More Pen Pal Friendships

More stories from readers about their pen pals.

| September/October 2010

  • Kangaroos
    Has Made Three Trips to Australia to Visit Lifelong Pen Pal: Six years ago, Laverne made her second trip to Australia to visit her lifelong pen pal, Ruth. While there, they visited wildlife preserves, where they enjoyed watching kangaroos play in their natural habitat. Nair

  • Kangaroos

Has Made Three Trips to Australia to Visit Lifelong Pen Pal

I have been writing to my pen pal, Ruth, since I was a junior in high school, 63 years ago, when my English teacher told our class that she had names and addresses of students in foreign lands who wanted pen pals. It wasn’t required, but it sounded fun. I chose a girl from Australia and wrote her a letter. She sent a reply back, stating that she had too many pen pals so she had given my name to her friend, Ruth.

Ruth and I wrote to each other quite often. After high school, we both married and had children – she had three children, and I had 14. We always had plenty to talk about. Later, her husband died, and so did mine. We still have plenty to talk about.

In 2000, my children decided it was time Ruth and I met, so for my 70th birthday, they sent me to Australia. Ruth and her daughter-in-law, Ann, met me at the Melbourne airport, and when we saw each other, it was as though we’d known each other all our lives. But, in a way, we had known each other most of our lives. We had a great time getting to know each other in person, and it was a wonderful trip.

Four years later, I went to visit Ruth and Ann again, this time taking my youngest daughter, Beverly, and my granddaughter, Vanessa. Again, it was a great trip, and I even got to see some of the friends I’d met on my first visit to Australia. We did many things while there, including visiting wildlife preserves, where we saw many kangaroos.

Last year, Vanessa graduated high school in Germany, where my son is stationed in the Air Force. As a graduation gift to her, Vanessa’s dad, Beverly and I took her to Australia again, where we once again met up with my old friend, Ruth.

This year, Ruth and I will both celebrate our 80th birthdays. Ruth and Ann had planned to make a trip to the United States to visit me at my home in Missouri, where we had a birthday bash planned. However, due to her health, Ruth decided she shouldn’t make the trip. While we are still planning to go ahead with the party, Ruth and Ann will be greatly missed. All of my children, family and friends were looking forward to meeting this great woman I’ve called my friend for more than 60 years. And I, of course, was excited about seeing Ruth again, too. I guess I’ll just have to go to Australia again.



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