The Grand Finale of our five-part blog mini-series has arrived. Today’s interview features a pair of pen pals who have bonded exclusively via exchanges of incredibly creative and intricate snail mail creations!
For the month of March, we’ve celebrated IGGPPC’s second birthday by featuring stories about friendships that have formed via our lovely club. To read last week’s Tale of Two Pen Pals featuring Shelby and Toni, click here.
How did the two of you first get in touch?
Katherine: I met my awesome pen pal, Dagmar, in a Pen Pal Matching Round! After 2 previous attempts to find someone who loved putting pen to paper as much as I did, I found success! I distinctly remember the morning when I received an email from the IGGPPC team notifying me of yet another opportunity to throw my name into the hat for a chance at meeting a pen pal. I did some serious thinking on that one, as I am not one to quit – but pretty averse to rejection! I finally decided to go ahead and try one more time. And I’m so happy that I did! I was thrilled when Dagmar responded right away to our introductory email – and with such enthusiasm! As soon as I read her first email (we only emailed twice), I knew I’d hit the jackpot!
Dagmar: I was as excited as Katherine. I had put my name in once before and my pen pal and I wrote a couple of times and then we sort of fizzled. My daughter said, “Hey mom why don’t you put your name in again.” so I did. It was the best thing I could have done. As fate would have it, Katherine and I were matched and we have become fast friends.
What led to you becoming friends?
Katherine: I think that the reason I first felt a friendship building between Dagmar and myself is because we are so different. I mean, we complement each other – Ying and Yang, you might say. She’s a good listener, while I’m a long-winded talker (writer!). Dagmar’s compassionate, while I tend to need encouragement to accept things as they are. She’s a family person, while I cherish my “alone time”, together with just my husband and our Corgi, Ron. And she’s got terrible handwriting, while mine is actually legible! But, the most important reason came to light during our friendship journey as I began to open up to her in my notes. Dagmar displayed the most important trait a friend could have for me: she accepted me just as I am. There’s no finer friend than that. Oh, there are so many reasons that I could list about our becoming friends; but I think in the end, the reason we clicked is mostly because she’s got a heart as big as Texas!
Dagmar: I agree with Katherine, I too believe we complement each other perfectly! I was a little nervous when I found out she was a handwriting expert because I have the world’s worst handwriting, (and I am not even a doctor)…especially when I am tired. I thought to myself, “This won’t be good!” The ever patient Katherine always spends the time to decipher my handwriting and never complains. She is a most excellent writer and I look forward to reading the descriptive and sometimes humorous accounts of her day. She too accepts me for whom I am and I love who she is!
We’ve heard about the intricate, lovingly crafted mail that you each send to each other! Could you please tell us a little bit about it?
Katherine: Oh, gosh! I just love to let the creative juices flow when I am writing to Dagmar! Besides my creativity with writing, I was never much of a “crafty” person. But, now I am scouring the scrapbooking shops in search of fun stickers and letters, shapes and forms to share with her! It’s so much fun to put my words into pictures as I describe the adventures of my life. Dagmar and I only communicate through letters; so words are very important. They paint the picture of our emotions, dreams, lives, and families. And the creative add-ons give them life! The reason why I began using creative “add-ons” in my letters is because the IGGPPC website hinted – strongly – that writing to your pen pal should be a fun and expressive experience. And it has. Every time I read about something creative, I think, “I’ll do that for Dagmar!” And sometimes I will get an idea and have to run out and buy the supplies and get started! I think that we both enjoy some “sticker fun” because we both work with children!
Dagmar: I started out using stickers and fun paper to try to disguise how bad my handwriting really was. Don’t let Katherine fool you, she has more than just legible handwriting. She has the kind of handwriting most of us aspire to have. She is the type of person who can write perfectly straight and beautifully on paper without lines. She is also super creative and has inspired me to be more creative. I too try to find unusual, creative and even some quirky ways to share my thoughts with Katherine. I listed shopping as one of my top 5 geek loves because I am constantly looking for creative ways to express my thoughts. I shop in quaint little shops, paper stores, craft stores hardware stores and even the grocery stores seeking out crafty new ideas. My husband says no place is safe to take me and complains that I even shop in gas stations. Barely a day goes by that I do not think hmm…how can I apply this to my writing? The add-ons truly give a sparkle to our writing, a picture to our thoughts and just make going to the mailbox that much more fun!
