I grew up watching Star Trek with my grandmother. Everyone called Grandma “Sugar” because she was so sweet toward everyone in her life. I used to spend entire weekends marathoning Star Trek episodes with her when I would visit while growing up. She passed away eight years ago on Mother’s day weekend, and I miss her.
Voyager was our favorite, but we watched them all! My cousin had gradually gifted her all the series on DVD in prior years, which was a delight. I would curl up behind the crook of her knees on the couch as a child while we watched.
I remember zooming around the house pretending each room was a different planet I was visiting on away missions in the Delta Flyer, then I would come back to her in her TV room and give her a report on my discoveries. Often first contact was made with a new species and it always went well, of course. The civilization who ate nothing but ice cream was a clear favorite, and the one full of people who all had cute, alien pet hamsters was a close runner up, if I recall.
When I was older I would affectionately teach Grandma how to operate her DVD player for the umpteenth time while we decided which episodes to watch. We would discuss the moral-ethical quandaries and the social commentary that Star Trek broached. I learned to logically intellectualize. We talked about the characters and the novels and how cute Tom and B’elanna were. Grandma was particularly fond of any episode featuring Q. He was a riot!
I was rewatching some Voyager recently and the theme music nearly brought me to tears with a wave of nostalgia. It sent me right back to those days fangirling over Captain Janeway with my grandmother. Janeway was a strong female leader and role model, which was uncommon in sci fi at the time. We appreciated that about Voyager in particular.
At her funeral I spoke about my grandmother’s many amazing traits, how generous she was, how much she loved children among many other things, as well as our love of Star Trek. I sent her off with “live long and prosper up there” and the appropriate hand sign. I know it sounds corny, but everyone in the family knew she was a passionate Trekkie and there were some understanding chuckles from the many in attendance.
Grandma made a deep impression on young me that lingers to this day. She taught me to love sci fi. She helped me learn to imagine and dream. By asking me what I thought, rather than telling me what to think, she instilled in me a preference for open minded, kind hearted discussion of morals and ethics. Also coffee. Coffee, black.