Local People

Published on July 5th, 2017 | by Brittain Thompson


Oxford Woman Reunites with English Pen Pal 30 Year Later

Though largely an antiquated hobby now, pen pals were once very common. People would often even have several pen pals at a time, exchanging letter and getting to know these complete strangers.

Almost 40 years ago, Robin Bolton of Oxford, Mississippi and Carol Szyszlyk of Suffolk, England became pen pals. The two bonded over the details of each other’s lives despite there being a bit of a cultural barrier

“I didn’t understand a third of things she said to me,” said Bolton. “I remember being very methodical and spelling out everything that I thought. She was studious and made it happen, I was the worst writer.”

The two ended up bonding over Elvis, who grew up not far from Bolton’s hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.

 “He was my dad’s idol,” said Szyszlyk.

After Bolton’s parents divorced she was forced to move, losing contact with Szyszlyk. In 2009 she began searching for her English pen pal on Facebook but had no luck. Bolton dug up her friend’s old address and sent a letter hoping someone would read it and know where Szyszlyk was now living.

“I penned a letter hoping someone would track down this family and fair enough her daddy still lived there,” said Bolton.

It turns out her father was still living at that address. He put the two in touch and they were finally able to have that weekend together they had always talked about. The Local Voice Ligature



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About the Author

Brittain is an associate editor of The Local Voice, ex-journalism student, and bad noise maker from the highway town of Brandon, MS.

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