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Pen Pal

May 2024
1min read


I am only seventeen, but when I sat down and read Ed Basquill’s account of the 100 bags of mail he received while serving in the Gulf War ("My Brush With History,” November/December), I was instantly transported back to my first-grade classroom. Each student in our class sent out a generic letter to an unknown soldier involved in the conflict, wishing him luck and telling him that our prayers were with him.

I was lucky enough to hear back from a Marine. His name was Fred. Over the span of several months we exchanged multiple letters, plus a gift box of cookies and other miscellaneous mementos I thought he would enjoy for Christmas. When he was finished with his tour, he returned to his wife and family in Virginia.

Then, a month or so later, there came a knock at the door of our house in Michigan. It was Fred; he had relatives in western Michigan and had stopped by to say hello in person to his “little buddy.” It is a memory that I will never lose.

I was fortunate to have heard back from the recipient of my letter, but just knowing from Ed Basquill’s account that each of our letters was read and appreciated makes the experience all the more touching for all of us involved.

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