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Pen pal assignment leads to lifelong friendship

January 15, 2019 Sandy Bexon, Chinook’s Edge School Division

After 40 years of dedicated correspondence, Tracee Lamy finally met her British pen pal for the first time this past summer.

Now a teacher at Gasoline Alley Career High School in Red Deer County, Lamy was in Grade 6 at Fairview Junior High School when she first started corresponding with Jackie Cooper of Hatfield, England as part of a language arts assignment. It was instant friendship when the two were matched, and they corresponded often through the years. Whenever a new letter arrived, their families were also excited and interested in the stories they shared with one another.

“It was quite an event for my family in a northern Alberta farming community to be connected with a family in England!” Lamy says. “Over the years, we have graduated, gotten married, had our children and now we both have a grandson under the age of two. Our lives have run fairly parallel and our friendship has grown as each year goes by.”

Social media allowed the pen pals to deepen their long-distance communication even further. When Lamy and her husband travelled to England last summer to celebrate their 25th anniversary, meeting Cooper (now Mills) was “at the top of the bucket list.” They shared a weekend with Mills, her husband and their extended family.

“My love of reading and writing has definitely aided in keeping our friendship going,” Lamy says. “It was such a treat to have our worlds meet for the first time!” ❚

Chinook’s Edge teacher Tracee Lamy (right) met her longtime pen pal Jackie Mills for the first time during a visit to England in the summer.