Showing posts with label Columbia South America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Columbia South America. Show all posts

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pen Pals Sepia Saturday 60 (Click here to get to the Sepia Saturday host site)

Last week's Sunday St. Paul Pioneer Press had a fascinating article that caught my eye, "Best friends for five decades--all through letters."   The article about 67 year old Maureen Keppy from Forest Lake, MN who has seen her best friend face-to-face just twice in 50 years.  She and Chihoko Nakamura of Japan have been pen pals over more than 50 years, starting when Maureen was in fourth grade in Iowa and Chihoko a couple years older.  They met once for 10 minutes at an airport and then in 2008 when Maureen and her hubby visited Japan for 10 days to spend time with Chihoko. This photo shows the two who have been corresponding monthly, in English, longhand,  really yes, old school,  pen to paper, using snail mail all those years,  a heart warming story. Maureen has all their letters, wouldn't that be a great thing to have.  I wonder if school children  get pen pals these days or would they even know what that is? It occurs to me that we could consider our blogger friends like pen pals but with a faster way to communicate.  Did you ever have a pen pal?   

August 1960 vacation, Ramino with his two
sisters somewhere in Columbia;
 the writing, "yo" is his, Spanish for me, I, myself.
I remembered that I had a pen pal in high school, a boy from Columbia South America.  I have not thought of him  forever and have never been to Columbia.  It was an exchange arranged by our high school Spanish teacher; I recall we wrote in Spanish to each other as he knew no English.  Digging through one small scrapbook that has survived my journeys, I found a small photo of Ramino, that was his first name and  the writing on the back o fthis photo has faded but it looks like his last name was Rosaria.  I recall little about him other than he lived in Columbia and we corresponded  for part of the 1959-60 school year and  part of a summer,  then I heard no more, I don't know if he  ceased writing or I did.   

I do recall my mother being very  suspicious of this activity; Mom was suspicious of any boy, but that is another long story, which caused lots of heart ache. She could not understand what we were writing because it was Spanish and this really annoyed her as she snooped, without the  slightest regard for my privacy. I asked my teacher to intervene, to call my mother to assure her I would not be abducted and sold into "white slavery" in some foreign land, as Mom feared. I didn't even know what white slavery was but Mom mentioned it and I knew it was upsetting.  How neat it would have  been to keep that friendship over the years as the women did.  I wonder whatever became of him now.

Sanctuary of the Lady of the Lajas
Although I have none of the letters, I have two postcards from Ramino,  one of the Sanctuary of the Lady of las Lajas in Narino, Columbia.  I found  a website with more  photos of this Columbian church which evidently it is quite famous, you can see for yourself  According to the website, the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Las Lajas in Ipiales, Nariño, Colombia is " seven kilometers from Ipiales,  on a bridge which spans a spectacular gorge of the Guáitara River..Legend has it that an image of the Virgin Mary appeared in the mid-18th century on an enormous rock above the river. Interestingly, the church has been constructed in such a way that the rock (and image) is its high altar. Pilgrims from all over Colombia and Ecuador journey here and, unsurprisingly, reports of miracles at the site are not uncommon. Accommodation is suitably ascetic, being provided in a small but cheery convent up the road from the church."  Interesting to see that it attracts folks today.  Raimuno"s card says only "to my friend" in Spanish. I think I  know more about this church now than I did at the time, pre computers and all...

The  other post card is Holtel, Nutibara in Medellin, Columbia which is  still standing and today looks much the same.  I shuddered a bit when I saw Medellin, because I believe  that is a well known drug cartel center.  Never the less, here is the 1959  postcard and from the website I found it may need updating but is still functional.
Hotel Nutibara, Medellin

This is my Sepia Saturday contribution, to see others' in  the international blogosphere, click on the title to this post.  It really will be worth your while to click to the host site to see the magnificent auto dug up from Archives for us this week....