May 8, 2012

Pen Pals

I was talking to my girl about sponsoring a child the other night. She wondered if the little boy on our computer screen would come and live with us, I explained that he wouldn’t – that he needed to be with his parents but that we’d be getting letters telling us how he was. She liked this – six year olds like getting mail. I do too.

I had 4 pen pals growing up. Three of them I cant remember much about – their names and faces seem to have vanished into that vault in my brain where all the odd stuff collects. Im hoping it doesn’t spill out one day. There was one gal that I wrote to for about 10 years. Her name was Jaci. She lived in Portland and strangely I can still recite her address off. That hasnt fallen in the vault.

I’ve never been to Portland, Oregon. I can remember when I was about 15 my Dad suggested that on our first big family holiday overseas that we pop in and see her. I was filled with fear – Id never imagined having a friendship with her in real life. What if it was wonky, what if we didnt connect? I declined my Dads offer…the pressure was too great.

We stopped writing once life took over. Once school was finished, once we got used to mouths without braces on them. I tried looking for her on Facebook last year but what would I have said ‘remember me, we used to write long letters on smelly stationary to each other’. I don’t know where she is.

Ive met a few new friends because of this blogging caper and at some writing courses. We have a lot of witty banter, we talk about good and deep stuff. Some days its like the ye olde days of pen pals…sometimes I worry how we’d be without that little barrier between us. Im meeting some of them in the flesh next week…only 7 days to worry about what to wear. First world problems over here my friend!

Today Im linking up with #ibot

Did you have a pen pal? Did you ever meet? 

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. I had a few pen pals in my early teens and I did get to meet one of them when my family travelled to the US via Europe when I was 14. We met my correspondent and her mother in London and did a day trip up the Thames to Hampton Court together. It was lovely!

    I’ve also met lots of new friends thanks to the wonders of the internet, and I’ve even travelled inter-state and over to New Zealand to meet them face to face.

    • Wow – what was the meeting like? Did it take a while to get used to them in person?

      Im looking forward to my writerly meet up next week…Ill stress less about my clothes and worry more about what will come out of my mouth!

      • Which meeting? There’s been lots of different ones! lol

        The New Zealand trip had us spending nearly a week together at a holiday house, me, hubby and 3 kids and my blog friend, her hubby and one kid. We’d met before when they were in Sydney on holidays so we were pretty sure it was going to work 🙂 It was a fabulous holiday, everyone got on well, we played Munchkin and pencil and paper role playing games and went to the beach and talked and laughed and want to do it all over again sometime.

  2. Yes and yes!!!!

    I had too many penpals to count, but the only one I am still in touch with is Catherine in NZ.

    We started writing through a chain letter (“send a postcard to the person at #1 on this letter) when we were about 12 in 1979 or 80. Life has a funny way of turning out – we got married the same year (1990), and had our first babies exactly 2 weeks apart in 1994!

    We first met IRL when we went to NZ on holidays in ’91, and got on like a house on fire. I went back in 1995 when she was tragically widowed.

    Earlier this year my family went on a cruise to NZ and we met up with Cath & her kids – first time in 17 years! It was great! Afterwards my daughter Miss 15 said: “Mum you have the coolest friends!”

    These days we mainly keep in touch via Facebook – letters are a thing of the past …

    • Wow Janet – what an amazing story and so lovely that you got to meet before she lost her husband. Isnt it funny how sometimes you just click with people and isnt it sad that kids of today wont get the thrill of those lovely letters waiting in the mailbox when they get home from school?? Thanks for visiting x

  3. My sister had a penpal in Sweden. She wrote to her from the age of 7 and as far as I know they still do – probably emails now.

    When my sister was 21 she went to sweden to meet her on an open ticket. They hit it off like they had been bestfriends for years and she ended up spending a month with her!

    I hope my daughter will one day have a penpal – hoping it will be one of my friends in the UK’s daughter who was born 10 days after she was.

    The art of pen and paper needs to return!

  4. I had a penpal in Malaysia who I met when I was 12 – she stopped writing after she met me……. I am going with that says more about her than me – ha ha. Facebook, blogging and twitter have definitely taken over from the whole pen pal thing and I have made some great friends inside my computer 🙂

  5. Loved having penpals I had two one in France and one in Germany. I also wrote to my girlfriends in Spain when we moved to the UK and now from Australia write to both Spain and the UK. We have a sponsor child and Mr 7 writes to him and also his Godmother who is in the UK. Miss 16 through travelling with hockey has made some amazing friendsgips and she writes letters too.


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