I fell in love with Gates McFadden when I was 15. It was 1996 when I started to watch Star Trek: The next generation. The series had been cancelled in the USA already but we – far off in Germany – had not seen the last episode so far and everything from season 5 on seemed new and exciting. No internet was to be found back then, which made spoilers impossible. I tried to avoid to read the TNG articles in TV magazines and so every new episode was indeed new and exciting to me. Almost immediately when I had started to watch TNG I felt that Beverly Crusher was not only my favourite character but that I really adored Gates McFadden. She looked fantastic, I loved her gesture and the way she talked – although I was tortured with the synch some years before I could watch the series with the original audio and got the original voices. I became a Trekkie. Because of her and because of Patrick Stewart who to me is still one of the best actors. I started to buy posters, I joined a Star Trek Movie night in a huge cinema and we watched all the eight movies (that had been out) in a rowin one night. I found new (Trekkie) friends, went to a „Trekdinner“ (which is still going strong btw!) and thought about going to convention for the very first time.
The Fed Con in Bonn, Germany, April 199, was supposed to be my first one. The only reason for me to join this convention? Yes, right, Gates McFadden was announced to be there as well. This would be my chance to finally meet her and – in case I’d overcome my excitement – to tell her how much I liked her in her role. In the meantime I had started to watch her in „Marker“. Unfortunately the German broadcaster VOX decided to not show all episodes which is why I never got to know how this series ended. I, however, was so happy to be part of this Fed Con. In 1998 I already had internet but the main information I got came from my Star Trek fan club. Only some days before our departure to Bonn we got to know that Gates McFadden wouldn’t come, she had cancelled her participation. I didn’t know what to do, I was about to cancel my participation as well, but I didn’t want to disappoint my friend who would have not been allowed to go without me – we were only 17 years old back then. I went and liked it, but I was really disappointed that my favourite star didn’t make it. Though, I really liked what I heard from Kate Mulgrew, I enjoyed Tim Russ‘ panel and had a crush on very good-looking Robert Beltran.
I forgot about Gates not being there – but only for some time. Unfortunately, I experienced some bad times at school, got worse and had to read and learn a lot. Then, only some months later a friend told me that Gates McFadden had been announced as one of the guests at the next Fed Con. My only reaction was a bit childish when I said: „Well, yes, and then she cancels again some days before.“ The weekend in Bonn had cost me a fortune (as I was still a student with only some pocket money. I refused to book another hotel, to buy the tickets and go there. Now – looking back to that year 15 years later – I can only says that this maybe was the wrongest decision I ever made in my Trekkie life. She came and I had not been there.
I forgot about Star Trek afterwards, fell in love with a guy and started my time at the college. I found another old love again, the love for a Swedish band called Roxette and started to follow them, him and her everywhere. I spent a lot of money on concert tickets, hotels, travels and whatever you can think of. I didn’t know that Gates McFadden attended another FedCon in 2006. Then, when I moved in 2012, I found a lot of old posters, files, articles and other Star Trek stuff that I wanted to be in good hands. I visited the Trekdinner once more and met some old friends which welcomed me so warm that it actually hurt. I gave them my stuff and was happy – until one of them told me that Gates McFadden would be at the FedCon 2012 in Düsseldorf. It was only some weeks until the actual date. I immediately checked my filofax and saw that my boss planned to see me at work that weekend. I checked the work plan when I got back to the office – no chance to swap my shift. Damnit! Another time – the third time – I wouldn’t have the chance to see a huge idol of my younger years. I think I kept my head shaking some weeks, I couldn’t believe that it mabye simply wasn’t meant to be. I knew that she wouldn’t come back too soon.
But then, in 2013, I surfed around the net and saw that some convention was to come in February 2014- in Frankfurt, actually really right next to the town I am living. I got excited. This was it! Now or never. Guess what – I checked the date and: No time, no space. On that particular weekend I had planned a short trip to Sweden to see Marie Fredriksson on stage (her first solo tour after her brain tumour and her first solo tour in 14 years!). No way I could cancel it. I realized that I would be back on Frankfurt airport on Sunday evening. I tried to find out how long the convention was planned to last and thought that maybe, just in case, with a lot of luck, I just could meet her at the airport. When I landed on Sunday evening I kept my eyes open for her, but my plan failed, of course. This was actually the fourth time I had not met Gates McFadden. Fortunately, she is very active on Twitter and I love to follow her there, even though, she really thinks we Germans are not the funniest folks out there. Is that true, I keep wondering. However, this sad story about how I did not meet Gates McFadden is at least kind of tragicomic, right? I however still adore her!