When I was 14-16 I was part of a theatrical group that would put on musicals every summer. One summer one of the girls I acted with had a foreign exchange student living with her whom she would occasionally bring to rehearsals. This is when I first met Floria, Flo for short. Flo was from Germany and we were fast friends. I spent quite a bit of time with Flo that summer, we had a lot in common like our birthday for example. When Flo went back to Germany we agreed to write each other and this is how I became a pen pal.
I feel like pen pals are not something that exist in the traditional sense anymore. At most you might be pen pals through email but it is not the same as writing out a letter on stationary and sending through the mail. And there is nothing like receiving a hand written letter this way.
Flo’s letters usually came in bulk. She would write me over the course of a few weeks and send them all together. It was easier this way since we lived so far apart and the mail took longer to travel. She had lots of fun stationary and colored ink. She always sent stickers and photos. I did all the same in return.
This went on for about 3 years. Every year Flo would stay up late and call long distance to wish me a happy birthday on our birthday. I looked forward to her call every year, it was the one time I got to hear her voice and catch up for a few minutes by phone.
I still have my letters from Flo, one day I will share them with my children. I think all the progress I have seen in my lifetime is extraordinary although, it is kind of sad when you think of some of the special things that fall by the wayside as a result of progress. I mean I hear they are not even teaching cursive skills in school anymore. I kind of get it, is that skill really useful anymore? I don’t know. Penmanship counted for something during the days of pen pals though.