A Mother’s Day story about my Mom and Star Trek

by Brandon

Since it’s Mother’s Day, I figure this is a good day to tell a story about my own mom and how she showed me that sci-fi is more than lightsabers and Jedi.

By the time I was a teenager in the 80′s, I was of course a complete zealot for Star Wars. As a kid, I’d owned all the toys, I’d seen all the movies dozens of times, and I knew most of the dialogue by heart. As a teenager, my obsession hadn’t really died down much. Star Wars was still the ultimate sci-fi experience for me.

My mom was also a Star Wars fan, but not like me. To her, they were just good movies.

Well, one day we were at a video store looking for a movie to rent (ah, the days of renting VHS tapes) and we saw a rack full of Star Trek. Not the movies, mind you. This was a rack full of every episode of the original series.

On VHS.

Keep in mind, this was pre-internet. It was pre-DVD. In those days, finding an entire TV series on VHS was a major discovery.

“Okay,” my mom said. “You’re about to experience my Star Wars.”

We rented the first two episodes that night. From there, it became a daily routine. We rented two episodes a day until we’d watched the entire series.

Of course, at first I mocked them for the over-acting and bad special effects.

As the series wore on, though, I found myself completely sucked into that reality. The relationship between Kirk, Spock, and McCoy became a fascinating study of friendship. The episode with the “Doomsday Machine” showed me Star Wars didn’t exactly invent the idea of a planet destroying ship. The episode “Balance of Terror” felt incredibly current considering the fact that it was now the 80′s, which meant the world was witnessing the end of the Cold War. And the episode called “The City on the Edge of Forever” just blew my mind. Star Wars was great, but I had to admit, Luke never had to make decisions like the decision Kirk made in that episode.

By the time we finished the last episode, I was Trekkie. While I was still fundamentally a Star Wars guy, I finally got it. I understood why my mom was so devoted to that little show. Sure, it was silly and over-the-top cheesy sometimes, but it had heart and a subtlety you rarely see in modern television.

The week my mom and I watched Star Trek is one of my most cherished memories (technically, it was more than a week; I’m just referring to the week we started watching). Without a doubt, it’s one of the reasons I love sci-fi today and it’s quite probably one of the reasons I’m a writer. It was also the week I realized my mother was more than a mother… I saw her as a person.

Actually, not just a person. I saw her as a damn cool person.

And to this day, she’s still pretty dang cool.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Thanks for raising me to feel proud of the person I am. Thanks for teaching me what it means to be a good person. Thanks for making that awesome Superman costume when I was 5. Thanks for letting me rip one sleeve off my dress shirt so I could look like Indiana Jones. Thanks for that incredible Spider-man costume. And the Han Solo costume. And the skeleton costume. Thanks for spending hours decorating for Halloween every year. Thanks for showing me that there is, in fact, magic in the world.

And, of course, thanks for introducing me to Star Trek.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John May 13, 2013 at 1:53 AM

Right there with ya. Though, my mum didn’t introduce me to Star Trek, I kinda found it on my own, but when I did finally get around to watching the entire original series a couple years ago, it was far far better than I had anticipated. I grew up watching TNG and I loved it (and to this day Picard IS the best captain), and of course, I liked the films I’d seen. First Contact was absolutely fickin’ awesome, then I saw a couple of TOS films and liked them, so time came when I wanted to own all the films, but with me being a completist, I knew that if I had all the films, I’d need to get all of TNG as well, and then to better understand the other films, I’d need the original series, and then I’d need to get DS9, Voyager, and Enterprise, and what the heck, the Animated Series as well. I’m still got to get one more season of Voyager and two of Enterprise, and my collection is complete.

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