More than America's Youngest Ambassador: The Story of Samantha Smith

More than America's Youngest Ambassador: The Story of Samantha Smith
Smith Letter_1.jpg

Hello! This is my first timeline, so feel free to provide constructive criticism, make suggestions, and to ask questions! I will always be happy to answer them. A few things, this timeline will be relatively small, 10-15 short chapters, of which a good chunk will be before the PoD. If you are interested in more information, feel free to PM me as well. The first chapter will be posted shortly. That's all, enjoy folks!
Chapter 1
Chapter 1

August 25th, 1985

Captain Roy W. Fraunhofer walked out of the Bar Harbor Airlines Operations Department onto the tarmac of Banger International Airport, followed by his First Officer, Roy C. Owen. As the two made their way towards their aircraft farther down the airstrip, Fraunhofer put on his glasses and looked up at the overcast sky. As the now off-duty flight crew had told him, the weather over the northeastern United States today was cloudy and shaping up to be progressively worse throughout the afternoon. Fraunhofer then turned his eyes to the twin-engine turboprop aircraft he would be flying today, the Beech 99. Bangor to Boston, then back. And then again with a stop in Augusta on the way there. Both pilots, having more than 100 hours on the plane, stepped up the small stairway and into the cockpit with the casual air of veterans. The two independently set about tasks to prep the aircraft for its upcoming flights.
Beech 99.jpg

15 minutes off schedule, Flight 1793, took off from Bangor International Airport at 3:30 PM and turned southward towards Boston and into continually deteriorating weather. The return journey from Boston would land at 6:30 PM, now running 25 minutes late.

“Bar Harbor 1755, do you copy? This is flight follower at the tower.” buzzed the radio.

“We copy you, Bar Harbor 1755.” Captain Fraunhofer said.

“Alright, uh, we have some ATC delays over at BOS. Company’s said you’re gonna be designated and flying… Flight 1808.” said the flight follower.

“1808, that’s Boston to Augusta to Waterville and then Bangor?” First Officer Owen asked.

“Yeah, that’s it. Plus, a flag stop at Auburn.” the flight follower answered.

“You catch that?” Owen asked Fraunhofer, who was writing on his clipboard. Fraunhofer nodded.

“Alright, thank you, Tower,” Owen responded.

“Have a good flight, Bar Harbor 1755.” The flight follower said and then cut off.

As the sun started to sink below the horizon, Flight 1755 took off from Bangor International, bound for Augusta and Boston.

Upon arrival in a rain-swept nighttime Boston, the flight follower at Boston also made contact with the flight crew.

“Bar Harbor 1755, this is flight follower at tower. Be advised, there are no passengers for pickup along your route past here. If no passengers show for any destination, you are good to flyover.” crackled the radio.

“Flyover for no-show passengers, Bar Harbor 1755, understood,” Fraunhofer replied.

The flight crew patiently waited as their passengers boarded, and their luggage was packed away—4 to Augusta, 1 to Waterville, and 2 to Bangor. As the flight crew also awaited the 2 passengers bound for Auburn, they noted they had a special passenger.

“Are you… that girl that went to Russia last year… or was it the year before that? Welcome back to Maine.” Fraunhofer joked as he turned around in his seat to face the girl and her father.

“Samantha Smith,” she said, shaking the pilot’s hand.
Smith in Moscow.jpg

After 15 minutes more conversation and waiting, the Captain and First Officer agreed to contact clearance delivery and leave without the 2 missing passengers. As the propellers of the plane began spinning, Captain Fraunhofer radioed the tower.

“Tower, this is Bar Harbor 1808, advise for takeoff.”

“Bar Harbor 1808, left to 360 on takeoff, seven thousand will be final, squawk 5374… uh, we’ll have you on taxi in about 25.”

“Understood, Bar Harbor 1808.”

After many delays, 9 PM Flight 1808 departed Boston Logan International Airport bound for Augusta, Maine. After contact with approach control in Portsmouth and then again in Portland, the Beech 99 successfully made its way down through the dark rain onto the airstrip in Augusta. The plane rolled off the runway and up to the terminal. Fraunhofer and Owen relaxed and prepared for the journey to Waterville and Bangor while passengers deboarded, and their luggage was pulled from the plane.

“Thank you.” Samantha Smith’s father, whose name Fraunhofer had learned was Arthur, called out as he and his daughter walked down the plane’s staircase into the night.

“No problem, have a good night!” Owen shouted back and then continued his pre-flight checks.

“Bar Harbor 1808, this is BGR TWR. Be advised, we have news of a crash at Auburn-Lewiston. Uh… PEX Flight 391.” the radio whirred.

“Understood, Bar Harbor 1808.” First Officer Owen responded.

