora". (I think her husband vetoed that.) True, I can't do this for my other Origin Story contributors, but what's the fun in working with your sister every now and then if you can't add a little something?