A friendship forged in wartime
Two transatlantic pen pals have shared their lives on paper for 70 years.
I was looking through The Christian Science Monitor that arrived in the afternoon mail at our home in Milwaukee. I was 13 at that time and one column caught my eye. "The Mail Bag" contained the names of several young people who were looking for "pen pals."
I wrote to a girl in England named Diane, telling her of the large high school I attended and of my interest in music and art. A few weeks later I received a reply.
This was the start of 70 years of correspondence.
It was early in World War II and censorship was in effect. I sent a package to Diane containing a box of stationery and five Hershey bars, four for Diane and her family and one for the censor. When the package arrived four candy bars remained. The one marked for the censor was gone and in its place a card saying thanks.
While still living in northern England, Diane sent me a large candy stick marked "Blackpool Rock." I cut off a piece for my family and took the rest to school to share with my sixth-grade friends. After opening an atlas and identifying Blackpool, we cut it into small pieces so everyone could have a taste.
As the war progressed, churches in the United States began "adopting" churches in Europe to support. As clerk of Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, in Milwaukee, my mother was also chairman of the War Relief Committee, which knitted for service personnel and sewed for children.