After 62 Years, Pen Pals Meet In Minn.

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.

  • Sarah in Outstate MN

    This is a nice story. I am glad they were able to meet one another.

  • Jeff Davis

    My wife has her second grade class write penpal letters every year. Never know where you may find a lasting friendship. Great story.

  • Shelley Clark

    Fabulous story, Lindsey! I, myself have made a “Pen Pal” through the wonders of Facebook in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
    I knew when we started writing each other, then sending gifts to each other, that we would be friends forever. I can’t wait until we meet in person someday~It is on my bucket list, for sure..
    Kind Regards~

  • Lynn Ogden

    I have a Japanese pen pal that I have been writing to since 8th grade. Yasuhiro has been to the US several times. Once as a foreign exchange student, other times for business and once with his wife Mako. What a wonderful experience it has been. We now mostly email and send Christmas cards.

  • Jane Nelson

    My pen pal of 42 years & I regard each other as the sisters that neither of us has ever had. We write or email very often (several times a month). We were 13 & 14 when we began writing to each other. We have met once in person back in 1996 when I and my family traveled to England to meet with her family. Our children grew up writing to each other and her middle son visited us in MN. in 1997 for 2 weeks when he turned 18. Seeing your feature on these 2 women meeting after 62 years is amazing. It proves how deep a friendship can be.

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