August 28, 2008

Real letters and old friends

Remember the time we actually wrote pen and paper letters to one another? I really miss that. I don't miss how long it takes to get a letter though. That is probably the only thing I love about e-mails. The fact that you can fire one off to someone clear around the world in a matter of seconds. It will not however replace the feeling you get when you see that handwritten letter in the mail box.
The above letter in the picture, is from my pen pal.
When I was in fifth grade, we had to do a report on one of our fifty States,and I got Iowa. After we chose our State, we then had to choose a town or city in that State, write to the chamber of commerce to forward the letter to a local school,and hope that one of the students wanted to be your pen pal. I just couldn't wait to hear from someone! Then one day I looked in my mail box,and lo and behold, there sat this letter that you see above. I was so excited I instantly wrote back and mailed it the next day. By the way, check out the 8 cent stamp, and how I scrawled "letter number 1 on the top!
My pen pal is named Carolyn. I say it in the present, since we still to this day, after 35 years, still write to each other. We have never met,but still keep in contact. We stopped sending handwritten letters, and drifted for a very short time, until we started e-mailing and trying to use technology to our advantage. All the things we have shared through out the years could fill a book when I think about it. I can't believe that I still have this letter from 1973!
Recently, I have been feeling a bit out of it, then a few days ago I got an e-mail from Carolyn. It really made my day,and I was able to write some feelings and thoughts to her. As usual, it made me feel so much better, and thought about how lucky I was to have this faraway friendship.
We talk about meeting up someday, and I hope that we do. We have also thought this would be a fun feel good story to have on Oprah. Picture it, us coming on stage and meeting for the very first time after almost 35 years writing letters,then e-mails!
Just for fun, I may send her a piece of snail mail to celebrate our 35 year pen pal friendship, because nothing beats seeing a hand written letter in the mail box.


  1. What a lovely story and I do echo your thoughts about proper letters. I remember having a penpal in Oklahoma when I was at school and eventually we planned for me to stay with her at her family home. My (much older) brother was going to accompany me as my parents wouldn't even consider me travelling from the UK on my own. (It was a bit unusual to travel to the US in those days). But then my penpal stopped writing. I don't think she'd shared our plan to meet up with her own parents!

  2. you are lucky to have such a friend for all these years. you should send her an anniversary card. i quickly looked and the appropriate gift for the 35th year is jade or coral. maybe, some pretty stones? have a nice weekend!

  3. what a wonderful story! i just love it! my family met another family while vacationing over 20 years ago. the girl and i (i guess i should say woman now) still write letters to each other! we have experienced quite a bit together. you know, i think i will write her a letter this weekend...

  4. That is an amazing and sweet story. You are blessed to have stayed in touch for so long!

  5. What a wonderful story. It reminded me of a couple of penpals I had in the 'olden days'. Unfortunately I have lost touch with them. My best friend from Jr. high and I still write regularly and that's a long time ago. (I will not mention just how long).
    I think an anniversary card is in order for sure. Nerm

  6. Wow! That's an amazing and sweet story. I can completely see you and Carolyn going on Oprah :o) I have a friend named Holly that I met online when I was in high school because we both were crazy about the backstreet boys and had Leslie Carter fansites! We would e-mail each other every day for years... now we facebook message each occasionally. I have never met her. Someday, I will though. She is a dear friend to me, and always will be. Thanks for letting me remember that! Take care and I hope you have a wonderful three day weekend!!

  7. I hope you don't mind but I've tagged you over at my blog.

  8. This is such a lovely post. I am mightily impressed that you have sustained a pen pal correspondence for 35 years. I'm afraid I was one of those inconstant children who gave up after two or three letters.

    I can't remember the last time I hand wrote a letter, but I am a big fan of sending post-cards. Pick the right one and it can convey a great deal in a small space. Like the very best posts.

  9. Woops. Didn't manage to spell my name before I pressed send

  10. This is the stuff of life.... I love stories like this.. they make the world go around!
    There is something very poignant and evocative about an old handwritten letter and seeing yours was very similar to how I felt when I found my handwritten childhood book the other day..
    Handwriting is sadly on the decline as you say and that makes these relics so precious..
    I do hope you get to meet one day... now that would be awesome!!!!!
    Michele x