A friend of mine told me that she was recently ghosted by someone she met on a dating site. This was someone who lives across the country, and they had become pen pals. Ghosted by a pen pal! I can feel for her, because it happened to me once, and when I think about it, it still hurts.

It was 1974, and I was 12 years old. It was the summer between 7th grade and 8th grade. I was a happy time for me. I was just starting to notice girls. “Seasons In The Sun” and “Billy Don’t Be A Hero” were at the top of the charts. The Flyers had just won the Stanley Cup, and the whole city of Philadelphia was celebrating.

I had just completed my first year of learning French. There was a pen pal program that I signed up for, where you can correspond with someone living in the country of your new language. So, there was a girl in France who became my pen pal. I remember that she was 13–an older woman! I don’t remember her name. Let’s call her Julie.

I think Julie wrote to me first. She wrote in English. I was very excited to receive the letter. I wrote back in French. I remember having to buy an air mail stamp, and writing on the envelope, “par avion”. We exchanged a few letters. It was really fun! I thought one day, when I visit France, we might meet. It was nice to know someone in another country.

Then I took what I thought was a small step. In my next letter, I sent her a photo. I waited a couple of weeks, and then started eagerly looking in the mailbox for her next letter. Maybe she would send a photo too! I would be nice to see a face to go along with the words.

After about two months of checking the mail and being disappointed, I realized that there would be no more letters. I was ghosted. And it hurt.

Julie must still be out there in France, 55 years old now. She might even be reading my blog. Julie, if you happen to be reading this, I just want to let you know that it was fun being your pen pal, even for a short time.


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