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After 62 Years, Pen Pals Meet In Minn.

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Although it seems that the art of letter writing is lost, the written word has bound and brought together two lives that are oceans and continents apart.

Marcia Nelson, of Coon Rapids, Minn., wrote her pen pal Shirley Reynolds, of Victoria, Australia, for the first time six decades ago when they were both 11 years old. And since that time, Nelson and Reynolds haven’t stopped writing each other.

Through many letters, which used to take six weeks to arrive, Nelson and Reynolds shared things such as their thoughts on the weather, the news of the births of their children and grandchildren, and the deaths of their husbands.

After many years of knowing each other through penmanship, diction and sentence structure, the pen pals were finally able to meet face to face in Minnesota.

The meeting was Reynolds’ first trip outside of her native Australia.

“I knew her immediately,” Reynolds said, referring to Nelson, as she got off the plane.

As the pair looked over their letters, one could see that they lead parallel lives. For instance, their husbands passed away within months of each other.

“[Reynolds] wrote to me and she said: ‘Now I will be a called a widow also,” Nelson said.

It was around that time in their lives that they decided their relationship would not fade, even though many of their letters had.

“You just don’t know when … if everything is going to be alright tomorrow, so you just live for today,” Reynolds said.

Reynolds stayed with Nelson for several weeks in Minnesota. They both still write letters to each other, and sometimes they send emails.

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