We asked readers to tell us about the pen pals they found through the Monitor's Mail Bag column, which ran from 1929 to 1969. Over the next several weeks, we will print excerpts of responses.
Pen pal in common
It was a delight to read Jayne Hanlin's story (April 9) about getting to know Fumiko, originally her sister's pen pal, in Japan. Through the Monitor's Mail Bag, I found three pen pals when I was 10 or 11: one in Germany, one in South Africa, and ... Fumiko! Eventually, only Fumiko continued to write, and she became my first friend when I went to teach in Tokyo not long after graduating from college. I was privileged to participate in her wedding that year and, much more recently, to get to know her grown son and daughter.
Last year, Jayne Hanlin, whom I have never met, showed up on my morning e-mail with news to share of Fumiko. So now I have a new pen pal courtesy (indirectly) of the Mail Bag!
Across the Atlantic
In 1957, when I was 17 and living in New Hampshire, Christine Allen of England saw my name in the Monitor's Mail Bag column, and we began to correspond. We have continued to write, send gifts, and occasionally visit.
I traveled in Europe during the summer of 1962 and met Chris, and her brother, and their parents in England. In 1964, she visited my family in Maine, where we went sailing with my brother and also took a trip to the World's Fair in New York.
Carolyn Haskins Roth
• Tell us about your Mail Bag experience. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.