It all began in seventh grade, my first year of French class, with $1 and an address. Twenty-nine years later, as my daughter finished up her first year of seventh grade French, my parents and my family of five traveled to Bordeaux and reunited with my penpal.
For a dollar in 1983, I got her address in Floirac, Bordeaux in southwestern France. Benedicte, Bene for short, was a year older than me, she wrote to me in English and I wrote to her in French. We were learning one another’s language and we craved more interaction, more practice, and a glimpse into each other’s lives.
Bene and I mailed pictures, books, postcards, maps, cassettes and trinkets along with lengthy letters. We corresponded for years without ever having met or spoken. We were intercontinental friends and eventually arranged our first meeting.[caption id="attachment_259" align="alignleft" width="250"] Bene and me in France in the summer of 1989[/caption]