I’m positive that the term “pen pal” is anachronistic. I believe that younger people don’t write letters. I doubt they even write e-mails any longer. But I have two pen pals, and I’d like to have one or two more.
My mother had scads of pen pals who shared her birthday. Mother would get out her ink pen (not a ball point, a real honest-to-God ink pen) and she would faithfully answer each letter that came to the house. They mostly talked about family, and what was new in their lives, and these friends began to feel like family to her.
I came to understand how Mother felt about her pen pals when I tripped into my pen pal’s life, probably more than fifteen years ago. At the time I was trying my hand at blogging. My friend’s husband was a blogger, and I met her through his blog. Neither of us realized that we were starting an on-line friendship that would last years.
We visit via e-mail. (If I had to use an ink pen, she would never be able to read the letters.) There have been times when we posted once every week to ten days, but lately I have been needier, and I’ve sent notes every other day, and sometimes twice a day. (Note: that’s likely due to covid-19 and the need to shelter at home.) She’s been very gracious about the flurry of notes. We chat about weather, and she shares her cat’s antics with me. (I am without pets, sadly.) We talk about politics and recipes, gardening and news in general. We talk about our children and grandchildren. I share my husband’s terrible sense of humor and she encourages him. She’s become family.
I wrote to her about ennui, and she was very encouraging. When I feel down, she lifts me up. When I am ebullient, she celebrates with me. I hope I do the same for her.
I think it might be difficult to find another pen-pal as perfect as she. I’m happy to be following in my Mother’s footsteps.