We asked readers to tell us about pen pals they found through the Monitor's Mail Bag column, which ran from 1929 to 1969. Here are some excerpts from a few of your responses.
Thanks to Jayne Hanlin for sharing her Mail Bagger adventure in the April 9 Monitor. While my memories are vivid of the wonderful correspondence I shared with a young woman from Hong Kong, I had forgotten that the origin of our pen pal friendship was through that Monitor column.
I was a high school student in Long Beach, Calif., at the time our correspondence began – probably 1959. It wasn't long before the two of us were exchanging long, newsy letters. We wrote about our families, our friends, our countries, our schools, our basic life values and beliefs, our hopes and dreams, and, of course, world events.
A highlight for me was visiting with Margaret and her family in Hong Kong during the summer of 1961. My family had moved to Okinawa in April 1960 because my father was in the Air Force. Margaret and her family invited me to visit with them. Because we had corresponded for years, it seemed as if we all already knew each other. Our conversations never slowed a moment. Years later, my family was able to assist Margaret when she was traveling to the United States.
Margaret and I corresponded through our college years and well into our adult years. It was a satisfying exchange and one that contributed to my lasting appreciation for the differences and similarities we all share as human beings.
When I was about 10 years old, my mother took me to a Christian Science Sunday School for the first time. My Sunday school teacher handed out rolled-up copies of the Monitor. When I got home, I began to read my copy and found Elsie D. in South Africa who was looking for a pen pal. I wrote to her and thus began what has become an 80-year-long friendship. I am now 91 years old. I have been to South Africa three times, and she has come to visit me here in Colorado once.
When I think upon our years of friendship, I realize that it has lasted through apartheid, two world wars, and numerous other historical events. Our friendship has continued through handwritten letters, phone calls, and even e-mails!
In Elsie's most recent letter, she commented that we should be in the Guinness World Records book! I feel blessed to have found her through the Mail Bag. My hope is for others to be blessed with similar friendships and adventures.
Estes Park, Colo.