Sunday, December 8, 2013

Jimmy Doohan & the Engineer

I had the pleasure of meeting Jimmy Doohan several times – a few times at conventions back in the day when I attended such things plus once for breakfast with a couple other people involved with Star Trek TOS.  He was a nice man, and I wish I had used my time more wisely in our meetings and had more memories.  I also had an acquaintance who used to housesit for Jimmy and Wende and my other memory of the Doohans is of going to water house plants and take care of the house – and they had one of those upside-down boot racks that stretched out your spine while it held you securely upside down, and we took turns using it at his house.  Not all my memories of Star Trek are inspiring or meaningful.  This one is a weird memory.   J  

This story, however, is fairly fabulous.  As Jimmy tells the story:

"I got a fan letter from a young lady. It was a suicide note.
So I called her, and I said, "Hey, this is Jimmy Doohan. Scotty, from Star Trek." I said,"I’m doing a convention in Indianapolis. I wanna see you there."
I saw her — boy, I’m telling you, I couldn’t believe what I saw. It was definitely suicide.Somebody had to help her, somehow. And obviously she wasn’t going to the right people.

I said to her, "I’m doing a convention two weeks from now in St. Louis." And two weeks from then, in somewhere else, you know? She also came to New York - she was able to afford to got to these places. That went on for two or three years, maybe eighteen times. And all I did was talk positive things to her.
And then all of the sudden — nothing. I didn’t hear anything. I had no idea what had happened to her because I never really saved her address.
Eight years later, I get a letter saying, "I do want to thank you so much for what you did for me, because I just got my Master’s degree in electronic engineering.”
That’s…to me, the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

Well done, Mr. Doohan, well done.