Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Aging: A Story about Love

Terra Vina Vineyard
Young love is somehow pushed aside as we grow older. It gets harder and harder to remember what that was like...well at least for me.

But, there are people out there that have such a powerful story to tell that the look on their faces tells me that they have not forgotten and never will.

Yesterday my husband and I attended a wine dinner set among the vines with the misty valley spread out below. We sat across the table from a couple about our age. His name was Peter. I have never know a Peter so the visit began.

Then he introduced his wife. Minila she said when I asked her to repeat her name. It flowed off her tongue with an accent I didn't recognize. I'm a Czech she said quickly.

Are you a Czech too Peter? I asked. No, he said. I come from Portland. 

But how....?

We were pen pals was his response. He asked Do you really want to hear this story?

Well yes I did...yes I did!

Pen pals? I have never know anyone to marry their pen pal. I have never know anyone named Peter. I have never know anyone that got married when one of them lived in Portland and the other in Czechoslovakia. How did that happen?

The wonder of it all was that he was not in the military He was going to Lewis and Clark when he decided that he wanted a pen pal that spoke German. He read a magazine called USSR and came up with the idea that maybe a magazine could help. How about a magazine from Poland? That was close enough. So he wrote to a magazine called simply "Poland" suggesting they add a pen pal column to their magazine.

But there was no answer, he changed colleges and gave up on the idea. It was about that time he decided to go to Vienna to study that Lewis and Clark began getting mail for him from Europe...lots of mail. It came and came...so many letters he could not keep up with them.

But he did open them and finally selected one from a girl from Czechoslovakia. She wrote beautiful English. It was Minila. The year was 1965. He began giving all the other letters away to friends until he ran out of friends.

She was barely out of high school when she decided to find a pen pal from the United States so she could practice her English because she wanted to study the language in college. She saw the pen pal column in a magazine.

Two prospects popped up...one from New York City and another from Portland, Oregon. Her father wouldn't let her answer the NYC fellow...he will be over here in a flash he told her. The guy from Portland was selected. He will never make it here from that far was her father's thinking.

When the first letter from her arrived in Portland, Peter answered right back and told her he would be in Vienna in a month. Could he come and see her? Needless to say, her father was worried.

After Peter visited her on four different occasions, one bringing along his father and mother, they became engaged.

They are still in love, share the food off their plates and finish each other's sentences. They have been married for 53 years. I am in love with their story. Wow!

Life is good!

Have you ever had a pen pal?



  1. Wow - I used to have 25 pen pals when I was about 10 or 12 -- a few in foreign countries. Haven't even heard anyone use the term pen pal for many years now! My male pen pal from Japan once sent an 18" Japanese doll -- and my mom was more excited about it than I was. It was on display in our living room a long time! And I remember she decided we should send him a history book in response. (??)

    1. Did she remember WWII? Wow on the history book. I am not so sure he would have liked that.

  2. What a great love story, love through being pen pals. And you are visiting a winery named after me, ha ha. Terra. Actually my husband and I owned a winery but that was not its name.

    1. OK Terra, what is that winery because we are coming to see you!

  3. What a wonderful story. I had a penpal when I was growing up, for about 10 years. Then we lost track of each other. I still remember her name and thInk of her from time to time.

    1. I did too. I had one in Indonesia. It took so long for the exchange to take place. Times have changed haven't they?

  4. I've had a pen pal for 50 yrs! The grade 4 teacher offered letters from kids from different countries(?). I chose Annette from England. At some point, she decided that she was too old for me (she was 2 yrs older) and her sister, Rona, started to write to me. I've been to England twice; she's been here twice. We have sons very close in age. We spent our 60th birthdays together in Portugal a few years ago. We've come to know each other quite well over the years to the point that we often finish each other's sentences and voice shared thoughts. I feel a kinship with her and there's a sense of familiarity with her family that I can't explain other than that my immediate paternal family came from England. I'm glad to call her my friend and look forward to our next visit in 2021.

  5. I've never had a pen pal, but I have many dear virtual friends through my blogs! I think of some of them as family, and I've met a few of them. My husband and I met through an online newsgroup in 1990. Does that count? :-)


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