Do you remember pen pals?

In elementary school, we would have blocks – I don’t remember what grade we were in – where we would get a list of kids in a school somewhere else in the world and we would write them letters. I thought this was the neatest thing back then.

The last pen pal I had was from Australia. I don’t remember all of the specifics of those letters, but I do remember that every pen pal I ever had asked the same opening questions to us Alaskans. We would have a good chuckle and crinkle our eyebrows … it was the 90’s surely they didn’t actually believe any of this:

Do you live in an igloo?

Do you have a dog sled?

Is there snow all year round?

Is it true the sun never comes up in the winter?

Certain movies of that time frame probably perpetuated those assumptions. North for example. If you don’t know it, it was an Elijah Wood movie from 1994. One of those kid movies where the main character decides he doesn’t like his parents so he looks for new ones. This movie consisted of so many cultural stereotypes it would have never been made today since it would have offended too many people. The family in Alaska of course lived in a huge igloo with a team of dogs that took them everywhere. I was in the 4th grade (I think) when it came out.

As I got older people would and still do ask these questions. I don’t get it. I guess it’s similar to having a famous name and having people ask you if you’re related or something (think Office Space and Micheal Bolton). If you think you’re being funny, you’re not … insert eye roll here.

All that being said, I miss letter writing. I think I might pick that up again. I’d need a pen pal though. I used to write my favorite aunt who lived in Anchorage at the time. I loved getting letters from her … but that was all before email, text messaging, social media, etc. It would be cool to find someone new and random to write to … to the Google! I’ll see if there’s a pen pal matching service or something.


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