a treasured gift from a newer pen pal
How many people now, in this day of modern technology, still have pen pals? How many people younger than me even know what a pen pal is???
my favorite childhood letter-writing tools
Kristia and I met in a hotel swimming pool in 1970. She'll be the first to tell anyone she saved my life. :) My siblings and I were watching some older kids do somersaults over the pool divider, and I decided I could do it, too. After all, I was an aspiring gymnast. I did somersaults over the bar at school every single day!
this character is more graceful than I was
Water, however, has a different gravitational effect on twirling than air. Back in the days of pants on boys and dresses on girls in grade school, the biggest worry I had doing somersaults on the playground bar was making sure I wore "bloomers" beneath my dress (because shorts were not allowed in school back then).
my favorite hotel swimming pool is in Moab
I lost my bearings when I went under the water. I didn't know how to swim and was, in fact, terrified of deep water. I've always thought I must have fallen in a pool when I was very, very young because I've been afraid of deep water as long as I can remember. I panicked, and Kristia, a year younger than me and an expert swimmer, wasted no time rescuing me. We've been pen pals ever since.
Back then, postage stamps cost six cents. I remember finding a nickel in the street every now and then while walking my baby sister in her stroller around the block. I'd walk to the post office next chance I got to buy a stamp. I'd save my babysitting money to buy fancy unicorn stationary. I looked forward to Kristia's cards and letters in the mail every month, and sometimes more often, depending upon how often we could afford to write.
We were best friends from a distance through our education, dating, hobbies, jobs, marriages, child-reading, traumas, heartaches, celebrations and dreams. Every time I go through an old box of correspondence in the basement, I find another treasured letter or card from Kristia. She tells me she hangs my cards (which have my photography) all around her house so she can look at them often. I save all my Christmas cards every year; but the Hawaiian Christmas cards Kristia sends each year... Always one of a kind and always good for an awesome belly laugh!
Kristia's parents lived in New Mexico and Colorado. Kristia spent a good many years right here, in my current digs, as well as in my younger stomping grounds. You'd think that might have given us multiple opportunities to get together again.
Colorado is my home, but I LOVE New Mexico!
Alas, we had only one other in-person meeting. Kristia permanently moved to Hawaii upon her high school graduation. Albuquerque was not on my routine trip map when I visited relatives in Salt Lake. I detoured that year specifically to visit Kristia when she was visiting her parents with her new little daughter. Now Stevie is grown and married with a baby of her own! This visit was back in the day before everyone had cell phones with cameras. Back in the day before anyone had cell phones! Even though I carried my camera with me everywhere even then, I have no photos of us together. NONE.
We had planned to celebrate our 50-year golden friendship anniverary with Lizard and I making the awesome journey to Hawaii. What a celebration that would have been for all of us! Lizard's unexpected Parkinson's diagnosis and 2020 in general changed our plans.
49 years of pen pal friendship
I'm still holding out hope of one day being able to take Lizard to Hawaii. Lizard deserves one more trip of a lifetime. And Kristia and I deserve to be able to enjoy each other's company in person again one day. I still am not a very good swimmer at all. Perhaps we could even reinact our first meeting. Ha ha. In the ocean!!!
some dreams never die