Penpals

Throughout my childhood my father was in the Army, and so were all my friend's fathers too. That combined with ever-changing economics led to a lot of moving around. I often felt my heart was strewn out across the world wondering what had happened to so and so, curious if I was missed. My mother's advice was always to write whichever friend was on my mind. She's always been a master at long-distance relationships, and never lets go of a friend. For the most part, I tend to be a love the one you're with type.

I have made so many friends over the years and across the continents and states that I feel I could write a book about the art and grace and necessity of making friends. And yet ... I am so deeply envious of the experience of living in just one place, knowing a person from year to year, and them knowing me too. Sustaining friendship.

There are a few friends I've never forgotten, a family member here and there who I've managed to keep close to my heart through the art of letter writing - the handwritten type. The type that says I purposed to communicate with just you. My hand hurts a bit because I felt the need to stop and share a part of my life with you. I just wanted you to know that I was thinking of you, and I cared. My grandmother and I shared correspondence until the week she passed away. It meant intimacy and love to me.

A friend recently invited Sofie to join a penpal group with her son, and today she received her first mail. She was so joyful when she saw her name on the letters. It reminded me of the letters I would receive back in the mail, the anticipation and delight of tearing it open and peering into someone else's heart and mind for a moment.


I dearly hope we can provide a life for her with lasting friendships and closeness to family. Most of all, I'd like her to know God and find the human need for being known and loved fulfilled.

I want to share her first letter with you. It was typed by me (except her name), but is entirely her own words.

"Hola A.,


I'm talking to you in Spanish. It's a different language.


Thank you for your letter. I am going to type my name. It is Sofie. I am four-years-old. I have a brother, Andrew, who likes to play everyday. He is one-year-old.


I like Dora, Tico Squirrel, Isa Iguana, and Boots so much. Have you ever seen Dora? Do you have Netflix on your computer or no? My mom lets me watch Dora on her computer sometimes.


I want you to see a penguin wallowing in a bad mood. I want you to see an octopus dancing on your foot with all 8 octopus feet. Did that crack you up?


I like your drawing so much. One side looks like a swimming pool with people about to jump in. I hope they have underwear.


I love to color and play outside too, especially golf. I like my new croquet set my mom bought me at a garage sale. You need to put the giraffe in the ground, and hit the ball through the giraffes legs, and then you win. Garage sales are very very hot, but daddy will give you money for them and not for stores.


Thank you for sending your picture. You and C. look very handsome. Girls aren’t handsome you know.


Do you count stars at night? It helps me go to sleep.


That’s a lot of words.


Adios and Matios,


Sofie"


Isn't she charming? :)

After helping her write letters, and draw pictures this morning I was inspired to look up my dearest childhood penpal on FB, and I found her! I can't wait for her to see my friend request. I have an obnoxious cassette we recorded of ourselves singing (hardly), and me bossing her endlessly. Where does Sofie get it from?

I'm so happy the internet makes the world seem smaller and friends closer.

Love to you all, Dee2

2 comments

Christi said...

I love the part about daddy giving money at garage sales but not at stores :) What a creative mind she has! I remember having penpals and how much fun it was to get a letter in the mail. Even now I get so excited when I get anything that is hand-addressed to me. There is definitely a closeness about it, something so personal there, instead of the constant digital contact we have. Thanks for sharing!!

Jessica said...

Her letter was the best thing I've read all day---she is so creative and vibrant.

I remember when my best friend moved in 3rd grade--we used to write to each other...I miss writing people...maybe we should be pen pals