Beam us up, Scottie: an optimistic look at the future

December 30, 2017 • Posted in careers/jobs for people who are blind, memoir writing, travel, writing prompts by

Annelore is one of four writers in the memoir class I lead at the Chicago Cultural Center who was born in a foreign country. She met her American husband Roy in the small town they both worked in on the Czech border, and the two of them moved to his hometown in North Dakota 55 years ago. Roy’s work relocated their family to many different places before finally settling in Chicago, and we are delighted to have her in class with us. I was especially tickled when she used my What I Hope For prompt to write about a New Year’s resolution she came up with back in 1963, her first year in America.

by Annelore Chapin

During my first years in this country I suffered from deep homesickness. Twenty years old, I felt cut off from everyone and everything I knew. I longed to stay connected with family and friends. The solution to ease my woes was to correspond by mail.

photo of Star Trek transporter

Maybe some day we can walk into one of these things and beam anywhere we want.

A letter to Europe would take about 14 days to arrive, and, should there be an answer, that would have to travel for another 14 days. Telephone calls were extremely expensive and were charged by the minute. We used the phone only in emergencies. My quest to stay in touch with everyone ‘back home’ resulted in an idea: On the first day of every year I would make a resolution. I would write one letter every day.

For a few weeks I did well, but eventually I fell behind. By March my backlog was so great that I gave up. The following year, I would try again. And the year after that. And after that. And then a miracle happened. The World Wide Web was created, and suddenly…”You’ve Got Mail!” A message a day became easy.

Had I ever hoped for this to happen? Of course not, and that taught me one thing: I can hope for things as yet unimaginable. Things like a transporter machine.

We know these contraptions from Star Treck, where they can move Captain Kirk or Scottie from one planet to another. Or from Dr. Who, who’s telephone booth transporter takes him from one time period to another one. At a time when my children and grandchildren live too many miles away to hug them on a regular basis, and friends around the globe are getting too frail to travel, I long for a method to move across space, from here to there, in seconds. And at ease.

Some of my friends who are “conspiracy believers” even insist that our governments already developed this technology. It might seem far-fetched now, but that is what I hope for: a transporter machine. Hope is defined as”the optimistic attitude of mind based on the expectation of a positive outcome,” and I am an optimist!

Sheila A. Donovan On December 31, 2017 at 10:04 am

I can only imagine having to move to North Dakota from Chicago. It’s so remote and unpopulated. I’d shrivel just moving to Chicago’s suburbs. To move from Czechoslovakia to a whole new country, with a whole new language and a whole new way of life and to overcome it is an amazing feat. Email beats the post office timewise, but letters can be saved and re-read as many times as you want. Glad to have Annalore in our class. Her life is amazing!

Beth On December 31, 2017 at 10:34 am

Thanks for your comment, Sheila, and I have to apologize for not making it clear that the little town Roy and Annelore both worked in during the 1960s was on the German side of the border, they didn’t move from the Czech Republic to America. .

Mel Theobald On December 31, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Annelore, thank you for your optimism to start this New Year. So many people make resolutions and break them. But “hope” cannot be taken away from us so easily. Our lives have already witnessed so many amazing changes, we have every reason to believe that anything is possible. You see, I too am an optimist. Wishing you the Happiest of New Year’s.

Beth On January 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Happy new year to you, too, Mel. I’ll make sure Annelore gets this comment –we optimists have to stick together.

Sharon On December 31, 2017 at 6:58 pm

Annalore. I loved your essay and your optimism. Now, I have decided that I want the same machine for myself. Thank you for your creativity and honesty about missing your homeland. I am glad you are here!

Anka Schütte On January 5, 2018 at 4:59 pm

Loved the Story especially because I come from the same town in Germany. If I had a transporter machine, It would have to take me back to the States where I found my happiness years ago.

Sherry Wellman On January 6, 2018 at 9:26 am

I Love this wonderful essay on Your life, travels, Hope and The Transporter Machine. Certainly it is possible!
I am blessed to have known the wonderful Spirit Annelore for over 5 decades, being the cousin of her husband Roy. Creative writing is just one of her many gifts/talents she gives to all who have the joy of knowing her. ❣💝📝

Annelore On January 6, 2018 at 2:15 pm

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU all! And the best wishes to you, optimist Mel. Perhaps we should form an ‘Optimist Association’?

Nicole On January 6, 2018 at 9:48 pm

Wonderful essay Annelore!! Love your writing and am a long time fan!!
From Germany to Montana, your life never got boring!!!
Soon we’ll be ‘popping in’ to see each other a lot more often,
as soon as the technology is shared.
I agree with Sherry, your talents are multi functional, multi directional, and span many levels. Miss and love you!! Pop over ASAP!

Beth On January 7, 2018 at 10:53 am

Nicole, I just forwarded your comment on to Annelore via email to make extra-sure she gets it. You are so right, from Germany to Montana – and now, in Chicago — her life never gets boring. I learn so much from the thoughtful essays she writes and reads aloud in our Wednesday class — we are all so fortunate to know her.

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