She lived in the Midwest; I lived in the Northeast. We ‘met’ via a Sunday School take home paper which featured a column where children could write in requesting a pen pal. I saw her request one Sunday afternoon reading my paper at home after church and decided to write her a letter. I was so very excited when she wrote back as I’ve always loved getting mail.
That connection commenced a 50-year-long friendship in hand-written letters.
My pen pal and I wrote about life in the eyes of a tween age girl: school, family, grades, television shows, pets, likes and dislikes. By the time we became teenagers, we added topics of boys, who we liked, who we wanted to date, clothes, fads, music, and what movie or recording stars we had crushes on in our letters to one another.
We were the same age and our birthdays were just a few days apart so we always sent each other birthday greetings. When we graduated from high school, we sent each other cards with a graduation charm taped inside to add to our charm bracelets which were all the rage at the time. I still have my circle of silver and can show you exactly which charm came from my pen pal friend.
Both of us headed off to college yet we still managed to write to one another. She left school early to get married and her military husband took her to places she probably never dreamed of living when she was a young girl growing up outside of a small town. I married after college and the same life ensued for me. Still with all the changes and moves across the country, we never lost track of one another and continued to communicate by mail.
We celebrated the birth of our children, sending each other baby gifts. In between writing snippets of our lives, we traded baby photos, then school photos as our children grew up. I cheered her on when she went back to college to finish her degree. We always told each other that someday we would meet in person. By the time my family moved to the Midwest, within driving distance of where my pen pal came from, she lived on the West Coast. By the time we moved to the West Coast, she again lived in the Midwest.
On one occasion we thought our paths would cross in person and we would finally get to meet but the stars didn’t align properly that time. After all of these years, she again lives in the Midwest and I am back where I started from – my hometown.
Yet we still keep in touch. Once a year we write each other newsy letters and tuck them into our Christmas greetings to each other. And even though we’ve never seen each other in person, I consider my pen pal my friend.
Writing letters has become passé it seems. Emails and texting have taken their place and that does sadden me. But this age of technology has provided me with more pen pals in a way. I have been blessed to ‘meet’ and develop some of the dearest friendships through writing ‘letters’ yet again – right here in Mama’s Empty Nest.
So as part of my 30 days of thanks giving, I’m so very grateful for my ‘pen pals.’ “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…” ~ Philippians 1:3-4
And even though we haven’t met in person (yet), these friends bless me with their friendship through comments and personal letters that just don’t come in my real mailbox but in my virtual one. I am thankful for each one of them.
“Friends are like bracelet charms. If you truly love and enjoy your friends, they are part of the golden circlet that makes life good.” ~ Unknown