Spock is Gone (and we’re not kids anymore)

7 Mar

The first episode of Star Trek I ever saw was in October 1966; a month after the first show aired on NBC in September. I watched it with my mom & sister-in-law. After the hour-long episode ended, my mom looked at me & said, “That was the strangest show I’ve ever seen.”

 It’s interesting how we, as individuals, interpret the same experiences differently. That night I had seen Mr. Spock for the first time & I was in love. Several months after seeing that episode we got our first-ever color television & my excitement at the purchase was focused entirely on finding out if Mr. Spock was really green.

Over the years, & with maturity, I gained a tremendous respect for Leonard Nimoy, the actor who breathed life into the Spock character, for his diversity of talent as an actor, director, author, poet, photographer, champion of women’s causes & humanitarian. To this day, though, & especially with the passing of Mr. Nimoy on February 27, 2015, I realize there continues to be a secret chamber in my heart where my love for Mr. Spock will continue to overflow until I begin my own journey to the Undiscovered Country.

Next year Star Trek will celebrate the 50th. Anniversary of the release of the first show. It is something that has been intertwined with the greater part of my life in one way or another.

I’d love to say that watching Star Trek & loving Mr. Spock were the reasons for my 38 year career choice as an Operating Room Registered Nurse, but they are not. How Star Trek connects to my long career in medicine is the excitement of seeing “fantasy medical equipment” from the show turn into real medical equipment during the span of my career. Pulse oximeters that are routinely used in hospitals around the world began as a far-fetched idea in the brain of Trek creator, Gene Roddenberry, as did the “Med Bed,” power delivery systems for medications & other medical innovations too numerous to mention. It’s been exciting to see the transformation from “space toys & props” to real & genuine life-saving medical equipment.

But my love for Mr. Spock & Star Trek … for the ideals of a 1960s television show … did change my life. In 1983 I joined an international Star Trek organization that has lived long (40 years) & continues to prosper, currently boasting an international membership of 4600 members. I started a local chapter of the parent organization & 31 years later the adventure of THAT organization continues. We have a membership of 48 people, most of whom have been Star Trek fans for the greater duration of their lives & a few who don’t know didly about Star Trek or science fiction but enjoy being a part of the charity work we do within our community.

In the beginning we simply enjoyed the fact that we could share our enthusiasm for a TV show & its characters with others, through its many mutations. Later we also became a group that sponsors 10 charities & sends a local student to Space Camp annually. We have morphed into a credible helping presence in our community & I believe that is because we are different is some way.

After all these years we still embrace the helping, peaceful attitude we found so prevalent in the bridge crew of the starship Enterprise. Our members are of all ethnicities & our ages range from 10 to 87; each of us appreciated for our diversity & individual gifts. We learned that lesson from Star Trek & we remain hopeful that eventually the world … & perhaps the universe will open collective eyes & learn to coexist in the same way.

I never intended to do more than run our local chapter / club but eventually I became Regional Coordinator for Starfleet’s largest region consisting of 8 states & 68 chapters. I held that position for ten & a half years & I loved it. Through that experience I learned organizational skills, communication skills, problem solving skills & people skills. I found out how much I REALLY loved people.

The regional position & the skills I learned there eventually became responsible for my being able to enter into a second career as a television talk show host after taking an early retirement from nursing. I certainly don’t mean to sound like a stuck record (does anyone remember what a record was?) but my love for Star Trek & Mr. Spock are directly responsible for all that & for a second career that I’ve enjoyed every minute of. For that I will be forever grateful.

In the late 1980s I became Vice President of a science fiction organization in Roanoke, VA & not only had the opportunity to meet all of the original Star Trek cast, with the exception of William Shatner, but many of the supporting cast as well & acted as weekend host for a number of them. The greatest joy was actually meeting Leonard Nimoy. I’ve seen him 3 times & actually met him on two of those occasions, which ranks very high on my list of wonderful things that are part of my life … right up there with marrying my husband whom I met at a Star Trek meeting.

