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In Memory of Victoria Clark, long time friend, K/S fan, editor of Nome


This photo of Vicki used courtesy of Mary V.

In Memory of Victoria Clark, long time friend, K/S fan, editor of Nome

I learned last year my good friend Vicki Clark passed away. I’ve tried many times to write this tribute to her; it’s taken me quite some time to be able to put words to keyboard.

Vicki was well known in K/S fandom for many years as the co-editor of the fanzine “Nome” and for her active involvement in NYC area Trek fandom from the 70s to the 90s.

Vicki and her co-editor did an amazing job with “Nome”. It was a pioneering zine – excellent writing, breathtaking art, and the highest production standards.

http://fanlore.org/wiki/Nome_(Star_Trek:_TOS_zine_published_in_the_US)

I met Vicki in 1979. I’d been in fandom for four years by then; I’d been to conventions; I’d published fanzines. But in many ways I was a complete neo.



One of the things I most wanted to do was to meet and get to know some of the East Coast fans who I had been corresponding with. That involved going to east coast Star Trek conventions – starting with a big one in NYC (one of the Townsley conventions, if anyone remembers those).

I grew up in a town with three stoplights and no building taller than two stories. The idea of going to *Manhattan* by *myself* was incredibly intimidating. But Vicki made everything so easy – she arranged for two roommates for me to stay with at the hotel, both of whom I’m still in contact with. She introduced me around, she invited me to her room parties. She, and her co-editor, published my first K/S story and some of my other writings.

She made me feel welcome to fandom in every way.

Our friendship would last for the next 30 years, and like so many of the best of friendships that begin in fandom, it quickly transcended fandom.

I saw her almost every year in the 80s, first at the NYC area conventions, and then at Shore Leave, a still-going convention in Baltimore, MD, where K/S fans have been gathering since its very first year. Vicki always threw wonderful fan parties at Shore Leave; I have such great memories of those days.

She stopped being actively involved in Trek fandom in the early 90s, but our friendship just kept right on going. I had business most summers in New York, and I would always take extra days to visit her at her beautiful home in the Hudson Valley north of Manhattan. Those visits still hold wonderful memories for me. I can vividly picture her in her kitchen right now. She was an amazing cook. After dinner, the two of us would sit across from each other at her small kitchen table, staying up half the night, talking about everything that came to mind.

Memories: She dearly loved her cats. I can remember four, though she didn’t have them all at the same time – Pumpkin, Pyewacket, Devin and Vincent. Three orange boys and one tortie girl.

We’d have breakfast out on her deck, because I always visited in the summer and so the weather was good. We travelled all around the Hudson River Valley and other parts of New York. I love history, so we visited Revolutionary War-era homes and sites, a “living history” village on Long Island, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s home at Hyde Park, and more. We’d have dinner at a variety of restaurants, including a Colonial era one near a waterfall.

One year we attended a special concert at Carnegie Hall. We decided to do the real tourist thing by taking one of those river cruises around Manhattan – fun! Then the concert, then late dinner and drinks. By that time it was really really late, and another friend, who had also gone to the concert, recommended we stay in her fifth floor walkup Manhattan apartment instead. Like most Manhattan apartments, it was tiny – basically one room. But between the couch and cushions on the floor we managed to find enough room for five of us. Of course we spent most of the night talking…

She was passionate about animals and after retiring from teaching high school English, she spent time doing volunteer work with animals.

In my visit with her in 2006, aside from meeting her new, handsome, rambunctious Labradoodle puppy, I conducted an interview with her for Jenna Sinclair’s K/S Legacy project, which covers the history of K/S fandom through 2006. I’m going to post the entire interview to LJ after I post this here:

http://kirkspock.livejournal.com/1885725.html

It took us literally hours to do the interview as we kept going off on all sorts of tangents. We wandered “down memory lane” as one story would inspire another and yet another, most of which weren’t part of the interview – memories of mutual friends and convention happenings reminded us of all manner of stories.

My memory is failing me here. Because one visit – either 2005 or 2006 – came just before a routine medical test for Vicki which turned out to be the beginning of the end. All I remember is, I stayed one day less than I usually did, as she had a scheduled medical test on the following day. I remember we talked about what was involved in having the test/procedure done. She didn’t seem worried about it.

The test results were positive.

The last time I saw her was August 2007. I knew it was going to be “a” last time. One of our long-standing traditions was coming to an end, because she had retired and was moving to a different state.

I didn’t know it was going to be “the” last time.

That last time I visited with her stands out clearly in my memory. She was a bit fragile from the medical treatments she’d been undergoing, but she had good news: the treatments seemed to be working. I didn’t stay with her that year. She wasn’t feeling up to having company, so she met me where I was staying in Tarrytown.

We went out to a restaurant by the river and were seated on an outdoor patio. Good food, good wine, good conversation. We enjoyed the evening and had a leisurely meal, watching the sunset, listening to the sound of the river going by. She was in great spirits. She was looking forward to her upcoming move to New Mexico, a part of the US she loved, where she planned to live near some relatives.

