Shirley Maiewski: A Tribute
A tribute page for Shirley Maiewski, long time head of STAR TREK WELCOMMITTEE who passed away in April, 2004. Pictured: Shirley (standing) and Judy Segal, in 2002.
Part of A Companion in Zeor
Remembrances, for inclusion, can be e-mailed to Karen MacLEOD
Additional posted tributes are linked through a table at the bottom of this page.
Before STAR TREK LIVES! was published, I (Jacqueline Lichtenberg) -- ran the Star Trek Welcommittee as a one-gal operation with some help from a few very ultra-busy fen. But I knew that with publication it would take a crew of dozens to answer the mail that would come pouring in.
At a con, I met Shirley who innocently asked if there was anything she could do to help. I dumped the whole mail-answering nightmare into her lap and she and Judy Segal and then dozens of others waded in and did it.
As the mail built with each succeeding printing of the book, and with the address being published in newspapers (there was no online distribution worth counting at that time) and magazines and through fandom, Shirley built a true organization that renewed itself with new people all the time.
We disbanded Star Trek Welcommittee a few years ago because it was no longer needed. Fans can google for what they want in fanfic, join lists, meet people, find conventions and contribute their own art and writing, all without spending anything on paper, postage or typewriter ribbons.
Shirley and the whole Welcommittee crew reached out and changed the lives of tens of thousands over the years. I don't know what the final mailcount was. I'm not even sure they kept a running total beyond some huge figure I once saw. But even people who never wrote to Shirley's mailing address were affected as word-of-mouth spread Welcommittee's information about fandom.
Always remember, I stole the word "Welcommittee" from the National Fantasy Fan Federation Welcommittee, (a group that provided me entre into fandom when I was in 7th grade and had my very first writing published in a national magazine.(see the IF-STAR TREK CONNECTION).
Jacqueline has written the A&E network to propose Shirley as a candidate for A&E's show BIOGRAPHY. Jacqueline's letter is linked here.
HOW I REMEMBER GRAMMA TREK
by Joel Davis
Author of: "With Alex by My Side"
I can still vividly remember the first time I met a wonderful lady who was to change my life forever. Her name was Shirley Maiewski. We met at a meeting of the Boston Star Trek Association (BSTA) (where else?), and Shirley had brought with her a pile of first run copies of Alternate Universe 4, the fanzine she co-wrote with Anna Mary Hall, Virginia Tilley, and the late Daphne Hamilton.
God, I was naïve in those days. I quickly purchased a copy from Shirley and knowing that most fanzines came out on a semi-regular basis, I asked her, "When is the next issue due out?"
When the laughter rolled around me, I felt about two feet tall. And it was then that I learned that some zines were known as one-shots. Maybe, sometime in the indefinite future, there would be a second volume, but for now, this was it.
And this was my beginning of a thirty year and more long friendship with the woman known to all as Gramma Trek.
As the years passed, Shirley and I became closer and closer in our friendship. I visited her at her farmhouse in Hatfield, Massachusetts, several times. In fact, on one of those visits, it was there that I learned to love asparagus, which before I would never touch, no matter how hard my own mother would try to get me to eat them. Yet somehow in Gramma Trek's house, surrounded by family and other fans, they seemed a delicacy.
My memories of conventions jumble together with seeing Shirley. In fact, I can't separate one from the other. Sometimes we'd travel together, other times, we would meet there. She would introduce me to people like Jimmy Doohan and George Takei. Shirley was my doorway into the elite of fandom.
And the parties we had together. One that sticks out in my mind was when a bunch of us got a small puppy and presented it to Majel Roddenberry. Majel was in the room with us, along with Robert Lansing, who was a guest star on an episode of Star Trek. Majel decided to be playful with her husband, and called Gene on the house phone and said, "Gene, I'm sitting on the bed here with Bob -- ."
That was as far as she got. But we realized we were running low on refreshments for our guests. I was chosen to go and get some from another room. I ran as fast as I could for the elevator, and just as it opened, out walked Gene Roddenberry. I almost knocked the poor man down, as he was walking with a cane during that convention.
I pointed in the direction of the party room, yelled, "Gene, your wife is in there," and scrambled for the elevator before it could close. Only afterwards did I feel like a fool.
Gene, we later found out, never let Majel keep the puppy, as they already had too many dogs. A nice try on our part, but a failed try.
When the party broke up, Gene kissed the young lady who organized the party, and Majel, for some reason, kissed me.
And all during this, Gramma Trek sat on the bed watching, and beaming as friends of hers collected their just rewards, in her eyes.
Over the past few years, Shirley and I fell into a regular pattern. Every Tuesday and Friday morning I would call her, catch up on the latest news with each other, see how we were doing, etc.
For some time now, Shirley had had a heart condition. If she had been maybe ten years younger, she might have been able to survive a bypass operation. But it was deemed too risky by her doctors. So they put her on medication and hoped that would do the trick.
I was due to call her on Tuesday, April 12th of this year. But when I dialed that oh-so-familiar number, it wasn't Shirley's melodious voice I heard. Rather it was her daughter, Carole who answered.
Something told me that something was wrong. "Carole, what is it?"
"We lost grandma late last night."
I cried all that day. Never again would I speak with my dearest friend. I would never again see her in person. Even as I write these words, the tears are starting again. I immediately spread the word across the country as fast as I possibly could. Howard Weinstein, D.C. Fontana, Joan Verba, Anna Mary Hall, Mary Manchester, and we all spread the word as far and as fast as we could. It had finally happened. Shirley was no longer with us.
If there is a good thing in all this, it is that now she is reunited with her beloved Philip who passed away a bit over a year ago. And now they are together again for eternity.
And the best we can hope for is that someday, somehow, when our own time comes, we will see Shirley again, be able to hug and kiss her and remind her just how much we love her.
But maybe she already knows.
AN ADDENDUM TO HOW I REMEMBER GRAMMA TREK
by Joel Davis
One of the things I neglected to mention in my previous remembrance of Shirley was that she was a die-hard baseball fan. And, of course, living in Massachusetts, there could be but only a single team Shirley would root for.
The Boston Red Sox.
Just today, (April 16) the day of this wonderful lady's funeral, there was something noted on America On Line, my internet server. The rivalry that was eternal between the Red Sox and the New York Yankees was heating up again.
Amazingly, in their first game, the Red Sox beat the Yankees 6-2. I can just picture Shirley sitting up in heaven kvelling, a Yiddish word which means to 'glow like the sun is in your tummy.' That is how she must have felt when her beloved Red Sox trounced the Yankees good in their first game.
When we talked about television shows, Shirley told me she had taken to watching NASCAR racing, and even that reality based series, "Survivor." When I said to her, "Shirley, what are you doing to yourself? Look at the junk you're watching!"
Her only response was, quite simply, "Joel, there is nothing else on."
And you know something? Gramma Trek was right again.