I have always loved writing letters and as a young mum living in the country with hubby working almost 7 days a week on the farm. I got involved in the penpal scene by answering letters from Baby magazines so other young mums who like me wanted to get in touch with others in the same situation. I even put an advert in one and someone who answered my advert became one of the dearest friends and this year because of covid is the first time in many years I have not been able to visit her.

(TJ here – I remember mum getting dead excited when her advert was added in Mother and Baby, showing it to me in the bathroom, this was when she was 33 – yes, I remember the italics of her age at the bottom of her ad!)

From those small beginnings at some point, my list of penpals … Topsy….grew and grew and I had between 70/80 friends from all over the UK and in other parts of the world. Little booklets used to appear in my envelope. These were called Friendship books that you used to sign and pass on.

(TJ there were LOADS at one time, again watching mum with all these on the living room floor!)

I also became involved in what is called Correspondence Mags which basically is a Round Robin type letter that you write whenever it arrived on your doormat…..I still write in a couple of them.

I was even interviewed by a lovely young author called Jenna Baily who had a dissertation (I know I have got spelling. even word wrong TJ so please feel free to alter it. – consider it done! TJ) Jenna wrote a book  “Can any mother help me” about how the correspondence mags were started. Way back before the 2nd world war. Another her friend of mine from the penpal world had passed on my name to her and she travelled up from Brighton to Guildford to interview which was done in the lovely Castle grounds in Guildford. I am named in the acknowledgements which I am proud of.

I still write to penpals some I still have from the early days….some have passed on. Husbands have rung me up to pass on that news….some just stop and obviously you begin to think “they are no longer with us which I always feel so sad.

Penpalling has been a huge part of my life….some of those early pals are still with me as Facebook friends…….Some have become really, really special friends….you know who you are.

You all know how special you have been to me ….however long you have known me.