Letter to the Corinthians - Volume 1.


Whaddya mean there's another sack of post? says the teenage me through gritted teeth while Little Thomasina makes us pose in our jumpers in the noonday sun.
A Nun - who shall remain nameless - had put MY name in The Far East and I  received a war chest of tissue thin pale blue letters from all over the World.
Our letterbox was as expectant as a Corinthians.
I behaved outrageously, lying and messing in each response, and in some instances composing, adding gifts,  ( coins sellotaped to the paper, locks of hair, ribbons from chocolate boxes made into Celtic knots, Brigid's Crosses, Irish lace Doileys stolen off the kitchen table etc ) and then addressing and sealing the decorated and coloured in envelopes but never actually posting them.

. I was writing to (albeit sporadically mailing) children all over the world - as well as Waterford, Dublin, and Meath.
What is palpable now from them is the innocence on display as we found out about and dripfed each other our daily lives.
“My Mother is a house wife” being the stock response from Carnesore to Korea, my Australian pal wrote endless reams on wafer thin paper about her pets and animals in Adelaide, my French pal about her life in Paris, her broken English delightful and hilarious by turns. 
I also had an admirer from Ballivor  who entreated me in every letter for a photograph or a sketch of my hair. I had been describing myself in every missive as being small, with brown hair and green eyes. 
He wrote for years until a woman appeared on the scene, who not being much of a writer, read him the Riot Act instead whereupon Goodbye was all he wrote. 
My Korean pal sent dolls in National Costume,  and souvenirs and intricate ink sketches, my brother promptly responding to one of our more spectacular rows by bashing in the pale painted cheeks of the coiffured girl in national dress with the drum around her neck.
You can nearly tell from the photo that he is as Ornery as his skin and blister.
We had more fights about the bubble wrap which we took delight in popping, in tandem with our eyes as we had never seen the likes of it  before.

Ballivor,
County Meath,
7th Jan. 1979
Dear Michelle,
I saw your name in The Far East and I would like to know will you be my penpal?
I am 4'11" in height and have brownish hair and blue eyes. 
I would like you to be my penpal as it is over two years ago since I had one. 
It was a girl from Tallaght and although I enjoyed writing to her at first, but then I got fed up because I was doing all the writing. 
I forgot to tell you that I am 13 and a half years old. 
My favourite actress is Farah Fawcett Majors and actor is Paul Newman. My favourite pop stars are Boney M, the Bee Gees, and Boomtown Rats. The music I like is Rock and Pop and Country & Western. 2 of my 4 sisters are married, and I have 2 nieces and a nephew. 
I was supposed to go back to school last week but there are burst pips so Thank God for that.
Well, Michell, I've told you all about myself and I would love if you would be my penpal
 so from me to you Good Bye
Lots of LOVE (underlined)
Paddy. 


Ps - I wish you and your family a very happy New Year.


Ps - Here is my address again,
------ ------
-----------
--------
-- -----
-------
Ps - Please write soon if you WILL be my penpal.
And excuse the bad writing.









St. Peters Square,
Wexford. 
10/01/79


Dear Paddy,
Many thanks for your letter which I received today. 
I have about a hundred penpals to date as a Korean agency sent me a letter with my name listed in a magazine called Echo, which may explain the activity at the front door. 
I also have brownish coloured hair but green eyes. 
You CAN (underlined) be my penpal, as the more the merrier and also  I have never had a girl in Tallaght. 
My favourite Actor is Robert de Niro, and actress is Tatum O'Neal or Jodie Foster. My favourite bands are Thin Lizzy, 10 cc, Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac and Rory Gallagher.
I am the oldest in our house so have no nieces or nephews .... yet.
I'd say you were delighted when the pipes burst as I hate school too. 
I am on a warning for trying to have a seance in the girls toilets and hiding in a wardrobe when Sr. Spit was teaching. The smell of the wet coats made me jump out and run to the last desk but she caught me as she had just done the role and the lads told her I was sick at lunch.
She told the Principal I was unteachable and unmanageable when she brought me to the office. 
They have written to my Parents. 
Lot's of LOVE to you too Pad,
Write soon and send me another photo.
Do you have a girlfriend?
Goodbye for now,
Michelle xxx

   
Tomorrow night I will answer a letter 35 years late. 
I wonder can I find those people  now .........................





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