From Penfriends to Online Friends

Val MillsStarred Page By Val Mills, 17th Mar 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/67bwx39d/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

Letter writing in childhood began a life long interest in writing. The method of communication may be different but people still link with like minded people around the world.

Writing Letters to Penfriends

From the moment I received my first letter from my penfriend Nancy, living in Seattle, I became hooked on writing letters to penfriends. It became addictive as I reached out to new friends in countries all around the world.
I don't remember all their names now, but letters filled my letter box from towns and cities in England, USA, Japan, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany and probably others I've long since forgotten.
Three contributing factors fueled my enthusiasm. The process of writing letters filled much of my spare time. I carefully considered what each recipient would enjoy hearing about from my daily life and bundled off pages, every space filled with hundreds of written words.
Receiving letters in return became another highlight of my day. At one stage I had so many penfriends hardly a day passed by without an envelope covered in exotic stamps waiting for me when I arrived home.
Learning about life in other countries also became part of the passion connected with writing to penfriends. We exchanged not only letters, but photos and other small mementos as we shared daily life not so easily gleaned from books.

Finding Soul Mates around the World

Some penfriend relationships lasted longer than others, just as in real life relationships. Only a few letters were needed to know if this was someone I'd really like to continue writing to. I met, on paper, some amazing people and many of us continued writing right up until teenage years merged into adulthood and more immediate relationships took priority.
I loved reading about life in snow-clad Sweden, at a time I had never seen snow except in books. As a young swimmer I treasured the mementos my two Japanese penfriends sent me from the Tokyo Olympics in 1964.
I practiced my school girl German with my penfriend in Germany, at the same time using the photos of his gorgeous looks to win brownie points with my friends.
I kept a notebook of ideas as I constantly searched for things to write about.
We all shared laughter and tears, school trials and teenage angst throughout our letter relationships.

From Pen to Keyboard

In recent years worldwide communication has again become an important part of my life. Although letter writing eventually ceased, giving way to real life priorities, the desire to write never left me.
As I became more familiar with the internet I discovered an outlet for my writing with the discovery of many online writing sites. I started hunting for ideas to write about, often changing direction and style, but always writing.
Soon, the need to establish followers and friends for my work became evident. Just as with letter writing, connections were made throughout the world, some of them proving stronger and more lasting than others.
It seems I've now exchanged penfriends for blog and writing site friends as the communication continues.

The Excitement of the Mail Box

Once my family wooden letter box sitting out at the gate protected letters from all around the world from the weather, until the box was cleared. The old family cat, Tinker, sat on top of the box, guarding the treasures within.
Now another mail box fills me with anticipation. Each morning, as soon as I'm awake, I eagerly look to see what communications lie in my e-mail mail box, No longer decorated with exotic postal stamps, a simple sender name and message title alerts me to what has arrived over night,
The mail box is no longer guarded by an old cat, but by a password of my choice, which does the same job our old Tinker boy did.
It seemed to me this morning times may have changed, methods of communication may be different, but people still reach out to each other across the world. Long may it continue.
Other writing by Val Mills:
Writers Should Never Leave Home Without Their Notebook
Writing Letters to Penfriends
Why Choosing a Writing Site is Like Choosing a Hairdresser
Keeping a Personal Journal Can Be a Writer's Best Tool

Tags

Communication, Friendship, International Relationships, Writing, Writing Letters

Meet the author

author avatar Val Mills
Self-published writer, coffee drinker, enjoying life. Also found at
writingyourstories.wordpress.com and http://downatthebaths.blogspot.co.nz/

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Comments

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
17th Mar 2013 (#)

When I was younger I had pen friends from other parts of the world, it is a great way to connect.

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author avatar Val Mills
17th Mar 2013 (#)

It cost heaps in postage stamps though!

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author avatar C.D. Moore
17th Mar 2013 (#)

I had to teach my 12 yr old grand son how to address an envelope and where to put the stamp!

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author avatar Val Mills
17th Mar 2013 (#)

I know what you mean C.D. - envelopes may become endangered!

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author avatar johnnydod
17th Mar 2013 (#)

Its always good to follow you Val

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author avatar Val Mills
17th Mar 2013 (#)

Thanks Johnny - cute new pic :-)

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author avatar Retired
17th Mar 2013 (#)

Delightful!

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author avatar Shirley Shuler
18th Mar 2013 (#)

What a wonderful post, Val. I am following you here :).

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author avatar Md Rezaul Karim
18th Mar 2013 (#)

Interesting and nice read. Thanks.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
18th Mar 2013 (#)

I remember when I was young some of my friends had lots of penfriends that kept them excited. Keeping in touch comes naturally as we are still a social animal! May the bonding last whatever way technology leads us and wherever. Thanks Val for an excellent post that touches a chord in me - siva .

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
18th Mar 2013 (#)

pen pals are marvellous...thank you for this Val...

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author avatar Delicia Powers
19th Mar 2013 (#)

Fantastic subject and article, as a mail carriers wife and a lover of poetry...this was just wonderful...

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author avatar Songbird B
19th Mar 2013 (#)

Another really interesting Star article Val..I so loved receiving letters from friends, and still do, but it's true, now I find more in my email box than on the doorstep..\0/x

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author avatar M G Singh
26th Mar 2013 (#)

A nice article reminding of a bygone age

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