writing a letter -- vintage

In 1953, I was in the sixth grade at James Buchanan Elementary School, and lived in the little community of Bausman.

I remember there was a great flood in the Netherlands, and our class decided to send clothes and school supplies there. When I was gathering these items to send, my mother suggested I enclose my name and address, which I did.

In Bausman, we got our mail at Harold Herr’s grocery store, where each family had a little mailbox with a secret combination. This is where I began receiving letters from a little girl named Elly, who lived in the Netherlands and had apparently received some of the things I had sent.

In late 1954, our family moved to the Manor Ridge area of Manor Township, with a new address. In 1961, I married and moved to Millersville, again with a new address. In 1964, my husband and I built a new home in Millersville, and again I had a new address. During this entire time, my parents lived at the same address in Manor Ridge.

There was a period of time, perhaps in the 1960s, when Elly and I didn’t correspond regularly. I can only think it was because each of us were busy raising family. Elly and her husband and my husband and I each had two sons.

In the midst of it all, my mother died suddenly.

Sometime in 1970, my dad stopped to visit and handed me a card addressed to me with my maiden name on it and my 1954 address in Bausman. The card was postmarked 1970 in Bausman, but the date it was sent from the Netherlands wasn’t legible. The Bausman post office had forwarded it to my dad in Manor Ridge.

After I received this card, I began writing to Elly again. Here it is 2022, and we’ve connected for over 68 years and have never met or spoken to each other. Her family picture sits in our living room. We exchange birthday, Christmas and anniversary cards. I have a box full of letters and cards she’s written to me. We both have two sons and four grandchildren. We have also been blessed with two great grandchildren.

I often wondered where this card was from 1954 to 1970, but I was so grateful it eventually found its way to me. It has allowed Elly and me to stay connected though we’ve never met or spoken.

The author lives in Millersville.

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