Pen Pals were the Original Bloggers

I grew up in Hong Kong. My parents were missionaries. I went to school on the 12th floor of the apartment building I lived in. I couldn’t take the elevator the whole way, though, because I lived on an odd floor – 3rd- and the elevators were separated by odd and even floors. If I was adventurous, I would walk the whole way to school. More often than not I would walk the whole way home for lunch and after school. We had a pool on the roof. The hospital my dad worked at was across the street and church was on the 6th floor. So was the cafeteria, where we would go every Friday for haystacks and ice cream.

These are the things I would tell my pen pals. Sad, isn’t it, that I don’t remember their names or where they were from. I found them in the Guide magazine we got at Sabbath School each week. They asked me questions like, “Is Hong Kong in Japan?” and “Do you have pizza there?” I really hope I still have those letters. They were really funny. But they were also a link to the culture I was supposed to understand as an American kid.

Why did I have pen pals? I think it’s because I’ve always had the need to share stories. I’ve been writing stories since I could spell.

Before blogging, I wrote long emails to friends and family while living abroad in England and Thailand. I really hope someone kept all those emails because I didn’t.

Did you have pen pals? Did you keep their letters?

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3 thoughts on “Pen Pals were the Original Bloggers

  1. Totally had Guide pen pals. I mostly remember Billie Ann Simonson, from Hayward, WI; we wrote for years. Are you out there, Billie?

    Also! In the first days of the Internet, we would have a free month with Prodigy or AOL or whomever, and then cancel when it wasn’t free anymore. I actually met some pen pals through chat rooms! That seems so weird now…

  2. I remember those free months of Internet! I would order those discs by mail or pick them up at the library. Remember Netscape? And ICQ? The first time I ever connected to the Internet was on my parents’ computer using CompuServe. We had to share an email address and it was assigned to us, some long number sequence that I can’t even remember now. Wowzers.

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