What is your favorite piece of mail that you’ve received from each other?
Katherine: Coincidentally, my favorite piece of mail from Dagmar just came this past week! She sent me a Family Book chock full of pictures that chronicled her family’s past year. The book is an amazing glimpse into her life and the lives of the people she treasures the most! I got to go Jeeping with them, spend Thanksgiving at her house, open Christmas presents at her mom’s, and play cards with her dad! And I got to try on a Spirit Hood and pet all of her precious dogs! I will treasure her family memories forever! Up until I received the Family Book, however, my favorite piece of mail was my Birthday Card on Steroids! My birthday is my favorite holiday and Dagmar made it even better with a gigantic card with tons of fun gifts tucked inside!
Dagmar: My very most favorite piece of mail from Katherine is the calendar she sent me this year. This calendar is one of the most thoughtful gifts, I have ever received. She took the time to write me a note on every single day of the year. These notes are all hand-written with add-on stickers, foldables or notecards. She looked at our school calendar on-line and knew when school started, when all our holidays would be, the 100th day of school, and when school ended, just to name a few. Many of the days have inspirational notes, for example, “Life is not a matter of milestones, but of moments.” from Rose Kennedy. These notes really help keep my spirits lifted. There are also gentle reminders to let others in my life know how special they are. One note said “Spread some smiles around! Some are humorous, For instance, April 10th’s note is “Weather forecast for tonight: DARK! ☺ ” I look at this calendar every day and am reminded of our friendship, her thoughtfulness and just how much she means to me.
How frequently are you in contact? Do you keep in touch in other ways, besides via snail mail?
Katherine: No! We have not corresponded via anything but snail mail! Isn’t that what pen pal-ing is all about! In fact, I’ve never even heard Dagmar’s voice! But I feel as though she is sitting down and talking with me when I read her letters. We write often, sometimes simply dropping a post card into the mail. Besides my long-winded books that could appropriately be called “novels,” I like to write up 5 or 6 postcards or short letters when I have the time and then send them off day by day just to keep in touch. It’s fun coming up with different ways to say “hi!”
Dagmar: We truly have kept up the spirit of pen-paling through snail mail! With all the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it is really nice to just take the time to slow down and share daily reflections with a great friend! We both send post cards or a quick card when we do not have a ton of time. We write each other at least once a week but some weeks I receive and send mail daily! Katherine is really the better writer and is such a deep thinker. She sent a Smash book two weeks ago and it is so detailed and well written that I have read it over and over again! I am so thankful that she has taken the time to get to know me better and shares her life with me. I love to receive her writings in the mail and so look forward to having the opportunity to get to know her a little better with each letter!
What are your top five geek loves of the moment?
Katherine: Writing, Pen Pal-ing, Reading, Cross Stitching, Photography
Dagmar: Pen-Paling, Reading, Jeeping, Junking, Shopping
Do you have any geek love(s) or fandom(s) you bond over?
Katherine: We both love working with children – is that geeky? We both care about our communities and local charities. And, I guess, we both love sending and receiving snail mail!
Dagmar: Just to add a little to what Katherine said, we also both love our pets (I just have a few more than she does), both love to read, both love to take pictures (mine are just with my iPhone and I am just not near as talented) and we are both very inquisitive. We send each other questions in every letter and I always look forward to the answers.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Katherine: Yes! I’d like to say that Dagmar’s zest for life has been such a positive influence for me during these past 18 months. Right from the start, finding her letters in the mailbox has brought a smile to my face. And there’s nothing better than that!
Dagmar: Pen-paling with the ever fabulous Katherine has become a huge part of my life. Today’s calendar message from Katherine is so perfect, it reads, Adventure is worthwhile—Amelia Earhart. I cannot wait until her next letter arrives in the mailbox, so we can continue our adventure together!
Thank you to Dagmar and Katherine for sharing their inspiring story of friendship through prolific craftiness with us. And thanks also to Overlord Toast for suggesting I feature them in my series! This is the last installment of our Tale of Two Pen Pals celebration series. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these awesome stories about iggles from all over the world connecting through our community. Here’s to many more years of friendship and fun through our club. Happy 2nd Birthday, IGGPPC!