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The Doctor is In – Meeting Gates McFadden

At Destination Star Trek in October, I perhaps had one of the best experiences in my life.  I finally met Gates McFadden, the actress behind Doctor Beverly Crusher, and a woman I’ve admired for years.  Trying to put my experience into words is hard because there are so many emotions attached to this moment, but let’s go back a few months…

It was around January 2018 and Destination Star Trek announced that Gates would be one of the guests.  I burst into tears when I read the news, booked a hotel, and booked tickets.  Then, the loooong countdown began.  Somewhere in the middle, I started up the Twitter account @gates_daily, originally to mark the time while Gates was taking a brief hiatus from Twitter, and then it took off with a mind of its own and Gates herself has retweeted some of the pics I’ve managed to find.

So, armed with running a page basically dedicated to her, and our interactions on Twitter…I was nervous to meet her.  I also knew we wouldn’t have a lot of time to talk initially because DST would probably be rammed and the “gatekeepers” wouldn’t let you through the line unless you paid for an autograph.  So  I wrote her a letter telling her how much she meant to me and a little about myself and put together a small package – some vegan snacks and a pair of cat slippers (because I mean, cats!)  When I handed it over to her I was shaking and the first time I met her I went to introduce myself and she said “I know who you are!”  I about died.   She was signing my (first) item, a trading card of Beverly Crusher as drawn by Lee Sargent,  and the person behind was trying to push in.  Gates turned to her helper and told her she needed to keep the next person from crowding as I was special. (!!!)  She then saw MiniBev and MiniPicard stuck in my cleavage and laughed because as she says,“Picard is a breast man” and she saw the lamp (Ronin) and thought it was hilarious.    She also told me how much she loves and appreciates her dedicated Twitter crew.

On Friday, I also did my picture with her and she made sure the photographer got the lamp in the pic. (haha!)    She told us she was funnier at 4AM, but she was still in good spirits.

Tim and I spotted a print of the TNG cast as cats playing poker out of the TNG Cats book and I decided to be really silly and I had Gates sign the poster for Hexe & Merddin.  She thought it was a brilliant idea and then had Tim get her a poster, too. (funny side story – she handed Tim an old fiver and Tim had to tell the poster guy it was for Gates for him to take the old note).  So she had me stand to the side while we waited for Tim to come back and we chatted some more about things I can’t really remember.

Saturday, we didn’t have a lot of time to talk as it was the busiest day of the con and I spent about an hour trying to get our photoshoot with more than three people approved.  I tried to get through to Gates, but couldn’t without paying so finally got it approved by the photographer if we were the last pic of her session.

We walked in and Gates saw us, looked at me, and and just mouths “Oh my God”   followed by “I don’t know them!”  I think we amused her and we explained we should have been more people, but some people backed out.   She might have wanted to talk to us more, but she was called away to do some other photos.  When she signed my pic later, there was more giggling.

Sunday was quiet when we got in and I asked if I could go and talk to Gates and was told it was fine since there wasn’t a crowd.  Nick had asked me to pass on a message and I just wanted to thank her again for the day before.  Gates read my note, too and told me she loved the card and it was “so you” (it had a ginger cat wearing glasses on it and was glittery) and we talked about my letter a bit and she told me how strong I was to have gone through everything I had been though and she was glad to have been a part of my support network even if she didn’t know it. She sympathised with me over a few personal things I told her and she even made a comment about how much in love Tim and I looked.  I passed on Nick’s message, and she gave me a hug.

Then, it was on to the TNG panel and somehow her eyes tended to go in my direction where I was snapping pics at a furious rate to try to get some good shots for @gates_daily.

I didn’t get to talk to her again. I was going to go up to her table  to say goodbye, but I decided I didn’t want to become a nuisance.

And I’m still on cloud nine three months later.

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