Pen Pals

I used to write letters like crazy. Before I learned about e-mail I had a number of pen pals. After I learned about e-mail I had even more, though I guess those were “key-board pals” or something. Somewhere along the line though, I stopped that too. Those are what I refer to as “the dark years” of my life. Well, not really, they were actually very good years. I did miss the letter writing though, when I thought of it.
Now, blogging has taken the place of correspondence for me. It’s not quite the same. I don’t have the thrill of checking the mail box, but since my mail box isn’t sitting proudly on a post in front of my house I don’t miss that as much. It gives me an outlet for the monologue I keep up with myself in my head all day, describing my life to myself helps me find the beauty and the humor in it, and sharing that with others reminds me to appreciate it. That’s what I really loved about writing letters, and that’s what I do here.
In High School there were a number of boys I wrote letters to. Do you want to know everything about them?
I’ll tell you all I know.
My sister was on a mission during my sophomore year of High School. While serving faithfully in Texas she recruited any number of pen pals for me. (in this case, “any number” means three, also I declare this the post of the parenthesis)
The first was named Anthony. He played soccer, I played soccer(badly). He played alto saxophone, I played (past tense) alto saxophone (badly). It was a match made in heaven. Anthony and I exchanged letters weekly, he sent me jewelry (which was a bonus) and I mocked his grammar (which was uncharitable of me and I repent ok, not really I still make fun of his grammar occasional though, I have no right to do it considering my own horrid punctuation. I probably make punctuation enthusiasts cry with my every sentence).
Eventually we stopped writing and then I hijacked his address (which I had memorized) so I could sneak a letter to a friend without her parents suspecting me as the sender. (a story for another time)
The second Texan pen pal came as a complete surprise to me. In this case, my dear sister gave me no warning of coming letters. I checked the mail box on my way to soccer practice, I read the return address (noting it was from Texas…would there be jewelry inside?) and jammed it into my soccer bag with my cleats (I loved those shoes) to read later.
I thought it was weird that Anthony’s writing was all tall and loopy instead of scrawled and boyish like usual but what did I know? Maybe he had resolved to refine his penmanship, I’d done that plenty of times. Of course, I am a girl which makes a difference, but who was I to judge?
I read the letter during half time while I sweated profusely and drank as much water as would not make me vomit.
It was then that I figured out it was from an entirely different Texan teenage boy. This teenage Texan was named Ashish and he was not so much Texan as Indian and not so much a pen pal as a stalker. (and Maybe I vomited a little despite my efforts not to drink too much all at once)
Ashish had a creepy long distance crush on me and his attempts to conceal as much in his letters were not met with success. I was afraid to hurt his feelings so I wrote short, forced letters about generic things and sent them along with a cringe.
On Valentines day he sent me one of those cards that are more like a book, the kind my dad gets for my mom with the sappy sentimental message sprawled across all five, thick high quality paper, pages. I guess he sensed that it would make me uncomfortable to receive such an ill-chosen valentine and so he had his sister sign it along with him (which didn’t help)
I finally stopped returning Ashish’s letters when he decided to go on a mission himself. He wrote that he would soon be reporting to the Missionary Training Center in Provo UT and wouldn’t I come there and meet him?
No I would not.
Even if it weren’t against the rules (which it is) and even if he had not drawn my portrait (copied from a photo my sister had) and written my name repeatedly in a cloud around his rendering of my face (which he did) I would not have gone to meet him.
Ugh, just thinking about it gives me the creeps.
The third Pen Pal I gained through my sister missionary service was a much shorter lived paper relationship. Bo was the nephew of my sisters companion I wrote to my sister regularly and it followed, that I wrote to her companion also. The companion and I became friends and she wanted to set me up with her nephew but since I loved in Utah and he in California, it was an exchange of letters that resulted.
Bo was not so much a letter writer. In the one letter he sent he did little more than ask for my phone number. He then called me (yeah, me? talk on the phone? not so much) and here is how the conversation went.
Bo- So, do you have a boyfriend?
Me- no
Bo- Why not?
Me- …Well, I guess I’d just rather date different people.
Bo- So you get around a lot then?
Me- NotreallybutIshouldbegoingnicetotalktoyoubye.
It was obvious that Bo and I were made and meant for one another. It’s a pity that we were never able to meet.

There you have it. The paper dating of my youth.
Are you enchanted?
Looking for a pen pal?

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