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Sunday, January 3, 2010

A Blog for "Ten"

Doctor Who- "Forest Of The Dead", 2008

The Doctor: "You can let me do this."
River Song: "If you die here, it will mean I never met you."
The Doctor: "Time can be re-written!"

River Song: "Not these times. Not one line, don't you dare! It's okay. It's okay. It's not over for you. You'll see me again. You've got all of that to come. You and me, time and space; you watch us run."

The Doctor: "River, you know my name. You whispered my name in my ear. There is only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. There is only one time I could."

River Song: "Hush. Shh... now, spoilers."

That was the scene that brought me back to Doctor Who in the summer of 2008.

I watched Doctor Who a lot as a youngster. I watched every episode of the Tom Baker and Peter Davidson years on my local PBS station. Time passed and life grew busy. I fell out of touch with Doctor Who. In 2005 my loving husband Fred, told me it was making a comeback on the BBC. I think I said, "Oh, that's nice." I was too busy with work and child care to worry about a fictional character on TV. Isaac was born in 2006, and now I had absolutely no free time. A new fellow named Will was hired at the toy store. He was always making comments about Who. I would listen politely, and then go on to more important things. So the years ticked by... unnoticed.

In July of 2008, I was home alone. When Fred and the boys were in the house it was so noisy. When they would leave for a weekend at their grandmother's house, I would leave the TV off and read in my spare time. For some reason, this time I turned to the Sci-Fi channel and saw the second part in a two-part episode of Doctor Who. This wasn't just any old episode. I had grown up watching the Doctor. I knew the mythos. No one knows the Doctor's name, No one. Who was this woman? Was this the Doctor's wife? I sat in rapt attention as the drama unfolded. Tears ran down my face as I watched her die. I was so touched and inspired.

I called Fred. I was so excited I was talking a mile a minute. I described the show and asked him questions. We agreed we would watch the entire series starting with the episodes from 2005. Fred chuckled at my happiness and said, "Reggie, I haven't heard you this excited in years."

Fred, Freddie and Isaac came home and we began our journey to the new world of Doctor Who. Each night we would watch an episode to try to catch up. It was so fun. Fred and I were really enjoying watching the series. Our joy spread to the children. They began to watch and play-act Doctor Who. It wasn't long before Freddie decided his birthday party theme would be Doctor Who. We agreed our family Halloween costumes would be Who-inspired as well.

Our friendships were affected by this new interest. I got to know Will from work much better as we had numerous conversations about the Doctor. He told me different ways to research the show online. I had never ventured out much on the internet; but with this interest, I learned about WIki's and youtube and Google search.

After Fred started his semester at AU, we went to a faculty party. There we mentioned our fan status. Fred didn't know many people at the party. When we mentioned Doctor Who, we were introduced to Michael and Rebecca. Michael worked in the Literature Dept. at AU and Rebecca was his wife and they were great fans of Doctor Who. I mentioned we wanted to have a Doctor Who Birthday Party for our eldest. Would they be interested in helping? Sure, they said. I could Facebook message them. I walked away a little apprehensive. Now, I would need to learn how to Facebook.

Planning the Doctor Who party forced me to become familiar with Facebook. I found it be a great resource for coordination of such a large undertaking. There would be 70 children at the party, half of them special education students. I would need many adults to help coordinate activities. I also got in touch with people I had known through the years. These were people I thought had the skill set to help with such a complicated party. We had been out of touch,but through the internet became close again.

The party was amazing and it was a magical night. It all came together so well. This was a party for a Time Lord, and anyone in time or space was invited. The children and adults had a ball dressing as their favorite characters. So many wonderful people came to the party.

Our interest in the show did not stop with the party. For Halloween we donned costumes once again. I was a Dalek. I designed my costume so a Razor scooter could fit underneath. If you happened to be on Connecticut Avenue on October 31st 2008 you would have seen a Dalek rolling by... Freddie was the Tenth Doctor, and Isaac was Captain Jack Harkness riding a Face of Boe tricycle. Fred was our camera man. I think about four people recognized our costumes....

After Halloween, we were still interested in the show. Freddie wanted to make Doctor Who action figure movies. Fred and I agreed to take our Christmas money and get a family video camera. So at Christmas 2008 we filmed the boys opening their Doctor Who gifts, with Fred's running commentary in the background.

We also heard that David Tennant would not be playing the Doctor after 2009. There would be five specials in 2009 with Tenant; then he would regenerate. Fred and I bemoaned the fact we became obsessed with the show in a year with so few episodes. How would we make it through 2009?

That seems so long ago.

When Fred was sick, a lot of people said I should pray for a miracle. What people didn't understand is we already had a miracle.

Why did I watch "Forest of the Dead?" I saw a relationship end in death, with a spouse powerless to stop it. That moment so moved me it changed our life. Fred and I watched the entire series in reckless joy. He said it felt like we were dating again, young again. I learned how helpful Facebook could be in organizing birthday parties or ... cancer care. I learned how to research The Doctor on the internet and would use that knowledge to research real doctors on the internet. And Will, that Who fan from work:? It turns out he could teach me how to create a blog called Regina Holliday's Medical Advocacy Blog. Michael, the friend whom we met at the faculty party? You might recognize him. He is the waiting guest in the mural. He came every week without fail. He came to every hospital and to hospice and to home. He was with Fred the day before he died. He was the last friend Fred ever spoke to.

We were living in our miracle.

Last night on BBC America, The Tenth Doctor died. I cannot remember any other Doctor who knew he was going to die for such a long time. 2009 was a year of hospice care for our show and for ourselves. But he marched bravely to his end. He said goodbye to all his friends. Many folks on Twitter found this maudlin and overly sentimental, but it rang very true to me. I saw it happen in real life. The Doctor's last line was also very truthful: "I don't wanna go."

The other day I found a drawing I did in sixth grade. In the piece, my name forms the image of a space alien. Surrounding the alien is the Doctor with his TARDIS, a poster from the show V, and a hospital standing high in the sky with ambulance ships flying in. A shuttle with a sign that says "Just Married" flies by. I drew this in 1986. As the Doctor would say, time is in flux. Some things can be changed and some are fixed points. It is hard to see God's plan when you are living in it. Just like River Song said in "Forest of the Dead", everything was leading to the library. To her time, to this moment. Whether it is a drawing from sixth grade or a summer spent watching Doctor Who, these moments add together and prepare us for just one time. For that time, when we just don't wanna go.


  1. Ms. Holliday, my name is Jason Cox. I am an art teacher at Sheridan School, a K-8 private school in DC which is located near the mural by the CVS. One of the units I have my 7th graders do is the creation and completion of a mural to be affixed to the school. The entire class is familiar with your work through the mural and I was hoping you might consider coming in to speak with them about the process. Sorry for reaching you through the comments section on your blog, but I simply could not find another way to contact you. You can reach me at the school (202)895-0250 extension 163. I hope to hear from you!

  2. I am always amazed and thankful to find the tools we need -- and the tools we WILL BE needing -- are available to us, if we just remain engaged and curious and aware. Thanks for another great post. Becca

  3. I am a time traveller from November 22, 2013 just discovering this blogpost for the first time. Regina, you painted my jacket #92 Spare Parts with the very first episode of Doctor Who in a London junkyard. I am so humbled that Doctor Who was so significant to your relationship to Fred and was an impetus to learn the tools that now fuel your advocacy. Thank you for shining a guiding light for those of us who are sharing the journey!

    1. I am so glad you traveled back in time to talk with me :)