It was September of 1966. I was in junior high school (what middle school was called back then) and I lived in a New York City housing project in the Bronx.
I was a young teenager who loved science fiction. Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Frederick Pohl were some of my favorite authors. I was also a huge fan of some of the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Our TV set was a black and white console. Our shows were broadcast over the air, and there were three major broadcast networks to choose from in my native New York City, along with several independent stations.
The school year had just started and, with it, a new TV season was about to start.
One of the new shows was a science fiction show called Star Trek. I watched it from the very first, and fell in love with it. So did, over the years, millions of other people.
Part of my childhood died yesterday with the death of actor Leonard Nimoy, who played a character, Mr Spock. Spock, a human looking man with pointed ears and strange eyebrows, had a human mother and an alien father, a native of the planet Vulcan.
Leonard Nimoy, and his fellow actors and actresses, made science fiction accessible to people who, otherwise, may never have been exposed to it. The original Star Trek series only lasted three years. But what a three years it was.
I made a friend, someone who recently moved into my apartment building. She loved Star Trek. And, her family had a color television.
Starting with the second season, I sometimes went to her apartment on the 13th floor of our building to watch the show. That friendship lasted through high school, even though we ended up going to different schools.
The stories of Star Trek captivated me and fired my imagination. So did the character of Mr. Spock.
To many people, Leonard Nimoy was the face of Star Trek.
He was the accessible alien - and we could all identify with his struggles to keep his human emotional nature in check. Vulcans believed in logic but there was that pesky humanity of his. It showed up at the most inconvenient of times. We loved him for it.
We loved the alien side of him, too - his Vulcan nerve pinches and mind melds that would save the day in a hopeless situation.
Yesterday, I went to lunch, turned on my phone, and immediately found out Leonard Nimoy had died, at the age of 83. The tributes were already pouring in, from actors and actresses, from fans,
from scientists, and even from the President of the United States.
I watched on Facebook as tributes scrolled by. It seemed like everyone on Facebook was saddened.
Before long, a hashtag #LLAP was trending. Facebook friends were posting "Live Long and Prosper", which is a Vulcan blessing.
The response is "Peace. And long life."
Leonard Nimoy, the actor, always had mixed feelings about the Mr. Spock role, but he always loved his fans. And his fans loved him.
Leonard Nimoy gave us hope about the future, a future where Earth was united, and interacted with other species under the umbrella of a utopian type United Federation of Planets.
Maybe one day, it will come true.
He lived long. He prospered And we will all miss him, here in the world that Star Trek made possible.
I wish each and every one of my blog readers a long, prosperous life. May you live long and prosper!