So Long, Mr. Spock
By Kathleen Craft Boehmig
Leonard Nimoy has died at age 83, and like many fans, I feel bereft. It’s ironic that the death of the man who portrayed the least emotional character in Star Trek has induced sadness to well up in so many of us. The loveliest tribute I’ve seen belongs to Nimoy’s peer and cohort on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, George Takei: “We now return you to the stars, Leonard.”
I never considered myself a real Trekkie, although I enjoyed the TV series and subsequent movies. My earliest memories of Nimoy are of spending an hour during Thursday-evening prime time in my parents’ study in front of our console color tv, the focal point of the room. Star Trek’s first episode aired on September 8th, 1966, when I was twelve. Back then all three major networks aired their new shows in September, during TV Week. There was a lot of hype leading up to Star Trek’s premiere, and my mom, dad and I all watched it together. Dad thought it was sort of silly, but we all enjoyed the humor, camaraderie and cheesy special effects--state-of-the-art back then. We especially liked Mr. Spock, the serious half-earthling, half-alien who struggled to stay unemotional, his Vulcan side striving for cold logic against his passionate human genes. I loved the diversity of the cast too: the cool, exotic Lt. Uhura, played by Nichelle Nichols; Dr. “Bones” McCoy, a.k.a. DeForest Kelley, with a quick temper but fierce loyalty; George Takei as Sulu, James Doohan as Scotty, and William Shatner as James Tiberius Kirk, the confident captain and ladies’ man who led them all across the galaxies.
Since Nimoy’s death, I’ve read that Spock served as the ship’s conscience, and that seems apt. I already knew the story about Nimoy coming up with the Vulcan greeting, based on an ancient Jewish gesture. What I didn’t know was that Nimoy was a seemingly indefatigable poet, singer, author, screenwriter and director in addition to his acting career; that he re-embraced his Jewish heritage later in life; and that he was just a really nice guy.
A friend of mine in high school told me Nimoy used to help out carpooling kids to school with his own, even after Star Trek’s success. I found that hard to believe, but the more I learn about the man, the more I see that it would be just like him. There are reams of complimentary articles about him and YouTube videos of him being interviewed. He seemed like someone who had his head on straight and didn’t let success inflate his ego.
I imagine that for Nimoy and the rest of the cast, coming together on the set of Star Trek was more than a career-changer. It was most likely the time of their lives, and for the rest of us it was a serendipitous version of classic, legendary storytelling which changed our culture and brought many of us together, to vicariously explore “space: the final frontier.”
So, Mr. Nimoy, thank you for taking on the role of Mr. Spock with the pointy ears, the quirky slanted eyebrows, the deadpan expressions that delivered countless truths and gave us decades of entertainment. George Takei is right: you have surmounted mortality and are now cast among the stars, deservedly. May you live long and prosper.
Bio: Kathleen Craft Boehmig
I’m an Atlanta native married to another one, and am the mother of a brilliant, kind, funny guy (like his dad) who’s a college freshman. A small green parrot and a crazy dog are my owners. I love the ocean, the mountains, Long Island Iced Tea, reading, Andy Griffith reruns and Jeopardy, horses, birds, and biking our greenway. I will never be completely organized. Massages and pedicures make me want to be a better person.
I love art: painting, sculpture, assemblage, mosaics, jewelry. Some of my art can be seen on my facebook page, Sparrow’s Song Art.
I also love writing, and have served as a board member of the Atlanta Writers Club, have appeared on the Writers Radio Show, and taught at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference. I have also taught memoir at Spruill Center for the Arts, and was a feature contributor in North Fulton Magazine. My pieces have appeared in O, Georgia!, Chicken Soup for the Grandma’s Soul, Sacred Stones, Lessons Learned, and North Point of View.
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