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 for the article on the "Mail Bag match." I responded to the letters for a pen pal about 1950 and corresponded with Kimiko Shinagawa, a girl my own age in Kyoto, Japan. We were both in high school at the time and exchanged letters, cards, and gifts. She sent me several drawings that she had done that were really beautiful, especially to someone who could not draw or paint. Our correspondence continued for several years after high school, but somewhere along the way, we quit writing. I have always regretted that we did not keep in touch.
I still have all the letters and cards that she wrote. Several years ago, when a local Girl Scout troop was doing a presentation on Japan for the organization's Thinking Day, which spotlights countries around the world, they used the cards, drawings, and letters in their display. Even though these letters were more than 40 years old, the girls who viewed them were very impressed.
It was a wonderful program, and I was glad that I could participate in it.
My pen-pal experience began in San Francisco in May 1937; I had just turned 6 years old. With my mother's help, I wrote to the children's column in the Monitor, telling of the historical opening of the Golden Gate Bridge on May 28, 1937.
I received an answer to my letter from Verna, also 6 years old, from Milwaukee, Wis. Thus began our correspondence and friendship of 70-plus years. Letters and cards crossed the miles during our growing-up years and college experiences. Verna graduated from the University of Wisconsin with an elementary teaching credential and came to California to teach. I also became an elementary-level teacher in Berkeley, Calif.
It was a happy day at the railway station in Berkeley when we met for the first time face to face! We were in our early 20s. Verna met a naval officer and went home to Wisconsin to be married. Unfortunately, we couldn't attend each other's weddings, but the letters regularly continued. We enjoyed following the progress of our families, sharing joys and challenges.
In more recent years, we've enjoyed visits with our husbands and children. One can't imagine how much fun it is to have e-mail with frequent letters and pictures of grandchildren.
Margary Lilly Mallory