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.
I'm so grateful that the Monitor gave me the opportunity at age 10 to reach across the sea and make a lifelong friend of my pen pal, Muriel. We have corresponded for more than 60 years and have had the great joy of sharing our lives with each other by mail and also the special treat of meeting in person three times.
In 1955, her parents invited my mom and dad and me to spend a few days with them in Bath, England. By this time Muriel was working in London, but came for a day so we could meet each other for the first time. Visiting with her parents and learning more about their lives has remained a special memory to me. Then in the 1980s, my husband and I traveled to Coventry to visit with Muriel and her husband, George. We did some sightseeing in the area and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The guys got along well – enjoyed sharing their "war stories." More recently, my daughter and I took a trip to Scotland, and Muriel came to Edinburgh to be with us for two days. My daughter kept exclaiming, "This lady knows all about me, and I never even met her!" My thanks to the Monitor for making this wonderful friendship possible.
Helen Maxell Taini
Mail Bag gave me a most wonderful friendship, and I learned history and language from the experience. We may read much about another culture, but the actual contact and communication with those of another culture is best.
When I visited my friend and his family in France, the family treated me as one of their own. We dined on the Champs Élysées and visited a chateau. The family patriarch then visited us several times. During World War II, he was working as a slave laborer on a farm north of Paris. Just before the Normandy invasion, he was thrilled to see American planes in the sky over him. As a result, he loves the United States.
My pen pal and I have kept up our correspondence, and we share newspaper and magazine articles. Other friends, while traveling, have called on our French friends to say hello for us. All of this is because of Monitor Mail Bag. Thank you for this enduring experience.
Henry G. Rutledge
Fair Oaks, Calif.