I didn’t hear much from her over the next year until she got in touch with her new address and phone number. The move had gone well.

Spring of 2009 and our last phone call. We talked about her new neighborhood. We speculated about the upcoming Trek movie. She seemed happy in her new home. We talked about plans about me coming to visit her, or her coming to visit me. We didn’t have the entire continent dividing us anymore. We were both anticipating more frequent visits.

2009 was crazy busy. Because of all kinds of RL commitments, I kinda “disappeared from sight” for several months, only resurfacing around Christmas time.

I didn’t get a Christmas card from her that year. That had never happened, not once, but things do get lost in the mail.

I tried calling her early in 2010. Her phone was disconnected.

I was beginning to fear the worst. But my Christmas card to her had not been returned by the Post Office. So I wrote her another letter. And then another Christmas card.

I didn’t hear anything back. But my letters weren’t returned either.

I knew there could be all kinds of reasons for her silence. I kept holding on to that one thought: my letters weren’t being returned. Surely, if something had happened to her, her relatives would let me know. I was in touch with some of her friends, and they had not heard anything either, from either her or her relatives. I wrote again. Still nothing.

Then, a few months ago, one of my letters, postmarked May 2010, was returned with the word “deceased” stamped on it. None of the others ever showed up.

I tried being a detective. I called her local newspaper to see if they had an obituary. They didn’t. I tried calling Public Records, but New Mexico is a closed record state and you can’t get birth or death notices on anyone without legal reasons. I googled local mortuaries and searched their lists of funerals. Nothing, nothing, nothing. Finally I tried one of those genealogy sites – and had my answer.

Victoria Helen Clark
July 22, 1942 – September 29, 2009

I miss you, Vicki.

(With thanks to Mary V. and morgan who found more information on her passing.)

Comments

My deepest condolences. She sounds like a very special lady.
Thank you for your condolences. I have lots of good memories of her.
One of the things I found inspiring about ClosetCon last year was how many people who had met in fandom before I was even born were still friends. Inspiring, but not surprising--time keeps ticking away at speed and I've now known my first fandom friends for 15 years. A couple of them visit my parents without me, which is a far cry from the 'wait, you met them on the internet?' that it used to be.

A couple of years back, an old friend from Gundam Wing fandom died fairly rapidly from cancer, and one of her relatives sent us almost daily reports on how she was doing, until the end. I knew I appreciated it at the time, but even more when I hear stories like this, of people just wondering what happened, having that long lag time of being lost.

Anyway, that's a lot of rambling. I'm so sorry you lost your friend. I love the expression on her face in the picture. She sounds wonderful.
I loved the ClosetCon's I attended! Yes, so many people there have been friends for years, if not decades.

I've found that the friendships I've made in fandom are the best ones I've ever had. I find when I truly "hit it off" with another fan we bond on so many things at so many levels and we talk about so many things that reflect so many aspects of our personalities that friendships become incredibly close and lifelong.

I loved your comment about how your fandom friends now visit your parents without any of that "you met them on the internet???" baggage.

I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your friend in Gundam Wing fandom. It was so good of her relative to keep you updated on her condition.

To this day I cannot understand why Vicki's relatives would ignore the letters they received from me and others of her friends. They had to have received them. She'd moved to New Mexico to be close to them.

I have lots of great memories of Vicki and I'm reliving them now.
she sounds like an amazing person. I'm so sorry for your loss.

A Dear Friend

Writing about someone you cared about and that is no longer with you, must be very difficult. I can only imagine how that must feel. And besides that, not knowing what had happened to her at the time. But, you have managed to write such pleasant times between the both of you. Memories that you will never forget. Even if we have never met her, we do in a way through your words. It's truly amazing what this fandom has done. You may be strangers when you meet, but you leave with a feeling of friendship so profound. It is indescribable. I hope to one day have a friendship like this.

I grieve with thee... Denise
Thank you for the condolences. I should have answered earlier, but I felt emotionally drained by writing this piece; but I very much appreciate your writing to me. {{{hugs}}}
May her memory bring peace. I am so sorry.
Thank you for the condolences. I should have answered earlier, but I felt emotionally drained by writing this piece; but I very much appreciate your writing to me. {{{hugs}}}
I grieve with thee, my friend... have enjoyed every issue of Nome that came my way; there was always something good in there, plus lots of art.

hold the memories; may they lighten grief
Vicki and her co-editors did a wonderful job with NOME; an absolute classic; among the best fandom has to offer. Thank you for your thoughts. I'm sorry I didn't answer earlier; I didn't feel up to it for awhile.
This is such a lovely tribute to her. We all make friends in fandom, but once in a while we meet someone who we click with, who enhances our lives and who we can't imagine not ever being friends with. How lucky you were to have found such a friend. I'm so sorry to hear that she's gone now.
Thank you for your condolences. The friendships I've made through fandom are the best in my life, and Vicki was one of the best of these. I'll always miss her.
My very first slash fanzines - they cost more than I made in a week at the time... little treasures still.
Vicki and her co-editors did such a wonderful job with NOME - absolute classics!
I'm so sorry, Kathy, for the lost of your friend.

