Patsy Gregory of England and Carol-Ann Krause of New York, both 80, have been writing letters to each other from opposite sides of the Atlantic since they were 12 years old in 1955.
They met when Gregory was in the Girl Guides in the UK and Krause was in the Girl Scouts in the United States.
“In the Girl Guides, I happened to get Carol-Ann’s name,” Gregory told South West News Service. “We began writing and never stopped. That’s all there is to it.”
“We’ve always remembered each other on our wedding anniversaries, Christmas, and other occasions. And we’ve kept in touch even now,” Krause explained.
Gregory explained that they would write at least one letter to each other every two months, discussing school, who they dated, and what was going on in their lives.
The two women have never ceased writing over the previous 68 years, sending more than 800 letters between them, and even went through comparable life stages at the same time, including getting married just one year apart and each having three children.
“It was just little things like that,” Gregory said. “It was as if I’d known her my entire life, but we’d never met.”
But, as her 80th birthday came on June 6, Gregory told her daughter, Steph Calam, that she had always intended to pay a visit to Krause, who now lives in Conway, South Carolina.
Her daughter tracked down Krause’s family on social media and asked whether they were interested in meeting up — to which they, of course, replied yes.
“I was more than glad to accept her offer. “Our birthdays are only a month apart,” Krause explained.
Gregory’s family surprised her on her 80th birthday with a flight to South Carolina so she could finally meet her pen pal on July 14.
“It was quite emotional — it was lovely,” Gregory said about meeting Krause. “I recognized her straight away; she looked just like her photograph.
“It was just as though I’d seen her last week because we’d known of each other for so long,” she added.
Krause admitted that she was a bit nervous to finally meet her pen pal in person.
“It was emotional,” she said. “I was a bundle of nerves.”
During their visit, the two talked for hours about their friendship and loved seeing local attractions and eating out.
“There was a lot of talking. We went out for a variety of meals at restaurants that Carol-Ann and her husband enjoyed,” Gregory said.