Has anyone else noticed Julie Kirk going a bit 'postal' recently? Lots of ideas for using postcards and stamps and anything post related really. So I thought I would set you a puzzle. How did a liking for Davy Jones and the TV show The Monkees lead to a 45 year old friendship with a person I've only met three times?
The story starts in 1968, with me at primary school and loving the music of The Monkees. I loved the TV show so much that I joined their fan club. I used to get newsletters every now and again and in one edition they were advertising a pen-pal service to link up fans in different countries. Oh wow. I knew I wanted to get involved. I filled in my form. 'What state do you want your pen pal to come from?' Well the one state I had heard of that sounded glamorous was California, so that was what I wrote. However, when they wrote back, they said they didn't have anyone in California (what? No Monkees fans in California - I can't believe it!) but they had someone in Chicago who matched my likes and dislikes. And so I wrote a letter to a total stranger, explaining how I loved the Monkees, especially Davy Jones, I had a black poodle and I loved writing stories. I wrote it on a special air mail letter that was wafer thin paper with little flaps and a striped edge to it. I took it to the post office and posted it off.
I probably drove the whole family mad wondering when a reply would come, wondering IF a reply would come and who would be reading my letter. A few weeks later I was so excited to see a letter on the side with my name written in an unknown handwriting style. It had an unusual stamp on it and a return address in Chicago. It was from a girl called Cindy (I'd never heard of anyone called Cindy before apart from my Sindy doll and it sounded so foreign and exotic). She was sorry it had taken her a while to reply as she had had an accident and had to have her arm set in plaster so she couldn't write properly. She had a dog too, and she was just a little bit older, but loved the Monkees.
And so began a long distance friendship. We've grown up together, each of us got married, had children, gone through the ups and downs that life threw at us. We went from writing letters, to sending cassette tapes, where we would talk on one side and record our favourite Top Ten music hits on the other. Then emails and now Facebook messages. We've met three times. She came over when we were 20, then we met up when I went to Florida with my family in 1998 and she came over a couple of years ago on her way to join a cruise ship for a European cruise. All thanks to a chance letter sent into a fan club magazine!
There's been a fair few stamps stuck on letters and postcards and so I hope that this will work in linking up with Julie's theme. Looking at these stamps, I'm guessing it costs a lot more than 20c to get a letter sent Air Mail from the US to the UK nowadays!