Friday, February 27, 2015

What I remember may not be true

Leonard Nimoy was born the same year my father was born, but a couple of months sooner. Nineteen thirty-one. Neither of them made it to 84.

Maybe it's ridiculous for me to mourn someone I never knew in person, but it's more than the person I mourn; it's what he represents. 

Maybe it's ridiculous that I feel like part of my childhood died when what's really happened is that a memory hit me, fresh and bright, of a time in the mid- to late-1960s, my three siblings and I piled up on pillows or old sofas, I can't quite see, in the basement rec room at 2206 Forest Glen Road. We watched a black and white television at the end of the room, my view of it like looking down a tunnel because I was going myopic, squabbling, all of us; I whined, I'm sure because that's still one of my main character traits.

We were 6, 8, almost 14 and 15. Everything we saw on that tiny screen was magical, even the papier mâché boulders Captain Kirk could lift and throw, though maybe he never did that, maybe they just wobbled.

For me, from what I remember, Spock was like the straight, strong spine of the crew, never frantic or upset (unless he was rutting), rarely violent. His voice soothed, and I wanted his tilted, flying eyebrows, though not his ears.

I had a minor crush on him, so logical, though at 8, I probably didn't really understand logic. He seemed so sturdy, so at home wherever the Enterprise took him, and I suppose, though I'm probably making this up as I go, I wished I could be as at home wherever our Army life took us. Always part aliens, especially me.

I also had minor crushes on Sulu and Uhura (I thought she was so beautiful, and I wanted to kiss her when Kirk did).

Leonard Nimoy was more than Spock, of course; he was more than all the characters he played from Star Trek the show to all the films to Mission Impossible, Fringe. I didn't know until today that he wrote poetry, that he was a photographer. We are all more than one thing or another.

He leaves enough behind that it will be hard to forget him, unless I reach a point in my aging where I forget even myself. I'm grateful for the jolt of memory, for returning to the rec room, to my siblings all together in one place doing and loving something in common.

I imagine that room had an orange carpet, though I know the orange carpet came later, after we left Maryland and moved to El Paso. But it all blends together, the houses, the carpets, the television shows, my siblings, Spock.

there, there


  1. We grew up in a time when it was all so magical. RIP Mr. Spock.

  2. I remember my great grandmother's living room. Lying on the red-carpeted floor on my stomach, watching. And then my brother's room on the scratchy sofa he had in there and the tiny tv. It was a point of pride among my schoolmates if we could make the "live long and prosper" sign. You're right that all the memories blend together. xo