We are sending our Congratulations to Pen Pals Celebrating 55 Years Friendship! In addition, we have a winner to announce for the Heartspoken book give-a-way drawing! Hope this finds you enjoying this long Labor Day Holiday weekend.
It is perfect timing to be wrapping up Summer 2022. Imagine my surprise when learning one of my pool zumba classmates this Summer is a PEN PAL – for 55 years with the same person! Of course, I had to arrange a time to meet in person and take some photos. With that said, it is a joy to be introducing Pen Pal Extraordinaires Mickie Biddison Stalcup of Wilmington, NC and Linda Fresco Rubite of the Philippines.
PEN PALS FOREVER! My interview of Pen Pals for 55 years now and still writing each other!
When she was in the sixth grade her class began in Seaford, Delaware started corresponding with her in Antique, Philippines. They were both in the 6th grade.
What I love with their pen pal origins story is THEIR teachers had been pen pals too! There was a UN program aimed at exposing students to different cultures.
Their story made the local newspaper in the Wilmington, NC Star-News, on May 14, 1995. In it, sharing after writing each other for 28 years they were finally able to meet! Mickie was able to fly to the Philippines and visit with Linda’s family for a five day visit. I’m including a photo of Linda’s teacher they all met with her when she made her visit.
Fast forward, and they were able to meet again in England in December 2012; Mickie was visiting and Linda was working there as a nurse at the time.
This past week I was able to meet with Mickie at her home and what a treasure trove to see ALL of the letters and cards along with wonderful souvenirs she has received over the years from Linda.
Over the years Mickie is guessing there have been hundreds of letters and cards sent.
In preparing for today’s post, I sent in advance some questions to them. My sincere thanks to both of them for replying via email! In particular I wanted to include these three section excerpts with you below. Enjoy!
What was it like the first time you received first reply?
Mickie– “I remember being SO excited and couldn’t wait to get home and show my mom!”
Linda – “I was very excited and happy. Very proud for having her as my penpal abroad.”
Early School Day Photos
Do you recall first time met each other in person?
Mickie: “In 1995 a friend of mine won 2 trips to Singapore. She knew how much I wanted to go to the Philippines so she offered me the other trip. I went a week earlier than she did and went to meet Linda. It was almost surreal. I took gifts for her and her family but I didn’t think about all the other people I would meet there. I flew into the international airport in Manila but had to change airports to go to the domestic airport. It was somewhat intimidating and I was exhausted after being up so long! I met a couple on the plane that were going to the same island and we began talking. One thing that stood out to me was everyone told me to thank my father for allowing me to come. This couple waited to make sure Linda was at the airport and then came over and invited she, and her cousin that was driving, to spend the night at their house so we wouldn’t have to travel after dark. We declined and it was only an hour or so to her place. She had a concrete house as well as a bamboo type hut.
The kids waited up to meet me – they were very young. It was amazing to see my “other family” in person. Every person I met there had to give me something, I felt so bad because I had remembered no idea I would meet so many friends and family and I had nothing for them. I had a boy pen pal as well to start with but didn’t keep up with him. At that time though, I actually found his name in something I had and I also got to meet him! I was also able to meet her teacher, Mrs. Cerenea Abiday. We had a lovely visit and I ate my first (and only) mango there – dipped in chocolate.
On the ride back to Linda’s house (on a 3 wheeled motorized vehicle) we stopped at a beach and I took many pictures. Unfortunately I took too many, because on the way home they were moving a house and there were about 100 men around the bamboo house and the literally picked it up and moved it a few feet, set it down and then continued. I was out of film – that was frustrating!”
Anything you would like to say to encourage others to try being a pen pal?
Linda – “I am Happy to encourage others to have their friends through writing. It was so exciting and self fulfilling. A good relationship with each other , with a friend that are far from each other will makes the world go round with Love, Respect Understanding and Peace . There will be sharing of blessings and caring each other.
For Mickie and me, we already feels as sister. She is part of my family and.
we love each other deeply as we share our ups and downs in life.”
Mickie – “I would like encourage people to have a pen pal be it local, national or international. It has been such a big part of my life and I love having another family to love. We have both been through many trials and joys over these many years but having each other to lean on and learn from has been priceless!”
In wrapping up, it is most appreciated getting to learn about their pen pal letter writing journey. If you think about it, both of them have only gotten to meet each other in person on two trips, yet share a very close bond through their letter writing these many years.
My sincere thanks to both Mickie and Linda for sharing their insights with us today! Both ladies are now retired, and here’s to many more years of them being pen pals!
Congratulations to our winner of the HEARTSPOKEN book give-a-way drawing
Congratulations to our winner Patricia Jones! She will be receiving a paperback of the book which I’ll be putting into the mail on Tuesday!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the drawing! And thanks to the author Elizabeth Cottrell for the book!
On a side note, today is my last day I’m wearing my white capris as I bid farewell to the summer season. They will put back into my closet until next Easter!
Here’s to a great month of September!! Wishing you a great week ahead.
Thanks and Attribution to Pen Pals Mickie, and Linda, and Heart Spoken.