Senior Snail Mail Pals -
can change lives

by Sharon Ernst

I have a wonderful pen pal in New York, named Lin H. In 2006, I got a call from her, frantic because her mom was in a nursing home, and was starving herself to death (literally), but the nursing home was trying to convince them they could not take her home.

This made no sense to me, so I went there in September of 2006, stayed till April, 2007, and by the time I returned home, Mrs. Hughes was home, AND had full-time care, all paid for, and respite care of week-ends, and Lin and Marcia (her loving daughters) were content. Their mama had gained weight from 72 pounds to around 120, and was happy with them.

I did not accomplish all this alone, by any means, but I kept the phone lines busy, all the way up to the state's attorney-general, and down to local businesses. With a lot of good help and a lot of caring people, we got a lot of things accomplished.

I would never have had this adventure, nor been able to help this sweet lady had I not written pen pal letters and become close as sisters over the years. I had met her in the 70's, when she made her first visit to us in the summer to meet my newest child and the rest of the family. So, pen pals can definitely become lifetime friends.

I have lost many pen pals over the years for various reasons, but will always be happy to tell anyone who will listen about the joys of pen-palling, and all the benefits and happiness it has brought me over the years.

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