Why be a Pen Pal? “Travel,” Friendship, Language and So Much More

Did you know that pen friendship is coming back in style? It could be because travel has become more difficult or because it’s just plain old fun! Pen friendships—or pen pals, for short—are a great way to expand your social circle and your interests, try your hand at a new language, and make new friends from the globe without ever leaving home.

Pen friendship has long been a part of our culture—Charles Schultz’ Charlie Brown had a pen pal, the movie You’ve Got Mail about two people in a pen pal email courtship, and many other television shows and books have popularized this fun activity. Did you know that the old Parker Pen Company’s pavilion in the 1964-65 New York’s World Fair featured a computer that matched pen pals?

According to the Huffington Post, there’s never been a better time to have a pen pal. We’re all staying at home more, and getting letters from international friends can be a real joy—and a real relief from loneliness. Retirement communities are even getting in on the pen pal action. Recently, this posting was found on Facebook: “Residents at Phoenix Assisted Care are wanting to hear from you! Find a new friend and send them a letter to the address listed below with their name as the recipient. We can’t wait to hear from you.” A recent article from Good Morning America said this about the Facebook post: “From North Carolina to Great Britain, pen pals are sending letters and packages to seniors at the assisted living home…”

Imagine the thrill of getting a letter in the mail and connecting with someone new, with interests that are similar—or maybe not-so-similar—to yours. How do they live “over there”? What do they think about so-and-so? Do they like to do this or that?

It’s exciting learning about different people, cultures and places. Residents at Summit Pointe are invited to get involved. While there are many pen pal organizations out there, one that caters specifically to seniors is Ready to Care. So get your pen and paper out, and start writing—and enjoying. There’s a whole world to explore!