"You know, we could start a pen pal club." My mom said.
My mom worked in public relations for most of my childhood, so this proclamation wasn't surprising to my eight year-old self.
So we did what my mom was good at, we started writing. Together we wrote a press release and called our pen pal club Friends Forever Pen Pal Club
Then my mom took out a book that listed the addresses of all the newspapers and their editors around the country.
We sent that press release to every major newspaper in the United States.
In the mean time, we rented a P.O. Box on 93rd Street and Columbus Avenue.
Each day, we would go the P.O. Box and check for letters, and each day we were disappointed to find that the box was empty.
Then one fateful day in 1989, we went to the post office (as we usually did) expecting to find the box empty, but we were wrong. My mom turned the key to P.O.Box 20103 and as the lock clicked, our mouths dropped open.
The box was overflowing with letters. My mom grabbed the envelopes and handed a stack to me. We were both gleaming. We examined the letters and found that they were all from kids of varying ages requesting pen pals! Each envelope contained the three dollar fee and a letter describing each child's age and list of hobbies.
Then, there was another letter. It was from a newspaper. We opened it together and found that it was an article about our company!
It turned out that our press release had been picked up by a "knight rider" service and was circulated to a bunch of different newspapers around the country!
It was one of the best days of my life. It was the day my mom and I started a business together.
Friends Forever Pen Pal Club would grow after that day. We had kids from all over the world writing in requesting pen pals. They were from Ireland, Africa, Canada, and Australia to name a few places.
I had a pen pal named Anne who lived in Washington state. We wrote from the time we were nine until I was 13 or so. Since I lost touch with Anne, I've looked for her online but to no avail.
Friends Forever Pen Pal Club soon faded into oblivion with the advent of the Internet. But I will always treasure those days.
I will never forget that fateful day that my mom and I opened that P.O. Box.
I love you mom.