Are Pen Friends a thing of the past?

On a UK TV programme on the weekend a woman was united with her pen pal who she has been writing to for over 50 years. Imagine all those letters flying back and forth from the UK to the USA. Thoughts of family, growing up, getting married, the losses you endure all shared with someone you’ve never met.

I suppose in these days of Social Media we all share thoughts like this with comparative strangers. For goodness sake I share this blog with the World Wide Web!!!

To some younger people this may seem ‘odd’ to write letters to someone you don’t know, but when I was in school in the 60’s and 70’s we were encouraged to write to people in other countries. There was a company in Finland (I think) that worked with schools all around the world. You paid a small fee and they sent you names and addresses of other members that you could write to.

My Uncle Billy was curious and also joined the PenPal club, he started writing to a girl in the Midlands and they eventually met and married.

At one time I wrote 4 different pen pals:

A boy whose name I cannot recall. He lived in Greece and although his english wasn’t good we managed to get by for about a year. Unfortunately there was an earthquake near his home and I never heard from him after that. I hope it was just losing my address and nothing untoward happened to him. I did try writing to him but never did get a reply – perhaps his house was lost in the earthquake.

A girl called Tarja Tamminen from Finland. We wrote for a few years and she sent me a cup and saucer in the post that I still have today.

A girl called Annique Debondues from Hallouin in France she always wrote in French and I had to translate her letters. It certainly made me better at my french studies!

Lastly a girl call Peytie Purdue (or Perdue..) from the Alabama area of the USA. I loved getting letters from her. Most were on funny shaped paper and she once wrote in a circular fashion on a round shaped notelet! She was very gregarious and seemed very outgoing, talking about going out and boys. She was so much fun!

But of course over time the letters are sent at longer periods and eventually dried up as we all grew up and left school.

I wonder where they are today? What did they do with their lives? So if you’re reading this and you see your name above and remember writing to Susan Jordan, leave me a comment to say Hello after all these years!!

So dear reader – did you have / do you have a pen pal? What is your experience? I’d love to know!!


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