Musings of ordinary life

A Pen, Paper and my Imagination

Currently in Athens, and I won’t be writing up about our trip until we are at our next housesit.  So in the meantime here is a post about something different.

Do you remember the excitement of receiving a letter in the post with foreign stamps attached to it and that thrill of hearing once again from a friend that lived far away?

SUZYV (31)_edited

It was for me.  Up there as one of the highlights of my teenage years.

How it all began.

I always looked forward to Nana, [my first penpal in N.Z.] coming across from Gisborne sometimes on the bus, or with other family members who would drive her over.  She would always bring with her a bundle of magazines and papers which would be carefully placed in a square wicker basket [which I still have safely in storage].

Then there was the search for a particular magazine, not while Nana was visiting, as I was too interested in what she and Mum were chatting about.  Though within minutes of the door closing behind her a particular magazine would hold the key to more connections outside of the small town we lived in.  Nothing much happened here during the early seventies, unless it was summer, then we had the beach, the sun and with less emphasis on Jelly Tip ice-creams with more on how the body looked in the new bikini.

The magazine that had been in Nana’s basket was finally in my hands.Cover photo of the NZ Womens Weekly

The magazine in question was called The New Zealand Women’s Weekly, which is not the exciting part of my search, it was on an individual page titled; “Penpals from Abroad”.  This page had my imagination on full throttle into an orbit that seemed so far away.  At this point, I am referring to Australia, that country which we now refer to as just a hop and skip away and a smallish ditch to cross.

My first foreign pen-pal lived on the outskirts of Melbourne with her family and many huskies as pets.  We wrote letters, sometimes with fancy paper and envelope or on an aerogramme angsting about our lives and our dreams for many years until I turned 17 years of age.

Things changed as I had the opportunity to head over that ditch.  No passport required, just a return air ticket and travels checks [no credit card!].  Having shifted into too many flatting positions and countries in my twenties, things were discarded or lost with many photo albums not surviving the changes.  Which was a pity for the older me, though back then it was too much living in the now with not much thought of the future.

Now for most of us, we have a different way of communicating.  That is of course through the internet, email, facebook, facetime, skype to name just a few.  One that is new to me which I am enjoying participating in is blogging, and the bloggers that I am interacting with remind me of my years of having a penpal.

Penpals and bloggers to me are very similar, we are connecting and sharing our thoughts on a personal level, though with blogging, of course, it has an instant gratification, using a less personal way and of course a much larger audience, than just one person.

Back to the present, it would seem that some things have remained the same as I still have a passion for both writing and travelling.  I wonder how many of you bloggers were once pen-pals to others who lived overseas or even in the same country?

Wouldn’t you love for a young child you know, to experience that same excitement of using a pen, paper and their imagination to write letters, as we did?  I do hope that the art of letter writing does not entirely die away.

A big shout out to Daphne from VintageTreasureNZ for sending me the photos of the NZ Women’s Weekly magazine covers:

SUZYV (30)_edited

78 thoughts on “A Pen, Paper and my Imagination”

  1. Reblogged this on Life at No.22 and commented:

    Today, there is a bit of action happening on my blog.

    Firstly, today Globalhousesitterx2 became Life at No.22. My social media accounts such as Pinterest, Instagram will still be known as Globalhousesitterx2 until I work out how to do the change successfully. Hopefully, this won’t prove to be confusing to everyone including me!!
    Regards to the new title it seems more fitting a description at this stage of our lives. As we are no longer travelling fulltime and are now spending more time in New Zealand. Though we are still holding onto a small glimmer of hope that we can fulfill a few housesitting commitments this year. The next month will reveal whether this will be a reality or not. While still remembering our most important responsibility is to ensure the Squire is happy, healthy as can be and doing what he wants to do with his time. Not sure what I am referring too? Then have a read of

    Secondly, my blog turned 3 years old. Hard to believe she is that old!! I have loved every moment, well nearly every moment as a newbie blogger.

    Last but not least is acknowledging the overwhelming support we have received from friends, family and my blogging friends.

    With regards to all you bloggers out there, this post I wrote about penpals of past, made me realise how much I enjoy having you all in my life. You are penpals just in a different way from using a pen, paper and the use of snail mail.

    Again a big thank you, goes out to you all. Hopefully, you will have time to read the blog below.

    Suzanne X

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I searched wordpress for “pen pals” and your post came up. I started writing postal pen pals as a teen back in the 1980’s and I have never stopped. Yes, I still write letters by post to pen friends. We still exist! : )

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Suzanne. I still find the postal service quite efficient, except for certain countries like Russia and India – where lost mail seems the norm. I’m in the US, and currently write people in the US, Australia, Tasmania, and Europe – and our letters go back and forth quickly.

    The US still has reasonable postal rates, but I know in certain countries it is getting rather pricey! My pen pal in Finland is paying more and more to post letters, and mail delivery days has decreased. (We still get mail delivered 6 days a week in the US.)

    But then again, is it really that costly? Think about what some people spend monthly on their cellphone service, internet service, computer gadgets, etc – it can ad up to a lot. Maybe postage stamps aren’t so expensive after all? : )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s interesting that my post came up, thanks for letting me Laura. Yes, I will check your post out. Well done for keeping up with your penpals, not as easy task. Postal services have become very inefficient and costly. Though it is always lovely to receive something other than a bill in the letterbox 🙂


  5. It’s not really a job, I just do it as a volunteer (the Japanese kids are from the region of Japan that was affected by the massive tsunami a few years ago, so the project was started for them!)

    It IS really interesting though! It gives me some idea about what little’uns care about!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. God I remember penpal letters. I would wait for the mailman and be so excited to receive 2-3 letters then disappointed on days I never got any. Now I don’t even go to the mailbox for days, knowing it’s going to be just bills.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I used to love both postcards and pen-pals!
    I’d be really happy if any friend went on holiday as it was so exciting to receive a card with a photo of wherever they were!

    I had pen pals in France and Ireland. I think I still have their letters in a shoebox.

    Kids are still writing to each other sometimes. I volunteered a while ago to translate letters from Japanese school kids to UK kids. (I even have a bunch of them to translate next week!) I always look forward to them as they are sooo sweet! Although I often have to google things as they watch TV programs and play video games that I have never heard of!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thanks Judy, aren’t those magazine covers great, luckily I was able to use them. I still have letters written to me from Nana, 50 years old some of them and one written at age 5 “Thanks for my penny” 🙂 Yes, I too hope that the art of letter writing never dies.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I used to do it, then the old budget and expensive mailing systems around the world stopped me in my tracks. Funny thing is I still love buying cards and will give them to people when I see them. Lovely to hear that Mrs Bryntin still does it, good on her 🙂


  10. Em, it was a safe way of doing it, wish more kids learnt from you!! Some people have beautiful handwriting. With a few years at university and mine went awol. Funny l try to slow down so it looks more legible not working so far!! Never had a male penpal, 3 brothers put me off having male contact for a few years. 🙂


  11. Women’s Weekly I believe my mother still has it delivered and penpals I had forgotten so many years ago and we lost touch …I used to love the feel of that airmail paper so thin 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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