'Star Trek' props prove pivotal to geek gal's past

Crave writer Amanda Kooser excavates her "Star Trek" prop, toy, and memorabilia collection and muses on how a sci-fi television show kept a geeky kid on the right track.

Mego playset
This Mego Enterprise playset is from the 1970s. Amanda Kooser/CNET

It's Geek Pride Day. I'm celebrating by taking a look back through time at my collection of oddball "Star Trek" props and memorabilia excavated during a recent spring cleaning.

"Star Trek" was a bunch of television shows. It was a bunch of movies. It was also a lot more than that to me. I first became fascinated with "Star Trek" through watching reruns in the afternoons when I was in fourth grade.

At Quark's Bar
I hold my brother up with a phaser at Quark's Bar in Las Vegas over a drink called a "Warp Core Breach." Amanda Kooser/CNET

I was a shy, quiet child, but suddenly I wanted to become either an astronaut or an actor, whatever would get me closest to the Enterprise the fastest.

While divorced parental politics swirled around the family, I found comfort in trying to be as Vulcan and removed from all that emotion as possible. The "Star Trek" world of faraway planets and alien species was a much happier place to spend my mental time.

Over the years, I collected a few "Trek" items. I wore a movie-style "Star Trek" insignia on my jacket throughout middle school. I created a communicator out of Legos. I pored over the pages of the "Star Fleet Technical Manual" and pretended to be a Star Fleet cadet in training.

My best friend in middle school gave me a Mego Enterprise bridge playset found at a relative's house. (Thank you, Cybil!) I was never big on action figures, but this set from the mid-1970s is undeniably cool, even to this day.

More recently, I couldn't resist buying an old Vulcan IDIC pendant at a thrift store. A few years back, my band made our own Uhura costumes for Halloween. We sewed together more than a dozen tribbles to hand out to friends and strangers.

I no longer have all of the original "Star Trek" TV shows memorized. I don't wear my uniform insignia anymore. I even donated my plastic phaser prop to the local Goodwill.

There are a few things I can't quite let go of. I'm keeping the technical manual and the playset. I'm also keeping the love for a universe that helped an awkward kid make it through some awkward years. Thank you, Mr. Spock, you were a good role model.

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