01 02 03 Prone to Wander: pen pals 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

pen pals


One of my favorite parts of the day is getting the mail.

The snail mail, I mean.

Like, when I literally trot out to the mailbox, open it up and peer in.

Sometimes a handful of envelopes will greet me.

Sometimes it is only a thin cardstock advertisement for a car dealership.

Sometimes nothing.

When I was younger, maybe eight or so…

I religiously read a magazine, Clubhouse.  On the last page of one magazine, there was a place to send off your name and address and receive a pen pal in return! Someone from anywhere in the world to write and receive letters!

My very first pen pal was Mary from Washington state.

She had dark brown hair, five brothers, and liked to play soccer.

Pretty soon I had another pen pal. Carrie from Canada.

Carrie liked cats, parties and she always wrote about her boyfriend, Derek.  (She was only ten…)

Pretty soon I gained more pen pals. One from Florida. One from California. One from Indiana. There were these things called “FBs” (friendship books) that were sent around for serious penpalers.  In an FB, you wrote down your name and address if you wanted any more pen pals. If you received an FB, then you would scan through names and addresses and write a letter to anyone who you were interested in pen paling with.

When I was 11-15, I spent afternoons writing letters to people all over the world. On any average day I might have gotten 5-10 letters in the mail. It was the most exciting part of my day. The most pen pals I had at one given time was 80.  My parents bought me stationery, envelopes and stamps for Christmas. What an exciting time.

My pen pal hobby dwindled when I was around 16…I became much more interested in cheerleading and boys.

Now, at 30 I don’t really have any official pen pals.

But still, I love writing and receiving letters. Usually they are to and from my grammy and Aunt Laura. 

And still, when I see the mailman coming our way, my heart beats fast. What if he brings something other than bills?! What if he brings a letter?!

Every day I wait for him and sit there, hopeful.

And just once in a while, he will bring something special.

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