Friday, 11 October 2013

Going Postal

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! 

11 comments:

Julie Kirk said...

Aw, I love this - not only because it means you made it out of the loft in one piece - but because it really does go to show how there are all kinds of people out there who we *could* be friends with. We just need a little common thread and we can weave a lifelong bond!

Thanks for keeping company in the mail bag - I've saved your story to the Going Postal board for others to read now: http://www.pinterest.com/notesonpaper/going-postal/

Julie :-)

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

I was just in the post office today and they were selling air mail stamps for $1.10!

I've had a few pen pals over the years but lost track of them either during or after college.

Sandie said...

that's a lovely story Deb's! How great that you kept in touch all these years. I remember vividly those airmail letters. I really miss the letter box with that magical drop letting me know there is a letter. I love emails, and it is so much quicker and easier to keep in touch. But somehow that piece of paper in your hand, the excitement of opening and keeping the letter with the rest, is lost. I've not been able to join in sadly as I have been so busy lately. But real mail is special and not to be passed by. I am taking part in a Big Stitched Postcard swap so I look forward to making that tomorrow and posting to Montana. :)

Alison said...

How great that you've managed to keep in touch...I had a German penpal for a few years, but then we just seemed to stop writing...we didn't have Davy Jones (or anything else for that matter,)in common
Alison xx

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

I had to smile when I read that the name "Cindy" sounded exotic. Haha. You're so cute, Deb. It's awesome that the two of you have kept in touch all these years, and that you've actually got to spend time together as well.

Amy said...

Deb, there were no Cindy's here either!

I didn't have penpals when growing up, both my sisters did ... I have them now!

Sian said...

This is an absolutely amazing story! Brilliant..

..and you have proved my Mum wrong. When I was little I asked if I could join one of those penpal clubs and she said no. Years later I asked her why she had and she said she hadn't wanted me to be disappointed if I didn't get any replies!!

Abi said...

That is an amazing story. How lovely that you took a chance and have remained friends all these years. I had a pen pal for many years but we have since lost contact. I will have to try and find her on fb.

Mel said...

I have just blogged about pen friends getting snail mail is so exciting!

Fiona@Staring at the Sea said...

I love this story Deb. How brilliant that you are still in touch now :o)

alexa said...

This is such a heart warming story! I remember those lightweight airmail letter forms too with the flaps at the side. How wonderful that you have nurtured this friendship between you - very special!