Our Pen Pal At Ninety Two

BY JOHN DERBY
Times Publisher

December 8, 2016

It was almost three years ago when the letter came in the mail addressed personally to the publisher. Written in beautiful script, the writer used a yellow pad similar to the one which we use to cover meetings .
The letter was cheerful and uplifting, and the writer said she read the local newspaper from cover to cover. Seldom do we get such a positive review from a longtime reader.
Out of respect and maybe a little sense of humor, we answered her letter, writing in long hand on one of our yellow pads. Our script was not nearly as clear nor as beautiful, since it was seldom used.
Writing in script had gone out of fashion years ago. Our father used to write to us in long hand while we were in boarding school. He was an excellent script writer and we found out later he would never send the original letter but would rewrite it once he was satisfied with the content.
In those days, we were required to write home once a week. It was our only contact with home and naturally it was done in script.
That was 70 years ago and our pen pal brought back those memories when her letters arrived in the mail.
In the next two years the hand written letters went back and forth. We learned about her life and her family, and she learned about ours, living on the boat, traveling to Mexico in the winter and coming back to help run the newspaper in the spring and summer.
Her letters were refreshing and related to her family gatherings. With each passing year we seemed to have more medical issues which kept us going back to the hospital for one reason or the other.
We had been writing for two years when we received her latest letter. It was such a great letter , cheering us up as we returned from the hospital. We wanted to return it immediately, however, we could not find a yellow pad that was handy. We opted for a small green pad which was laying on our desk.
We scribbled a short note apologizing for the change in pad, but we wanted to get something in the mail and explained that we were out of the hospital and well on the road to recovery. We slipped the green pad note in the mail.
A day or two later we received an envelope from our Pen Pal which was so thick it would hardly fit in our mail box. On opening the envelope, we were surprised to see no yellow pad note, but each page of the letter was written on a different kind of note pad.
She said she was not bound to the yellow page pad, as she had a thousand different pads in her house from years of collecting them.
It was so funny that we had to laugh and we couldn’t stop until the pain from the stitches from our recent operation started hurting.
Our 92-year-old pen pal had hit our funny bone with her letter of many pads.


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