"I'M YOUR PEN PAL!"
I can’t remember if I ever had a pen pal growing up. I have vague memories of a letter from France, but maybe I just read that in a book?
Anyway, when I signed up to serve as a Pen Pal with Project Transformation this summer, it was to fulfill a childhood dream. I loved getting personal mail when I was a kid, so I wanted to offer that joy to someone else…and then wait in anticipation for a return letter. The smallest things can bring such joy!
Last week, I visited our site at Trinity Community Commons in East Nashville. Prior to that, I dropped by the PT office to collect supplies and mail for that site. When I picked up the Pen Pal letters that had been sent to the office, I noticed that the one I mailed to the office a few days sooner had arrived. That meant I would get to personally deliver my Pen Pal letter to the site I was visiting later that day.
It hadn’t crossed my mind that I may actually get to meet my Pen Pal. The day was winding down. The lunches and “summer camps in a bag” had been distributed. Volunteers and Telly, the Site Coordinator, were cleaning up and storing supplies. Just as we were about to finish, the last family arrived. A mother and three kids – two older boys and a tiny first-grade girl. They were a fun bunch – talkative, friendly, and thrilled about this week’s “summer camp in a bag”.
Telly said the little girl’s name and I realized I had a Pen Pal letter for her – from me!
Excitedly, I said, “I have something special for you – a letter from your Pen Pal!”
Her eyes got big, she looked at her mom, and I’m positive they were smiling (under their masks!). Just as she picked up the letter from the table, her mom said, “Don’t you have something to put on the table? I have your letter to your Pen Pal right here!” She squealed with laughter, forgetting that her mom had brought the letter, and she set it on the table.
At first I thought I wouldn’t tell her that I was her Pen Pal, but I would just her give the letter with a wink of my eye.
But I couldn’t hold it in. I looked at her and said, “I’m not sure if I should tell you this or not, but I’m your Pen Pal! I hope it’s ok that I told you, I was just so excited to meet you.” She was just as surprised as I was for us to meet face to face!
I told her that I couldn’t wait to read her letters, to hear what her favorite things were, what colors she loved, how she was spending her summer days. And I promised to tell her all about my family, how much I love dogs, and what books I’ve been reading this summer.
Oh! Let me tell you about her letter! It was purple and covered with red sparkly hearts, stapled along the edge to create a booklet. She wrote, “We can’t see each other. Maybe online. How are you?”
Inside, she drew a little picture of herself, with an arrow and "Me" written next to it so I knew who it was. I loved that extra touch.
Yes, friend, we didn't think we'd get to see each other, but we did! What a fun summer surprise!
I just mailed my second letter. In this one, I was sure to tell her how weird I am—that I hate lizards but don't mind snakes—and I invited her to tell me something unique about herself.
I can't wait to learn more about her. And I can't wait to see if we happen to run into each other again in East Nashville.