Looking back, Geoff Banks of Devon, England can hardly even remember how he first started writing to his American friend, Celesta Byrne.
Geoff and Celesta were given each other’s names and addresses as part of a school pen pal program back in 1938. They’re both now 100 years old, and a lot has changed in the past 84 years, but one thing has not: they still write to each other regularly!
“I honestly struggle to remember how we got in touch, but I was talking to Celesta recently and I think it was something to do with an American school’s scheme,” Geoff said “They matched us up with Americans for a pen pal relationship, and somehow I ended up with this letter from an American girl, and we just kept corresponding ever since.”
Geoff and Celesta’s relationship never turned romantic, but they shared a lot over the decades. They kept up their correspondence through WWII, sending updates about their families, friends, and work. In 2002, they finally got a chance to meet in person during a trip to New York City. Two years later, they met up again, but ever since then they’ve gone back to pen and paper.
Recently, they’ve switched to digital forms of communication to stay in touch, something that’s easier been easier on their eyes and hands. Their children have helped them set up email accounts, and they also video chat.
“I have this new thing called Zoom, I think, now to chat with her, but I leave all the technology to younger people,” said Geoff. “They’re much better at pressing all the buttons.”
Geoff says writing to Celesta has been “a source of great satisfaction” for him over the years, and Celesta says their relationship is “like people who live next door.”
“You know how they’re doing, you say a few words, and then you both go to work,” she explained.
“She’s always been there to write to, even if it was just birthday cards and Christmas cards,” Geoff added.
Watch the video below to learn more about this very unique tale of lifelong friends, and don’t forget to share.
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