Pen Pal Friendships

Readers share personal accounts of their pen pals.

| September/October 2010

  • Letter from 1956
    Hawaiian Pen Pal: Carolyn has kept the letters from her pen pal for more than 50 years.
    Carolyn – Sutherland, Iowa
  • Pen Pal from England
    England and America Meet Through Pen Pal Program: Nola and her pen pal, Robert, from England, learned many things about one another through their letters.
    Nola – Bartlesville, Oklahoma
  • Game of Chess
    Correspondence Chess Introduced People All Over the World: The game of chess was great fun, and James met many interesting people.
  • Receiving Letter in Mail
    Many Common Interests: Receiving a letter in the mail from a pen pal brightens the day and demands immediate attention from the recipient.
    Jupiter Images
  • Lifelong Pen Pals
    Long-Distance Friendship Still Going Strong After Nearly 60 Years: Pen pals Romona (left) and Maureen enjoyed meeting in person in the summer of 1959. This photo was taken outside of Shakespeare’s Cottage, Stratford-on-Avon, England.
    Romona – Grinnell, Iowa
  • Berlin Wall
    Special Friendship Survived Cold War in Germany: Graffiti and greetings cover the remaining sections of the Berlin Wall that was built separating East and West Berlin, Germany, during the Cold War. The opening was a way to freedom for many. Nielsen

  • Letter from 1956
  • Pen Pal from England
  • Game of Chess
  • Receiving Letter in Mail
  • Lifelong Pen Pals
  • Berlin Wall

England and America Meet Through Pen Pal Program

In today’s world, writing letters is almost obsolete, and Facebook (a social networking website where people can keep in touch with friends and family on the Internet) has taken the place of pen pals. For people who use Facebook, the more names they can tie into and add as “friends,” the more contact they have with friends and family. However, they don’t know what they’re missing by using Facebook instead of having actual pen pals.

Writing letters to a pen pal – or anybody in your life for that matter – means sharing your life and feelings with a person, then waiting in anticipation for days – or what used to be weeks – to receive a written response in the mail.

I didn’t have a special boyfriend in high school, and maybe that’s why I liked the idea of having a pen pal from overseas. I don’t remember where I heard about the pen pal program, or where I got Robert’s name, but I began a pen pal relationship with this young man from England.

We wrote many letters back and forth and exchanged numerous photographs over a few years. I learned some interesting things about England, and I assume he learned some interesting things about my life in the United States of America.

After graduation, we both got busy with other activities, and we stopped writing. But it was an experience I’ve never forgotten, and one that will always remind me of a time when communication was something that was more personal and not done over the Internet through social networking websites like Facebook.

Nola - Bartlesville, Oklahoma

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