Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Waaaay Back

So here's a little known fact about me: I've been writing to a penpal since the 6th grade.

People are always surprised to learn this.

We each filled out penpal requests in the Sunday paper and our names were randomly sent to each other. That was over 20 years ago.

Stunning, eh?

Last weekend when I went to visit Kari and Julie in New York I got the chance - for only the second time ever - to see Ee. How I got so lucky in such a random pool of kids wanting penpals I have no idea. Ee is quite possibly the kindest, sweetest person ever. Why she's continued to write me letters for 20 years I have no idea, but I'm forever grateful.

When I arrived in New York I already had plans to have brunch with Ee and her husband, Paul. Taking the L train to Union Square I was nervous to see her - it was only the second time, after all - but because I've known all these little slices of her life, I felt like I could have talked to her forever.

We brunched , stopped for a snack at Pinkberry (my first!), walked through a street "garage" sale and shared stories like old friends. Because, in many ways, we are. And because Ee and Paul are awesome they enthusiastically guided me all over their East Village neighborhood, through Washington Park, past NYU, into Greenwich and even answered personal questions about their lovely condo. (Sooo, how much did this baby cost?)

We chatted about how she and Paul got married in Times Square, about their "extremely casual" soccer team, the drunk NYU students she sees as an emergency room pediatrician (she calls their parents - ha!) and about her parents, who still live in the same house in Florida where she grew up, the one that I addressed countless letter to.

We're all caught up now after hours of chatting, but rest assured in a few months or so one of us will send a letter. And then another. And another.

Our letters are more infrequent now than they were when we were younger and wrote in colored ink pens and curly girlish handwriting, but we still hit the highlights of life's new jobs and loves and diversions. And I know whenever life reshapes itself it's time to write Ee another letter.

1 comment:

Adam said...

It's very impressive you guys have stayed in touch all these years. It's hard to remember a time before the internet, email and facebook when you might get something in the mail as fun as a penpal letter. Can we be pen pals? I'll send you a letter written with my tri-color pen. It will be awesome. :)