Reminisce With Me/Farewell, Dear Fen: In Memorium

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The following represents the fannish memories of Nancy Kippax, which she recorded on LJ in the last months of her life. Permission to archive these memories has been granted to us by April Valentine.

Jul. 14th, 2008

It's amazing how many years have passed in the blink of an eye. Some of us who ventured into this grand adventure in the stars when we were in our late teens or twenties are now in our late fifties and early sixties. Some of us have seen divorces, remarriages, widowhood, our children have grown and are now parents themselves. Some have moved up the career ladder and now occupy places of authority and have their own key to the executive washroom. It has been, in my case, 34 years of fandom. I was a mere 25 when we published Contact I.
We are, I suppose, the lucky ones. We have, at least, survived to tell the stories. Others, notable in fandom, have passed on, lighting the path for the rest of us to follow. I'd like to pay tribute to a few of those, some unquestionably "BNF's" (Big Name Fans), others perhaps not as well-known. And if I'm missing anyone whose name should be on that Role Call Up Yonder, please drop a comment and let me know. This no doubt partial list contains the names of those fen whom I knew personally and whose loss was significant to me as well as to fandom, those whose paths crossed mine more slightly, and a few I knew only by reputation. I present them here in alphabetical order.
M. L. "Steve" Barnes: Writer, poet. Author of the memorable story, "The Price of a Handful of Snowflakes", referenced in Star Trek Lives. I don't believe I ever met Steve, but her name was legend when I arrived in fandom.
Johanna Cantor: Writer, Editor. From the earliest days of Trek fandom, Fran Hitchcock wrote under the name Johanna Cantor but was known to most by either name. She had no problem with other fans knowing who she was, but she didn't want it leaking back to her place of employment. Fran was a popular and pleasant lady whose Trek involvement was eclectic; she loved the Kirk-Spock relationship, but was also interested in Uhura and feminist writings. She edited R & R, a mildly racy zine that was predominantly gen, or straight. Her own writing was widely dispersed, including a story she gave to the very novice Contact editors for their second issue. Fran/Johanna died in 1998 from complications of diabetes.
Toni Cardinal-Price: Writer, poet, editor. Her fiction was widely distributed among the stellar zines of her day. Toni's life was cut tragically short in an automobile accident in 1985, a stunning blow to those many fans with whom she was closely aligned. She was survived by her partner, Marty, and her daughter, Casey, whom they were raising. Toni was one of the New York crowd, a native of New Jersey, and an early influential K/S writer and advocate.
Bev Clark: Writer, editor. She wrote Trek in the early days, later switched over to Star Wars and published the very popular fanzine Skywalker, for many years. She passed away in 2007 from ovarian cancer.
Gerry Downes: Writer, editor, publisher, artist. One of the breakthrough K/S writers, her "Epilogue to Orion" is a classic. Gerry lived way up in Alaska and didn't get "down" very often, but she was an enthusiastic letter writer. She entered fandom adamantly against the idea of K/S, yet quickly changed her mind and became one of its biggest supporters. And not only did she write, and write extremely well, but she could illustrate her own and others' stories. A true Renaissance woman. Cancer took her from us way too early.
Gina Godwin: Artist, costumer, worker bee. Young and beautiful, Gina seemed to have it all – a rich doctor husband, an enormous home in Wilmington, Delaware, a toddler son who was the apple of her eye. Gina did costumes and coolie labor on whatever project any of us in the Baltimore area had going. Her artwork graced several zines, and she also designed the program book covers for several ClipperCons. Gina was a true romantic, and she adored Kirk and Spock. She was with us for a short five years before her life was snuffed out; she was a victim of domestic violence.
Daphne Hamilton: Writer. One of four fans who created the popular early "AU-4", which stood for "Alternate Universe-4", an appellation given to a series of stories which dealt with Kirk acting outside the bounds of the Federation as an agent of Lightfleet. In the beginnings of Trek fan writing, anything that took off in a different direction from what we saw on aired Trek was deemed an AU (a term still in use today). Jacqueline Lichtenberg created Kraith, a series of interconnected stories penned by various authors, which was one AU; the Trek stories placed in the "Mirror, Mirror" universe was another, I believe the third was an altered Klingon universe, and when the four who wrote the Lightfleet saga came along, their universe was dubbed AU-4.