“Jesus…” Owen said quietly once contact was over. That could have been us, Owen thought to himself.
Love the beginning. We combined to do some stuff on her in this collaborative thread but really she is young enough her career could go any of a number of directions. My idea about her appearing on a few sitcoms to encourage younger girls to excel would probably happen, but obviously not like it happened there since it is an isot.
Chapter 2
Chapter 2

Samantha Smith was born to Jane Goshom and Arthur Smith on June 29th, 1972. The family lived in Houlton, Maine, a town just 2 miles from the Canadian-US border. Her father worked at Ricker College in Houlton until it closed in 1978. Her mother worked for the Maine Department of Human Services as a social worker.

In search of new work, Arthur Smith moved his family to Manchester, Maine, a suburb just west of Augusta, in the spring of 1980. He took up literature work at the University of Augusta.

November 30th, 1982

“Time to get up!” echoed down the hallway into Samantha Smith’s room. Through the window, an overcast cold sky dimly lit the room. Smith threw off her covers and marched out of her room to the bathroom. As her mind cleared, she remembered the television program that had been on the night before, a scientific panel discussing nuclear weapons.

“No one will win a nuclear war. Just a few nuclear warheads would be enough to wreck portions of the globe for centuries and cause nuclear winter. A full-on nuclear exchange between the Soviet Union and the United States would destroy the Earth and her atmosphere forever.” The scientist heading the panel had said.

Samantha headed for the kitchen with thoughts of nuclear annihilation bouncing around her head. Would this be her last day on the Earth if there was a nuclear war today?

Samantha found her mother, Jane, preparing breakfast. Her dad must have already left for work at the university.
As Samantha sat down at the kitchen table, she asked, “Mom, why would someone want to start a nuclear war?”

Slightly surprised by such a question, Jane responded, “Well… no one would,” as she put down a bowl of cereal on the table.

“But us and the Russians both have a lot of bombs. Why?” Samantha questioned as she dug into the cereal.

After thinking for a moment, Jane walked over to the kitchen counter and pulled a magazine from a pile of newspapers and such. It was the Time magazine November 1982 edition. Center stage on the cover stood the new Soviet Premier, Yuri Andropov.
“Here, let’s read this.” Jane said and opened the cover as she sat down.

Time Mag.jpg

The two read through the magazine to the end with Samantha posing questions the entire way. In both America and Russia, people were afraid of nuclear war between the two powers. Each side afraid the other would be the one to press the “nuclear button”.

“Well that’s pretty dumb. If everyone is so afraid of Mr. Andropov, why don’t they ask him if he will start a war? You could write to him, Mom.” Samantha said once the read-through was finished.

“Why don’t you write to him?” Jane asked her daughter.

So that’s exactly what Samantha set to work at doing. After all, she had a history of writing to world leaders. She had written to Queen Elizabeth II to show her appreciation of the British monarch’s rule in 1978.

The next day, Samantha walked out in the cold Maine December weather, down the driveway, and stuck her letter addressed to “Mr Yuri Andropov, the Kremlin, Moscow, USSR.” in her mailbox. It read,

“Dear Mr. Andropov,
My name is Samantha Smith. I am ten years old. Congratulations on your new job. I have been worrying about Russia and the United States getting into a nuclear war. Are you going to vote to have a war or not? If you aren’t please tell me how you are going to help to not have a war. This question you do not have to answer, but I would like to know why you want to conquer the world or at least our country. God made the world for us to live together in peace and not to fight.
Samantha Smith”.

As the months passed by, Smith largely forgot about her letter. Until…


April 13th, 1983

Principal Peabody walked through the entrance of Manchester Elementary School in modest spirits. He liked his job, it was just...repetitive. Repetitive, this was the word on Peabody’s mind as he walked through his secretary’s office into his own. While Sherman, his secretary, would usually send him a casual “good morning” and take a sip from his coffee, he was on the phone this morning. A good break from the repetition, Peabody thought to himself.
Peabody sat himself down in his chair and started to reach for his papers. Sherman cracked open the door and whispered, “Phone call for your sir. From… United Press International?”

“Uhuh… Put it through.” Peabody responded.
Peabody picked up his phone and waited to hear the line was connected when he did, he said, “Manchester Elementary, Principal Peabody speaking, how can I help you?”

“Hi, I’m a reporter with United Press International, do you have… Samantha Smith at this school?” the voice on the other end of the phone asked.

After a moment trying to pull the student from his memory, Peabody answered, “Yes, we do. Why, exactly?”

“Her letter to Yuri Andropov in the USSR’s on the front page of Pravda.” the voice told him.
“Pravda… that’s…” Peabody began in astonishment. Pravda was the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

“Yes, sir, it is. Do you have this student at your school?”

“Yes. Do you want me to get her on the line?” Peabody offered while motioning for his secretary to call Smith to his office.

“That would be great.” the voice said.

