Of Penfriends and Facebook Scrabble (and a tiny mention of George Bush)


Hello folks.

When I was eleven years old, before the dawn of the email and the SMS, I wrote regularly to an American penfriend.  We wrote our letters using retro stuff like real pens and fancy writing paper with co-ordinating envelopes,  not a QWERTY or mechanical mouse in sight.  And we put stamps on that we licked ourselves and we took the letters to the post office (on foot of course) to be weighed and posted.  All very primitive by todays standards.

Having a penfriend was very popular at the time.  I’m not sure whether kids do it these days.  My own children hadn’t heard of it until I told them about my penfriend and they found it all very quaint and eccentric.

But anyway, my pen friend.  Most of the kids I knew who partook of this quaintly manual activity grew bored after a few letters but me and my p/pal wrote to each other for almost twelve years.  We enjoyed exchanging our stories and gossip and would make regular pledges to each other that we would one day meet up.  That never happened but we had lot’s of fun keeping in touch from across the Atlantic and we sent each other photo’s and silly things such as bookmarks and ticket stubs from gigs we’d been to or shows we’d seen.  Stuff like that.  Stuff that means nothing to anyone other than teenage girls who have crushes and crises every other day.

Anyway, I was having a clear-out recently and I came across her letters.  All of them.  Can you believe that?  I’d kept them all.  What a sad hoarder!  Pathological is the word that comes to mind.  But it was fun and emotional reading some of them again and, technological developments being what they are, I decided to do some cyber-sleuthing and try to look her up.  To cut a long story sort, after much Internet detective work, I found her.  On Facebook of course.  Well where else?   So I emailed her and she emailed me back, totally shocked but overjoyed to hear from me.

There you go.  My only dilemma is whether to ask her what she thinks of George Bush.  I mean if it turns out she’s a bible-bashing Republican who greatly admired old Bushy-boy, where would that take me?   Hmm, I’m thinking that for the first time in my life, I will keep my mouth shut about religion and politics.

I wonder if she’ll challenge me to some Facebook Scrabble.  I’ve recently started playing after being pestered by my work friend, the Facebook Scrabble Champion of the World (awarded by me).  Although it’s early days yet, my record is dire.  I thought it would be easy.  It’s just words  after all.  But no.  The power is in the positioning.  I play long, intellectual words and score a weedy ten points.  My friend plays a couple of random letters and scores seventy-odd.  It’s bloody well fixed.  Sigh.

Ho hum.  Ta ta.

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6 responses to this post.

  1. Hi, Earthpal! Will you please tell me which you find better: Facebook, that’s Internet or the old way of penpals’ communicating? Of course today is faster but there is also an old reminiscent taste that stays there, isn’t there?

    Reply

    • Hi Jose.

      Well I do enjoy the Internet as a form of interaction and it’s definitely more convenient. Taking all things into consideration, it probably leaves a smaller carbon footprint too but there’s something uniquely special about recieving real letters and reading hand-written words. That said, my handwriting is terrible. Looks like a spider crawled over the paper. Lol.

      Reply

  2. I play FB scrabble. Too much. Want to play? Drop a comment on my blog if you do.

    Reply

  3. Wow, Earthpal.. I have similar story but it was with family and friends more than a Pen-pal.. When I tell my children that we used to write long letters, stick a stamp, go to the post-office to do so and wait for at least a week to get a reply, they look at me like as if I am from another planet.

    I am glad you found her..as for religion and politics, broach it gently, use your instinct(as you usually do), for all you know she could be on the same side as you :), if not, thank God!!! for the variety, else we would be bored to death. 😛

    Reply

    • Bless you MySoul. Yes, diversity of opinion is what makes us interesting. We haven’t discussed the heavy stuff, we’re mainly just keeping up with each other on Facebook.

      Reply

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