I’m guessing all our kids could tell you what a Facebook friend is, but I wonder whether they would know what a pen-friend is?
Mine was called Astrid and she lived just outside the Black Forest in Germany. My older siblings had pen-friends, too: Marie Eve from Alsace and Thomas from Offenburg. When I think back (to England in the seventies) everybody had a pen-friend. It was fun writing to someone you didn’t know, and even more fun when a hand-written letter with an unusual stamp arrived from a far-away place (well France and Germany seemed quite far away at the time). And decades later my mum still exchanges Christmas cards with Marie-Eve’s mum.
A random survey of Kew Primary mums informs me that young Australians also had pen-friends, mostly in America, and the Kiwis (for some reason) were hooked up with the Scandinavians.
Recently I was talking to Sally who has Naomi in Prep and Susan in Grade 1. Sally had a letter from an Italian boy she’d met on a recent overseas trip. I was in Italy, she explained, with my husband, Jim, who was competing as a rower at the world Master’s Games at Lake Candia in Northern Italy.
Edoardo was the only child of the owners of the hotel where we were staying in a very small town called Caluso about an hour north of Turin. Edoardo impressed us all with his incredible magic skills each evening while we ate dinner or in the afternoons after the racing had finished when we were relaxing outside. It was impossible to work out how he did it. He was very good.
So we asked him a lot about where he learnt to do magic, what he wanted to do when he grew up, where he went to school and so on. He said he would really love to write to some kids his age in Australia, and that his best friends would like to write too. So we put together a letter which he spoke to us in Italian, and which my friend translated into English so that we could give it to children here to read. If Kew Primary kids write to him he will be able to have his teacher or his parents help him to read the letter.
So I was thinking how cool would it be if Edoardo received a batch of letters from some kids in Australia? And how great if our kids got off their iPads, and their emails, and wrote a letter by hand, then went to the post office and bought and stamp and mailed it!? If you have a kid in Grade 4, 5 or 6 maybe you could pass on Edoardo’s letter:
My name is Edoardo,
I live in Montanaro and I go to school here. My Mamma and Papa own the Hotel Erbaluce.
I go to school at Figlie Di Carija – a private Catholic primary school meaning the Children of Clarity.
I start school at eight o’clock and I finish at four o’clock. I have morning tea (15 minutes) and half an hour for lunch. My favourite subjects are English, maths, science and art. I am in fifth grade. This is the last year of primary school (5 years). After 5th grade, I will start at the middle school (year 6) and stay there until year 8. Senior school goes from year 9 to year 13.
My best friends are Alessandra, Riccardo and Lorenzo.
Next year I will go to the middle school in Caluso, but my friends will go to school 9kms away from me in Montanaro. We like to ride bikes together and play Yu-Gi-Ho (a card game).
I go to a special magic school in Turin on Tuesdays (9pm-11pm). One day (when I have grown up) I want to be a professional magician. I am the youngest magician at my magic school. The other students range from 13 years old to 40 years old. There are 30 people in the class. We have school holidays in the summer for 3 ½ months from mid-June until the end of September. We have two weeks holiday at Christmas time, one week at Easter and some small religious holidays because I go to school with the nuns.
At Christmas time in Montanaro it snows at the hotel that my parents run. I like to ski in winter in the mountains an hour from my home and make snowmen at home.
I would love to write letters to a friend in Australia and will write back to you. My friends would like to write too.
Please write to me at:
Via: Castel Fidaro No.9
Paese: Montanaro 10017
With thanks to Sally Peters.