I would have to say that the Nome series is one proud accomplishment that will definitely be a memorial to such a talented life.
I never met Vicki in person, but I wrote a lot of poetry for Nome so I knew her as one of the finest editors out there. Our correspondence was all done by snailmail, or the rare phone call when she needed something special for the back page. She seemed like a wonderful person, so I'm not surprised to hear that she was just that. I'm sorry that you have lost your friend. My best friend Laura Scarsdale (co-editor of Delta Triad) passed from ovarian cancer in 2006, so I understand what you are going through. This was a lovely tribute. Thank you for sharing your memories.
I'm sorry I didn't answer earlier. Thank you for your condolences; it's good to hear from someone who knew her through the mail and phone calls, as so many of us did back in the day. I did correspond with Laura Scarsdale during the Delta Triad days and enjoyed our correspondence; I was so sorry to hear of her loss. {{{hugs}}} for the loss of your friend.
If you have any interest, Laura's page on Fanlore is just a stub - it would be wonderful to have some memories of her posted there.

http://fanlore.org/wiki/Laura_Scarsdale

Vicky

My memories of Vicky are fond. She was above all else, gracious, gentle, compassionate and intelligent. She had exquisite taste in decorating, and her home reflected this as well as her personality, warm and sophisticated. I love visiting her in her New York home.

She contributed a great deal to Trek fandom, applying her keen mind to the production of NOME, one of the best ever produced. Her standards were always very high, and the zine showed it.

Lovely lady, lovely friend, and much missed.

Edited at 2012-06-18 05:43 pm (UTC)

Re: Vicky

I enjoyed reading your memories of Vicky - thanks for sharing them. She did such a wonderful job with NOME, and yes, she had a gorgeous house! I can visualize every detail right now, from her kitchen and her deck, where we spent so many hours in conversation, to her dining room where she served such wonderful meals, to her living room, when other guests were there too, to her loft and conversations up there, and the staircase to go up there, to the guest bedroom where I spent so many nights. Every detail is like I was there yesterday.

{{{{hugs}}} and apologies for not responding earlier. I felt very drained after I initially wrote this; it was hard to compose my thoughts.
I replied to your post on my LJ about Ursula and I was stunned when you spoke of Vicki's death. Reading your tribute to her brought back a lot of memories of K/S fandom and all the wonderful friendships that developed for so many of us. I didn't know Vicki, but certainly knew of her and loved NOME, a beautiful zine series. Your memories show what a warm, kind and generous person Vicki was. So tragic that none of her friends were told of her passing. So very sad.
I'm so sorry about your loss. Thank you for sharing these wonderful memories with us; this post makes me wish I had met Vicki.
Thank you so much for your condolences. {{{hugs}}} Sorry I didn't write right away; I felt very drained at the time.

Vicky

Kathy, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. As I told you on the phone when we talked about this, I didn't know her very well but had some fun memories of her! All of us in my cramped apartment!

Re: Vicky

Hi and hugs! I have memories of "perfect days", where everything was fun and everyone had a good time, and that night in your cramped apartment was one of those. That was a wonderful day and night.

Memories of Vicki

My name is Terry Todzonia and I knew Vicki for many years. I stumbled across this notice and am so saddened to hear of her death.

We spent so many years together...over the phone, letters and conventions. We were sisters in slash and she was a good friend. Toni's death altered my life to the point of leaving fandom and all my friends behind, I simply couldn't stand to be near anyone who reminded me of her. I always thought that maybe I would find Vicki again although I knew she understood.

If there is anyone else out there who might have other memories to share or even some convention pictures then please share them. Other fans reading from back in the day???

Thanks for posting Mary. I'm at least glad to know what happened.

Terry

Re: Memories of Vicki

Hi Terry,

It’s good hearing from you – I’m so sorry you had to find out about Vicki’s passing this way. Thanks for sharing your memories of her; it's always good to talk with her friends.

Toni was a wonderful woman. I’m glad I had the chance to meet and talk with her several times – mostly at Shore Leave. We also exchanged snail mail. I was so saddened when she passed – what a terrible tragedy.

{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}

Have you seen Vicki’s Fanlore page? It would be a good place for you to share your memories of her.

http://fanlore.org/wiki/Vicky_Clark
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y645P4vSx9U&list=PLYTtL1FB2XCowDP4dIVhEFq5MrHrBvmeK&index=2

A video of Vicky cooking arborio rice at our house from the 1995 holiday season. She was the most magnificent cook and played the stove like an instrument.