My mom had suffered through many years with my love of Star Trek & well understood the undying love I felt for Mr. Spock. In 1987 I took her with me to Washington, DC to see Leonard Nimoy give a presentation there. The house lights dimmed, a man came on stage & introduced Mr. Nimoy & momentarily the theater went totally quiet with anticipation. My mom chose that moment to grab my arm & say in a loud voice, I feel like I’m about to see God …”

On the morning of February 27 we learned of Leonard Nimoy’s passing. That afternoon my husband, Willy & I were at the Mysticon Science Fiction Convention in Roanoke. The mood of the sold out crowd of convention attendees was sad but not morose.

Having done a TV show on location at the convention the past four years I had worked closely with the convention promoters. One of them called our room & told me Channel 7 News was there wanting to interview someone about the death of Leonard Nimoy & asked if I would do it … & of course I did.

The interview lasted about 10 minutes & the spot aired on the News at 11 p.m. The part of the clip they aired was me answering the question the news person asked about the general feeling at the convention about Leonard Nimoy’s passing. I responded,  “I think those of us who are science fiction fans & members of science fiction clubs feel his passing more deeply because, to us, he was family.”  And he was ……..

I was very pleased & honored to speak on behalf of the convention to the Channel 7 News.

While there was a lot of discussion at Mysticon about the loss of Mr. Nimoy / Mr. Spock & a lot of profound statements were made, the general feeling among the many people I spoke with was that Leonard Nimoy had a full & wonderful career. He was able to enjoy the many avenues of that career because of his unique & diverse talent. He was loved by an unbelievable number of people. His body of work was a positive example to young people making career choices. He lived well, long & prosperously in the truest sense.

While everyone was in agreement that his loss was difficult for those of us who truly felt he was “family,” talking to each other about him & our love for him was a celebration of a joyous life well lived.

As with all science fiction conventions, Willy & I ran into so many people we’ve known for many, many years. We shared two meals with Tom & Michael. Our discussions began with the passing of Mr. Nimoy but continued to include laughter-filled remembrances of our years of friendship, the goofy things we’ve done throughout those years & circled back to the discussion of where we were at this particular moment in time … still friends & still sharing parts of our lives.

In my mind’s eye … that place where good memories nudge out the bad, where laughter permeates all the memories & where we are unchanged by the passage of time … I still think of Tom & Michael as the young men they are in my memory. So I was surprised to suddenly notice that Michael’s hair & beard were filled with gray & Tom often bowed to his serious side. I realized, in those moments of sharing our memories of the past 30 years, we all were suddenly aware that we’re not kids anymore ……..

Tom said, “In April I will have been in the Starfleet organization for 30 years. That’s 2/3 of my life & I’m not sure what to make of that …….”

Considering the life of Mr. Nimoy & the impact his portrayal of the Vulcan alien, Mr. Spock has had on me most of my life, I believe if we reach the end of our lives & can reflect back about our accomplishments, how we have positively touched so many & have been loved by countless numbers of people, we will make our own transition into the Undiscovered Country with hearts full to bursting.

I was fortunate to have met Mr. Nimoy three times. They were three of the most special moments of my life.

Leonard Nimoy, to all of my friends, anyway, was bigger than life. Following his passing we are reminded of a line from Star Trek II:He isn’t dead as long as we remember him ………………”

 The Mr. Spock character, however, will live on forever. Because I loved him, there is great comfort in that.

Nimoy Spock






4 Responses to “Spock is Gone (and we’re not kids anymore)”

  1. writersbridgebridgebuilder March 7, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

    Hi, Linda:

    Beautiful. Would you post it to the Writers’ Bridge Facebook page, or would you mind if I did?



    Date: Sat, 7 Mar 2015 20:21:34 +0000 To: writersbridge@hotmail.com


  2. heimdalco March 7, 2015 at 11:09 pm #

    Yes, please, Darrell … I would be honored. THANK YOU … Not sure how to post it to the Writer’s Bridge page so if you will do it that would be great. I’ll give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then please do post it …
    Thank you again …


  3. dzncats@aol.com March 8, 2015 at 2:28 am #

    Beautifully said


  4. heimdalco March 8, 2015 at 3:17 am #

    Thanks so much, Jeanne …


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