When I was eight years old I wanted a pen pal. I’d just watched the movie “Beaches” and loved it. In the film, Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey met as kids on the beach and became pen pals up until adulthood.
“You know, we could start a pen pal club.” My mom said.
My mom worked in public relations for most of my childhood, so this proclamation wasn’t surprising to my eight year-old self.
So we did what my mom was good at, we started writing. Together we wrote a press release and called our pen pal club Friends Forever Pen Pal Club
Then my mom took out a book that listed the addresses of all the newspapers and their editors around the country.
We sent that press release to every major newspaper in the United States.
In the mean time, we rented a P.O. Box on 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue.
Each day, we would go the P.O. Box and check for letters, and each day we were disappointed to find that the box was empty.
Then one fateful day in 1989, we went to the post office (as we usually did) expecting to find the box empty, but we were wrong. My mom turned the key to P.O.Box 20103 and as the lock clicked, our mouths dropped open.
The box was overflowing with letters. My mom grabbed the envelopes and handed a stack to me. We were both gleaming. We examined the letters and found that they were all from kids of varying ages requesting pen pals! Each envelope contained the three dollar fee and a letter describing each child’s age and list of hobbies.
Then, there was another letter. It was from a newspaper. We opened it together and found that it was an article about our company!