After school, Samantha drafted another letter, this time addressed to the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C and the Soviet Ambassador to the United States. Samantha laid out her thoughts plainly to the ambassador, who at the time was Anatoly Dobrynin. Why had Mr. Andropov not responded to her questions? It shouldn’t matter that she was ten. And so another letter was slipped into the mailbox at the bottom of the Smith’s driveway.
April 19th, 1983
Arthur Smith shut the door to his car and walked in the front door of his house. Another day of work done, he thought. He was headed for the kitchen (and hopefully to a cooked dinner) when the phone rang.
“I’ll get it!” He shouted and walked over to the ringing phone. “Hello?” Smith said when he picked up.
“Hello, is this the Smith residence in… Maine? This is the Soviet Embassy.” a man on the other side of the phone line, presumably in Washington D.C asked.
“Ye… yes, it is. Is this about Samantha’s letter?” Arthur said.
“Indeed it is. Premier Andropov’s response is being shipped to the United States as we speak. Expect it within the week.”

“Thank you very much,” Arthur responded and hung up the phone.

Whoever the man was, he was correct about the letter’s arrival, to the day. 1 week later, Arthur Smith arrived home to find several crowds of news crews in front of his house. He walked up the driveway past the reporters to find Samantha and Jane in front of the house, Samantha, with a crisp cream letter in hand.
Jane put her arm around her husband and whispered, “I think we’re going to Moscow.”

Dear Samantha,
I received your letter, which is like many others that have reached me recently from your country and from other countries around the world.
It seems to me—I can tell by your letter—that you are a courageous and honest girl, resembling Becky, the friend of Tom Sawyer in the famous book of your compatriot Mark Twain. This book is well known and loved in our country by all boys and girls.
You write that you are anxious about whether there will be a nuclear war between our two countries. And you ask are we doing anything so that war will not break out.
Your question is the most important of those that every thinking man can pose. I will reply to you seriously and honestly.
Yes, Samantha, we in the Soviet Union are trying to do everything so that there will not be war on Earth. This is what every Soviet man wants. This is what the great founder of our state, Vladimir Lenin, taught us.
Soviet people well know what a terrible thing war is. Forty-two years ago, Nazi Germany which strove for supremacy over the whole world, attacked our country, burned and destroyed many thousands of our towns and villages, killed millions of Soviet men, women and children.
In that war, which ended with our victory, we were in alliance with the United States: together we fought for the liberation of many people from the Nazi invaders. I hope that you know about this from your history lessons in school. And today we want very much to live in peace, to trade and cooperate with all our neighbors on this Earth—with those far away and those near by. And certainly with such a great country as the United States of America.
In America and in our country there are nuclear weapons—terrible weapons that can kill millions of people in an instant. But we do not want them to be ever used. That’s precisely why the Soviet Union solemnly declared throughout the entire world that never—never—will it use nuclear weapons first against any country. In general we propose to discontinue further production of them and to proceed to the abolition of all the stockpiles on Earth.
It seems to me that this is a sufficient answer to your second question: “Why do you want to wage war against the whole world or at least the United States?” We want nothing of the kind. No one in our country—neither workers, peasants, writers nor doctors, neither grown-ups nor children, nor members of the government—want either a big or “little” war.
We want peace—there is something that we are occupied with: growing wheat, building and inventing, writing books and flying into space. We want peace for ourselves and for all peoples of the planet. For our children and for you, Samantha.
I invite you, if your parents will let you, to come to our country, the best time being this summer. You will find out about our country, meet with your contemporaries, visit an international children’s camp—“Artek”—on the sea. And see for yourself: in the Soviet Union, everyone is for peace and friendship among peoples.
Thank you for your letter. I wish you all the best in your young life.
andropov sign.jpg

Y. Andropov
Excellent so far,but when will we get into the real meat?

@dcd Im glad you are enjoying it :)
The next chapter will focus on Samantha’s trips around the world and the beginning of her television career. From there on out everything will be Alternate History.
Her TV career would have been interesting--from what I've heard about Lime Street, she could really act, and Robert Wagner is also a good actor at his best, so Lime Street would have lasted a few seasons, IMO...

One of the episodes had a plane crash, IIRC; talk about Harsher In Hindsight after what happened to Smith IOTL...
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Hello , @BattlePig101. Interesting, will wait for future chapters of your AH.

I've made some videos on her on YouTube. Please check them out here. Maybe the videos will help you.

I've also written about her on my blog. One post is about alternate history scenarios written by others about her.

Good luck.

I also suggested this to Andrew T on his Dirty Laundry TL. Maybe something you'd like to explore too:

I'm interested to see her in Adventures in Babysitting, or a movie like it in the Dirty Laundry-verse. And for maximum confusion, have Maia Brewton (her sister in Lime Street) play the younger daughter, Sarah Anderson, as in our timeline. In short, the TV sisters won't be movie sisters. Hope that makes sense.


Her TV career would have been interesting--from what I've heard about Lime Street, she could really act, and Robert Wagner is also a good actor at his best, so Lime Street would have lasted a few seasons, IMO...

One of the episodes had a plane crash, IIRC; talk about Harsher In Hindsight after what happened to Smith IOTL...

Hi, @Unknown. What episode of Lime Street had a plane crash? Most of the show is lost media, and I've been looking for leads to find the missing episodes.