Marianne Hornlein: Editor, writer. One of the Jersey crowd, she published the fanzine Nexus. She was a fun-loving and entertaining individual who knew how to make a party bounce. I learned of her death a while after the event, and I'm not certain of the cause.
Kay Johnson: Publisher, editor, convention staff. Kay single-handedly produced the STW Directory for many of its earliest years. This was a huge and comprehensive job, back in the day. The Directory listed all the ST fan clubs, fanzines, and other groups or individuals known to the ST Wellcommittee (an organization which helped fans get in touch with other fans or find out what was going on in the days before the Internet). Kay also worked on the KC Con conventions in Kansas City.
Alice Jones: Trek Artist. Some would say the finest of the artists Trek produced. Her delicate pencil technique was often problematic to print (for greatest quality of reproduction, an editor had to use what was called a "screening" process, which cost more to run) but definitely worth every penny spent. Her specialty was Spock – she was a member of the LNAF and she adored Leonard/Spock. A native of Boston, she was modest and humble and often uncertain why everyone else made such a fuss over her work. One look at one of her exquisite and "tasteful" Spock nudes would dispel any questions as to her talent.
Carol Lee: Editor of the fanzine Rigel and member of MAST (Maryland Association of Star Trek) in the 70's. Carol came into fandom before I did and she was one of the first fen I ever met. She hailed from the area around the University of Maryland, College Park, home of UMAST and the infamous "August Party."
Shirley Maiewski: Writer and Chairman of the ST Welcommittee during its peak period. She was responsible for guiding and mentoring all those thousands who were coming into this new fandom. From the very first letter campaign in 1968 (which resulted in giving ST its third season), Shirley worked tirelessly to keep the flame alive and to resurrect the show. In her spare time, she managed to write one of the most beloved and honored stories, "Mindsifter", which was chosen for inclusion in Sondra Marshak's "New Voyages". She also contributed to other zines and was one of four fans who created the "AU- 4 series {see Daphne Hamilton, above}. Shirley was already an older woman when Star Trek came into her life, and she was fondly known as "Grandma Trek" to one and all. She was from Massachusetts and was an avid fan of the Boston Red Sox, as well as a devotee of the opera world. Shirley was often a guest speaker at many early conventions and loved to promote and talk about the ST Welcommittee. A survivor of breast cancer, her death was caused by heart problems late in her life. She was one-of-a-kind, a genuinely sincere lady who felt all the world's problems could be solved by sitting down and talking them out. She detested gossip and backbiting in any form, and wasn't too ladylike to let you know it.
Marion McChesney: Writer, Publisher, Convention Chair. As I've said previously, Marion jumped into fandom with both feet and took off running. She drove an ice cream truck, her own, independent truck, when she first entered fandom; later, she worked for an insurance firm both in Baltimore and in California, where she moved briefly in the late '80s. Her zine, Vault of Tomorrow, was the recipient of several awards and was known for showcasing new talent. Branching off from "Star Trek", Marion became involved with fandoms for "Blake's Seven", "Man from UNCLE", "Wiseguy", "Highlander", or whatever else struck her fancy. She chaired first the ClipperCon conventions and other actor guest cons, and later a multi-media slash convention, ConneXions. Marion was one of the easiest and most delightful people to work with, no stress, just a lot of fun. She was equally comfortable and unassuming whether she was dealing with a 15-year old boy at his first convention, or one of the loftiest guest stars to grace our stages. She embraced IDIC as a total way of life. Marion was taken from us all too soon at the age of 57, victim of a heart attack.
