When my wise old grandmother (MWOG) adopted me in December 1965, I had four main interests that I had developed in my 10 years and 9 months of life: Mother & Father Nature (flora & fauna), music, and philately.
MWOG didn’t know what philately was, until I told her it was stamp collecting. For Christmas she bought me a subscription to Linn’s Weekly Stamp News. Best. Grandmother. Ever.
In the advertisements in the last pages was a section titled “Pen Pals.” These weren’t just ordinary pen pals, though. They were philatelist (stamp collector) pen pals. Write a letter, put stamps on the envelope, and your pen pal may or may not read whatever was in the envelope being just so happy to get free postage stamps from another country.
Back in those days I had many, many pen pals, and I had my little journal that helped me keep track of who I wrote to, and when, and when I got a response from them. My longest pen pal relationship lasted from 1966 to 1973. Sadly, I have forgotten his name and what country he was from, and my little journal was absconded by MWOG when I went off to college. She was terribly upset at me for going off to college 270 miles away, so everything that I couldn’t take with me when I left was not there when I came home for the weekend a month later. She had gathered up all the stuff that I had left, figuring I didn’t want it and that she would never see me again, and sold it at one of her city-famous garage sales.
Here is is 51 years later and I still have pen pals. My little journal is now an Excel spreadsheet. There are no stamps involved. It’s much easier to write a “letter.” It’s called blogging.
Occasionally a blogging pen pal arrives in San Diego, and when that happens, often I get notification. Yesterday, I had the pleasure to go out with Liz Flint and Bryan Flint. I met Liz when we both were blogging on a real estate blog site a decade ago; I was there from 2007 to 2011 before I set out on my own here at WordPress. Liz and Bryan are from Tomball, Texas, a northwestern suburb of Houston. Tomball happens to be where my favorite aunt and uncle lived for several decades, so I was intimately familiar with the area.
Liz and Bryan made it to San Diego back in May 2013. I had the pleasure of taking them to the San Diego Zoo, the cactus garden at Balboa Park, the San Diego Model Railroad Museum (also in Balboa Park), and train spotting. All three of us are railroad fans and photographers.
Yesterday they were in San Diego again. I had the pleasure of going with them to the Carlsbad Flower Fields and then out to eat and a place right by some very active railroad tracks where we could watch Coaster and Amtrak trains go by. They had taken Amtrak from Houston to Los Angeles, driven down to San Diego to go to the Flower Fields, and then drove back to Los Angeles. They will be taking Amtrak to San Diego on April 6 to catch a cruise ship that will take them through the Panama Canal and to Florida. I’ll be out there on April 6 taking a video of their Amtrak train. Meanwhile……..
Some pictures from the Carlsbad Flower Fields yesterday featuring Liz & Bryan:
And, of course, the requisite picture of Bryan taking a picture of an Amtrak train:
If you make it to San Diego or anywhere close by, let me know. You might get free tickets to something (usually the Zoo or Safari Park), discounted tickets, and, perhaps, your own personal docent.
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