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 excerpts from a few of your responses.
I found pen pals through the Mail Bag column in the 1930s when I was a teenager. I had many pen pals from all over the world, but two very special ones. One of them, Maureen, was from Birmingham, Ala. We kept in touch often and visited each other. I still keep in touch with her daughter, Nancy. My older daughter, Norma, also developed a friendship with her daughter, which continues today. My other close pen pal, Mitzi, was from the Bronx in New York. I met her when I attended the 1939 World's Fair. After World War II, Mitzi moved to California, which is where I also lived. She married and had three children, and I still keep in touch with two of them. I also corresponded with other pen pals from Germany and England and met pen pals who lived in New Jersey, Boston, Toronto, and Ohio. The Mail Bag was a wonderful way to make friends with similar backgrounds.
Betty Hanwell Polak
I have been reading your Mail Bag series with interest. While I did not have a pen pal through this program, I did correspond with a Japanese girl in California before she was sent to an internment camp during World War II. I can't help but wonder where she is today! Writing to a pen pal is a wonderful way for people to learn about other cultures.
My daughter, who, at an early age, yearned to travel, wanted to correspond with a girl in a foreign country. When she found a pen pal in Germany through the Mail Bag column, she was probably 10 years old. The two girls began a friendship that saw her pen pal, Christa, writing from Frankfurt, visiting us in Kentucky, and later visiting our daughter who by that time had gotten married, had three children, and was living in Houston. I should add that my daughter and her husband now live in Beijing and also have a home in London. She's a real traveler, and it all started with the Mail Bag, I'm sure.
Shirley S. McLean
• Send your Mail Bag story to firstname.lastname@example.org or to Mail Bag – Home Forum, The Christian Science Monitor, 210 Massachusetts Ave., P02-30, Boston, MA 02115.