Dixie Owen: Letterzine Columnist, Photographer, STW worker. Dixie was an original pistol who always made her presence known with her distinctive voice. She worked on the vastly popular letterzine, Interstat, contributing a regular column on all the entertainment news to come out of Hollywood, the rumors, the latest tidbits of information coming into the STW, for which she worked, from TPTB and other sources. In those early days of fandom, letterzines, which were published and distributed on a regular, often monthly or bi-monthly schedule, were the primary means of communication among fans around the world as well as the states. They were our Listservs, our mailing lists, our forerunner of the chat rooms. An active member of Bill Shatner's fan fellowship, Dixe was one of a group who were allowed to visit the set of ST IV: The Voyage Home while it was filming. Her photographs of that club's events were widely reproduced for everyone's enjoyment. She was always seen toting her camera and snapping pictures of unsuspecting fen. Dixie was a welcomed attendee at the Baltimore/Washington K/S cons in the early '80s.
Chris Soto: Artist, Song Vid Creator. Her artwork graced the pages of many fanzines, and her reputation could have stood on that contribution alone. But Chris was also ahead of the curve, creating a plethora of song vids, some of them the finest ever seen despite the early techniques and technology she had to work with. Her "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserable, set in the period between ST II and III, beautifully captured Kirk trying to deal with Spock's death. It's one of the most heart-wrenching pieces of video ever viewed.
Pat Stall: Trek Artist and Baltimore's own "little old grey-haired lady", Pat was an art teacher at an inner-city high school who brought Trek to her students and had some of their work published in various fanzines. She consistently insisted that she couldn't draw, bemoaned her lack of originality, even as fandom embraced her as one of its first-rate illustrators. She contributed artwork to literally dozens of zines, despite the slow process it was for her. Cursed with an eyesight problem, she literally cried tears as she painstakingly worked on an illo. Witty, wacky and totally wonderful, Pat was the hit at any party or gathering she attended, appreciated for her pithy one-liners. She embraced K/S almost from its beginnings, and many of her favorite illos graced the covers and inner pages of K/S zines. Pat gafiated (left fandom –"Getting Away From It All") at the height of her popularity, and later died of cancer at her Baltimore County home.
Virginia Tilley: Writer. She created the Lightfleet saga with Daphne Hamilton, Anna Mary Hall and Shirley Maiewski. Crossing several state lines, these four ladies used the US mail and telephone long-distance service to write the popular series of stories affectionately dubbed "AU-4" {see Daphne Hamilton, above}.
Carolyn Venino: Poet, Publisher, Filker, Songwriter. Carolyn was from New Jersey but associated equally with fen there and in Baltimore. She joined Omicron Ceti III and later formed her own filk group, Gemini People. Carolyn began in fandom as the editor/publisher of the fanzine, Pastak, a long-running anthology zine. Later, she abandoned zines in favor of her music. Confined to a wheelchair after years of problems with her back, she never slowed down, attending college and maintaining a 4.0 grade average in spite of her handicap. Also known in fandom as the "Silver Lady" because of her long, flowing silver-white hair, Carolyn died of cancer after more than 20 years in fandom.
Bev Volker: Editor, writer, poet, songwriter, convention program chair, fandom progenitor. Bev was my sister, the other half of me, probably without a doubt the better half. She was the guiding force behind the Baltimore Contact Crowd, opening her home to fen both local and from all over the US. A teacher at heart, Bev worked with pre-school children for many years, and also mentored fledgling Trek writers both fan and pro, like Ann Crisipin, Sibyl Hancock, and her son-in-law, Steve Wilson. Our fanzine, Contact, was the first devoted solely to the Kirk-Spock relationship, and it was amazingly popular, touching a hot spot just as it was to boil over. Later, tiring of zine publication, Bev organized the programming for ClipperCon for six years, then served as an active committee person for OktoberFest and Farpoint conventions. She mothered two daughters who continue to this day to be active participants in the Baltimore convention scene, and grandson, Ethan Wilson, marks a third generation of the Volker clan to be involved with fandom. One could say she founded a dynasty! She passed away quietly at her home after a long battle with cancer.
In paying tribute to these individuals, I've tried to convey a sense of their collective body of contributions to fandom, of what has been treasured by their lives and what has been lost by their premature passing. All are sorely missed, all are irreplaceable. As those of us early fans age, we know that in ten years' time this list will be longer still. Let us all honor those who've already passed from our sphere and appreciate those who are still among us. Whisper it softly: Star Trek Lives.