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Par avion post

On a long ago St. Patrick’s Day, I wrote this post:

Dear Colleen,

I’m sorry I haven’t written in 22 years. To say I’ve been busy the entire time wouldn’t be entirely accurate.

I think of you, my childhood pen pal, often. We were matched by my Girl Scout troop when I was nine years old. You were ten, but glad to have me as a pen pal despite having 10% more years of living under your Girl Guide sash. You were across the Atlantic Ocean on the island of Ireland. The stamps you attached to the airmail envelopes said “Eire” on them and I was quite impressed. They always seemed to feature gryphons and gargoyles, wild creatures from wild Eire. I thought you were just as exotic.

I remember asking in one letter if you believed in leprechauns and banshees. My ideas of the Irish were formed by too many viewings of “Darby O’Gill and the Little People.” You wrote back and said no, you didn’t. I was slightly disappointed, so I moved on to the next monster of the British Isles—Nessie, of Loch Ness.

No, you didn’t believe in her either, and you gently pointed out that she lives in Scotland. Wisely, I didn’t ask you about Abominable Snowmen. If I had a pen pal in the Alps, she would have been asked about the mythical creatures in her backyard.

One of your letters informed me your father drove a Ford Grenada. I had never heard of a Ford Grenada, and I had seen plenty of car commercials. You wore a uniform to school. You sent a picture of yourself, taken in your confirmation dress. You looked like a bride. You liked a boy named John. Once, you sent Irish coins. It’s a miracle the flimsy airmail envelope managed to get them from ancient County Galway to nouveau-ancient western Colorado. You were a girl like me, with dark brown curly hair and light eyes. When you sent your picture, I thought you could have been my sister.

We wrote for about three years, then stopped. I think it was because we were young teenagers and the world outside our bedroom doors was distracting—we didn’t notice the slowing of the stamps. I kept your letters for many years in my top dresser drawer. I am sad to say I do not know what happened to them. Despite not having the letters, I still remember your childhood address and still remember what you wrote.

Thank you.

Your American pen pal,


P.S. No, I’ve never seen Bigfoot.


Today, I wrote a letter to her via the address I remembered from childhood. Who knows where it will end up? It’s on its way, though.

6 comments to Par avion post

  • You’ve inspired me. I too was matched with an Irish penpal as a girl when I was a member of the Girl Guides. I haven’t written to her since my early to middle teens. I think I will drop her a line and see where it leads. 🙂

  • mopsy

    That’s awesome, Jenny! Please let me know if you get an answer. That is very cool.

  • Shayne

    That is so cool! Just think, you could end up reunited (or, more aptly, united) on the Today show or something! I can’t wait to see if you hear anything back from her or her family!

  • How fun to see if she answers! Or, you may just wind up with an entirely new penpal.

  • JCK

    Hi Mopsy,

    Thanks so much for popping by my blog and commenting on your experience with “What to do with all the art work.”

    I thought I would drop by your Blog and am so glad I did. I wish you all the magic of Ireland that you find your long lost friend. Please keep us posted. Childhood friendships are very special. There is something about bonding with a friend around 9 or 10 that is very powerful.

    You have SIX children…I now feel very small. Well, I do have 2 children 10 months apart. Does that bump me up a notch! 🙂

  • I so hope it finds her! That would totally make my day to hear from my old pen pal!

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