Archive for January, 2011

In Remembrance of Ann Teipen (1950-2010)

January 27, 2011

As I counted back through the years that we’ve known each other, I am astounded that Ann and I shared a friendship that lasted some 36 years.  It was 1974 when I first met Ann, at a monthly meeting of STAR BASE 6 – the local eastside STAR TREK fan club that met at the Warren Public Library.

My dad had excitedly come home from work one day.  He had been a substitute pharmacist at the Hook’s Drug store not far from 10th and Mitthoeffer.  He’d seen the flyer on the store bulletin board advertising a new STAR TREK club, and he knew that his 11 year old son might be interested.


New episodes of STAR TREK hadn’t been seen in five years, and yet the series seemed to be gathering steam in re-runs.  Every night, Channel 13’s evening news crew would “beam aboard the Enterprise” as a lead in to another episode.  It would be another five years before the first of 11 STAR TREK films would reach the silver screen.  This collection of science fiction fans – who were into everything from Dungeons & Dragons to comic books to STAR TREK – thoroughly enjoyed getting together and learning more about their shared passions.  The era of the STAR TREK convention was just beginning, and I remember all of the talk about a big TREK convention planned for Chicago in 1975.

I convinced my parents to plan a second honeymoon in Chicago, and to allow me to ride with Ann for the trip north.  We arrived at the Statler Hilton and immediately saw the actor who played Sulu on STAR TREK in the lobby.  I was starstruck.  To Ann, of course, this was bad form.  One must be polite, but not overbearing.  What followed was a weekend where thousands turned out to see the first assemblage of the full STAR TREK cast since the series had gone off the air.  TREK creator Gene Roddenberry was there, as were all of the actors who manned a makeshift bridge of the Enterprise.  It was incredible.  And even though I was only 12 years old, to Ann I was just another fan.  She treated me like an adult, even though I hadn’t even officially become a teenager.

The years that followed brought more conventions and adventures.  Ann came to my high school graduation, and we enjoyed attending big conventions in St. Louis in the 1980’s.

We cornered actors from STAR TREK when they’d come to Indianapolis, taking Sulu to breakfast and Scotty to lunch.  That even led to an invitation to come out to Hollywood and see some filming of STAR TREK IV – the fourth movie in the franchise.  Ann and I traveled together in 1986 to California to see STAR TREK’s creator get his “star” in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


She pulled strings to get both of us invited to Paramount Pictures for the celebratory party, where we talked to our favorite actors and recorded video greetings for Mr. Roddenberry.  Years later, I delighted in the opportunity to repay the favor by inviting her to the RCA Tennis Championships when Bob Conrad of “Wild Wild West” fame and actors William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy from STAR TREK made a paid appearance.

It didn’t take long to introduce my wife Karen to Ann, my STAR TREK friend.  Ann came to our wedding, nearly 20 years ago.  She loved hearing about our daughter Katy and the trials of being a teenager.  She was always asking about my parents, my brothers, my job, and my passions.We didn’t agree on politics or religion – but we didn’t have to.  We enjoyed each other’s interests and joys, and celebrated the differences between us.  I loved visiting her in New York, when she lived in a one-room closet in the theatre district for a time.  And I enjoyed hearing about her trips to Paris, France and Hollywood – which became her reason for working.  STAR TREK was not her only passion – she also loved bands like The Beatles, and The Guild, and actors like Robert Conrad and others.  She even edited a “Wild Wild West” newsletter for several years.

From Ann, I learned to embrace new technology – really!  She was the first person I’d ever met who owned a videocassette recorder, and she carefully perused TVGuide to pick out the talk shows where her favorite actors would appear.  She was taping talk shows when blank tapes were still $25 each! Lately, she’d become a big fan of Twitter – because she could follow the unfiltered actions of her favorite actors.  She loved to tell me what Bill Shatner was doing, or what Leonard Nimoy had said about Bill.  I loved that.

Our family enjoyed catching up with her over pizza at UNO’s (her favorite), and we enjoyed very long lunches at Shapiro’s both downtown and in Carmel.  I think she loved Shapiro’s so much because dessert always came first.As with all of you, the news of her passing comes as a jolt and a shock.  How could this be?  She was too young to be taken from us.  Obviously (to me, anyway), God has another plan for her talents and connections.  Ann is, no doubt, already publishing newsletters and hard at work in heaven catching up with her favorite actors who are already there.

In the closing minutes of the very popular film STAR TREK II:  The Wrath of Khan, it was the Vulcan science officer who left his post on the bridge of the Enterprise.  He walked into a compartment flooded with radiation, working to get the Enterprise out of danger.  The result saved the day, but ultimately left Spock at death’s door.  His final words echo in my mind.  Spock was barely able to speak.  And yet, after being assured that the ship was out of danger, he told Captain Kirk that “I have been, and always shall be, your friend.  Live Long & Prosper.”

So it is with our beloved Ann.  She is gone, but her memory lives on in the life she led, in the people she touched, in the questions she left behind, and in the joy she brought to others – including almost four decades of love and caring in my own life.

And now she is among the many stars in the sky.



Dave Arland (Carmel, Indiana)