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
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
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
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
Finally, on January 17,
2001, I located the pictures I had received from Peter, and wrote to Susan. And
just as I 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
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?....to 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,
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
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 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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