Meeting after 21 years – The Penpal Edition

how to find a uk penpal

This is a picture of my family on my Mum’s side. We all had a rare getogether yesterday at my Auntie and Uncle’s house. We are quite spread out across the country so getting us together doesn’t happen very often but yesterday was a special day.

My Auntie responded to an advert in a sewing magazine 21 years ago, asking for a penpal. For 21 years, Linda (in green) and Julie (in red) have been writing letters and cards to each other across the world. Julie and her husband, Peter live in Perth, Australia with their 5 grown up children. They are on a tour of Europe (Julie has been travelling for 10 weeks) and along the way are meeting up with some of Julie’s other penpals. Julie has been to Denmark, Paris, Edinburgh and yesterday arrived in St Helens.

The two of them said on meeting for the first time, that it was like they really knew each other. There was loads they wanted to say to each other. They have been introduced to each other’s families in writing over the years, they have heard all about each other’s children growing up, the arrival (& imminent arrival) of grandchildren and extended family getting married.

My Auntie has put strings of cards and postcards around her living room while Julie and Peter visit – they filled 3 walls and were only a sample of what has arrived over the past 21 years. We saw albums of photographs that have kept each other informed of family developments over time.

If ever anyone has contemplated starting penpal correspondence, yesterday was the perfect example of how fabulous it can work out. Even though both penpals have emails they continue to write longhand – they have only succumbed to email over the past few weeks while Julie has been travelling and they needed to make arrangements for the big meet up.

Popping champagne - Uncle Ernie and Australian Peter

Popping champagne – Uncle Ernie and Australian Peter

I worked out that my Auntie Linda was my age now when she ‘met up’ with Julie. Julie has encouraged her children to have penpals – her son is in his mid twenties and met up with a German penpal of his in the past couple of weeks. Their letters waned over the years but Facebook was responsible for them meeting up again.

If any readers are interested in becoming a penpal, give me a shout. I’m all for it now after having such a fabulous day yesterday.

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