Pen pals

I have a new pen pal! It happened like this: I got an email from a reader of one of my myriad online writings. She took a leap of faith and asked if I wanted to correspond, either via email, traditional mail, or both. She shared information about her life, her family, her country.

She is from Germany by way of Italy, and it is through my love of All Things Italian that we came in contact with each other. I was hesitant at first to say too much; after all, you don’t get to be a midlife woman in New England without hearing all sorts of stories of scammers presenting themselves as Something Other Than Who They Are.

But then a funny thing happened: I decided to take a leap of faith too. As part of my year of turning 50, I had previously decided that,when presented with an idea that appeals to me, to just go with it. No whim will be turned away. So I answered her email.

I have had other writing relationships over the years.  When I was in middle school, there was a pen pal in Korea (not sure how I became “pals” with her; probably a school project). When my friend Sheila moved many states away from me (sob!) about 22 years ago, we started writing to ease the pain. We continued, too; even though I stubbornly resisted, we eventually switched to email from legal pads and are still writing to each other nearly every day, all these years later.

Come to think of it, I have many “email pals” among my friends now. We ‘talk’ through texting, emailing, and IM’ing. Since all of us are so busy, it allows me to include my friends in my daily life, friends whom I might otherwise go long stretches of time without seeing.

Hel-lo? In the 22 years since Sheila left, we’ve seen each other in person twice, I think (forgive me if that’s wrong, Sheila, but you know how the midlife memory works–it doesn’t!).

How do you maintain friendships?


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