The Catt Box



This is a wonderful story. After 30 years, my long lost pen pal from Johannesburg, South Africa has been located...and in the most incredible way. His name is Peter Scott.

When I was about 15 years old, or so, I was given the opportunity to have a pen pal....from somewhere in the world. I have always been an avid letter writer and jumped at the chance. I submitted my name and waited. The rest is history. I became pen pals with Peter Scott, who was about a year or so older than me. And he wrote wonderful, long letters ....I loved his letters. He was intelligent, articulate, interesting...and he was attentive. After some time later, we lost touch with each other, and I never forgot him or what he did for me. I'll tell you more about that later.

On November 25, 2000, I received an award submission from Susan Venter....I have an awards program for websites and she was one of two that I received that day. I had no way of knowing how much of an impact Susan would have on my life.

When I reviewed Susan's site, I noticed right away that she was in South Africa...the country where my pen pal was from, at least back when I wrote to him. When I presented her with the website awards, I told her a little about Peter Scott and how much he meant to me. He was the best thing that happened to me in my teenage years. I really wanted to find him. It was important for me to tell him what an inspiration he was to me.

Susan wrote back to thank me for the awards and mentioned at the end of her letter that she could try to help me locate Peter. I remembered Peter mentioning Johannesburg and also Pretoria, but I wasn't sure where he lived. Susan needed to have the correct city, as they are large cities and it would narrow down her search considerably. 

And to tell you the truth, Susan and I neither one were holding our breath over the chances of her finding him. What are the chances of finding Peter after these 30 years? I had no idea if he was still in South Africa. I remember back when we wrote to each other he would often mention wanting to come to the United States. So, I had no way of knowing where he was.

On December 12, 2000 I wrote to Susan and told her more background information about Peter and I, and what our relationship was like back then...what he meant to me and how I really wanted to tell him how much he helped me. She still needed to know the city in which he had lived. I remembered that Peter sent me a few pictures...and one of those pictures was of a beautiful water fountain...and I just knew that the picture would have the clue we needed as to which city she could begin her search. But we did know one thing, both cities were close to where Susan lived.

Finally, on January 17, 2001, I located the pictures I had received from Peter, and wrote to Susan. And just as I fountain_in_johannesburg.jpg (20867 bytes)suspected.....the back of the picture would reveal the name of the city....Johannesburg. Our first real clue! Peter had written the information in pencil, and though it was faded, it could still be read quite easily. I remembered how much I loved looking at this photograph as a teenager. I have never seen a more beautiful fountain. 

MarizkaPieter.jpg (7224 bytes)On January 25, 2001 Susan wrote to me that she was having a little trouble getting her hands on a Johannesburg phone book....but she has a girlfriend, Marizka, who has a boyfriend, Pieter, who lives in Johannesburg, and she was going to get a copy of the phone book page with every "Peter Scott" on the page. The game plan? send a "form letter" to all of them and see who responds. Here a sample of what she sent out to all those named P. Scott....(I left off Susan's mailing address)


I am in search of a man named Peter Scott who lives in Johannesburg, so I'm sending this letter to all the P. Scotts in the phonebook. Please read further and if you think you might be him, please reply. If not, then please just ignore this letter. 

I have a friend who lives in America. Many years ago she had a pen friend (Peter Scott) who lived in Johannesburg. She has asked me to try and find him for her. She is now 45 years old and happily married. 

Her name and address back then was: Cathy Frances Alexander...360 Broad Street...Perryville, Maryland...21903...USA. 

She really would like to get in contact with him again after all these years. So, if you are this Peter Scott, would you please reply to this letter? Then I could put you in contact with her. I would really like to help her out. 

Yours sincerely, Susan Venter

Well, I just knew there would be hundreds of them in that book. I held the tiniest shred of hope, but bless her heart, she was really trying to help me. I was beginning to think of how many stamps that would take, and the paper, and as soon as I heard back from her, I was going to offer her some money. I certainly never expected for her to spend any money of her own in order to do this for me.

Susan_01.jpg (7802 bytes)

Susan wrote back to me on January 27, 2001, and we wrote about some other things. (Here is a picture of the beautiful Susan Venter) You see, as she was lining up her search for Peter, Susan and I were getting to know each other a little better, swapping our life histories and engaging in chit-chat. That was the last I was to hear from her, until February 2, 2001....just six days later...and she was about to change my life....

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