Monday, June 28, 2010
Some asked me the other day if anyone really wrote letters anymore the other day, and I got to thinking about all the penpals I used to have when I was in high school. They seemed to be everywhere—there was a girl in Ireland with whom I gushed over celebrity crushes, and Irish boy who was hilariously sarcastic, an all too sweet Belgian boy. Others from Turkey, France, Australia, even one from Brazil. Mind you, this is all before the internets. Now you can walk onto facebook and meet all sorts of people all over the world. But back then (circa 1989-1992), we only had International Pen Friends. Our social studies teacher in the 9th grade introduced us to it, and afterwards, I and my friends saved up to pay the small fee to get connected to people all over the globe who were roughly our age. I had as many as 7-8 at a time, and while some correspondences died off after a few letters, others continued for a few years. Me and my real life friends would get together and read each other's pen pal letters with voyeuristic relish. Perhaps it was a fascination with the world beyond Rockford, that there even was a world beyond Rockford which seemed unlikely sometimes.