Editor’s Note: Evanston RoundTable is pleased to introduce: “They Do.” This new column is a glimpse into the love stories and celebrations of commitment from local readers and their relatives. A chance encounter in a supermarket checkout line, the dog park, an ashram, an Uber Eats delivery, a blind date, speed dating, Tinder, Match, Bumble….kids, pets, blended families.
To marry? We want to hear all about your love story and share it with the RoundTable community. This is a free storytelling service by Roundtable. Please contact us if you have a marriage announcement you would like to share and include your name, your partner’s name and an email address. We’ll be in touch to spread the love.
When she headed the stage crew for the Brillianteen production of Musical High School in 2013, Anna Hamrick had no idea that the teenager who jumped on her dead battery would someday be her husband.
Teddy Keenan was the technology chief for the 2013 production, and the two worked closely behind the scenes. Brillianteen, a student-run musical sponsored by the Evanston YMCA for over 65 years, has since ceased production, but the theatrical setting provided a perfect backdrop for the budding romance.
“We like to say that we met doing a high school musical in Musical High School”, said Anne.
After Brilianteen, the two, now both 26, maintained their semi-casual relationship until Anna graduated from ETHS and left for the University of Texas at Austin. The first official encounter took place when Teddy drove the 800 miles from Carbondale, Illinois, where he was at Southern Illinois University’s Flight School, to Austin, Texas, to visit Anna.
At the time, Teddy didn’t have a car, so he knocked on dorm doors looking for someone who would agree to drive him to Texas. Brandon Hall, a complete stranger to Teddy, agreed to be the driver, and the two quickly bonded during their nighttime fling. After a weekend together, Anna and Teddy decided to make their relationship exclusive and thus began their long-distance romance.
“We got really good at seeing each other every five to six weeks and traveling home to Evanston for the next three years,” Anna said.
Anna’s career has been pretty straightforward – after graduating with a degree in education, she became a primary school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. next years. After graduating from SIU, Teddy worked as a flight instructor at Carbondale before being accepted into the Officer Candidate School in New London, Connecticut, and eventually being accepted into the Navy Flight School in Pensacola, Florida.
It was in Pensacola that the couple finally settled in the same city for the first time since their relationship began. Pensacola was a “great place to learn to get along with someone. You can go to the beach every day, which is great. It was easy to be in a beautiful setting living together for the first time,” Teddy said.
Anna worked as a teacher in Pensacola, while Teddy managed to fly “super cool planes and where he learned to fly a helicopter”. Teddy is currently a junior lieutenant in the US Coast Guard.
When it came to getting engaged, “Anna had to pick her ring, so it wasn’t a big surprise,” Teddy said. The couple had been engaged for almost seven years and “we were both doing our dream jobs at the time.” Both families came for the engagement, unbeknownst to Anna, which was also Teddy’s birthday. Teddy proposed in the couple’s apartment, and their families surprised Anna at dinner. They then spent the weekend celebrating their engagement and their anniversary with family and friends.
“I had it in my head that we would get engaged at home [in Evanston] over the holidays so the family could be there, but Teddy gave me in marriage at the end of September,” Anna said.
The couple’s wedding took place on June 25, and with 200 guests in attendance at the Chicago Illuminating Company, Anna and Teddy were married by the revered Peter Mayer, the bride’s cousin. The Chicago Catz wedding band kept everyone dancing, and the cocktail reception was hosted by Limelight Catering. Three desserts were available for the celebration, all provided by Beth’s Little Bake Shop in Evanston. The groom’s cake was decorated to honor Teddy’s Coast Guard career and was cut using his Coast Guard sword. Though he was on hand to cut it, Teddy was only given a “small sample of the wedding cake Anna gave me,” he said. The beautiful flowers were provided by Michaela Mantarian of Chicago and the photographer was Kristin Cloyd of Glen Ellyn, Illinois.
Anna is the daughter of Catherine Hamrick of Evanston and Kevin Hamrick of Nashville, Tennessee. Teddy is the son of Lori and Peter Keenan of Evanston. The couple currently reside in Traverse City, Michigan, where Teddy is a United States Coast Guard LTJG, and Anna is a teacher in a combined first and second grade classroom.
Although they will no longer travel long distances to see each other, they will now move as partners. Teddy’s next Coast Guard assignment will likely be to Alaska in 2025. Teddy’s Coast Guard career will see the couple move every three to five years, and while moving so often can be stressful, “for me , Teddy always felt right at home, whether he was visiting me at UT or any of the places we live. Together or apart, he always made me feel safe,” Anna said.