Longtime pen pals finally meet in rural Alaska

BETHEL, Alaska — Eight years ago, Lucy Rodgers was 10 years old, living in Waterville, Vt. She was pretty interested in bears and wanted a pen pal. She looked for a region in bear country, and wrote a letter to the school in what sounded like a neat place: Eek. The school connected Rodgers to 9-year-old Florence Moore and they started writing letters.

“Some of our letters would be just information about what was like to live where we live and some of it would be just whatever, like my friend was mean to me,” Rodgers said.

Sometimes they would answer letters quickly, other times a year would go by. They sent dozens of letters over the years, but no Facebook, no emails, and no phone calls. Just old-fashioned letters.

As young teenagers, they had told each other that they would one day visit each other. But life got busy and the letters got less frequent. Until recently they hadn’t talked in two years. In August, Moore did what she always did and sent a letter. And Rodgers sped things up, immediately setting up a Facebook account to get a hold of Moore and then quickly buy plane tickets.

“It was almost like a day before she came but it was actually three days. Really last minute,” Moore said.

Rodgers flew from California to Bethel and was able to meet Moore at her dentist’s appointment.

“I just looked up from my book and she was standing in the doorway kind of looking around, I think she was afraid to say hi in case it wasn’t really me. And we sort of looked at each other for a second to see if we were looking for someone else,” Rodgers said.

“And so we stepped out of the office and hugged,” Moore said.

In Eek, Rodgers has spent time with Moore’s family and eaten local foods. But they also had time to talk about things that didn’t make it into the letters. Moore is now a mother.

“I thought that if I told her that she might think different of me and would stop talking to me. But she’s glad I told her because obviously having a child is a huge part of someone’s life and it is a really big part of my life. I’m glad that she’s really accepting,” Moore said.

It’s of course now Moore’s turn to visit. Once she graduates and saves some money, she’s planning on making the trip down to Vermont. But until then, they will stick with what works, and write each other letters.

“We’re not just going to all of sudden stop talking to each other, because it’s been eight years and we already know each other so well. I think we’ve gotten a lot closer since we met. Like a lot closer,” Moore said.

More in Local News

Treatment center in north Everett could open in 2020

The 32-bed facility on 10th Street would serve people with addiction and mental illness.

NOPEYEP, YEPNOPE: We love our personalized license plates

Street Smarts asked you to send in vanity plate finds, and readers did not disappoint.

Bill Short, 74, and his sister Pat Veale, 73, attended the old Emander School, which was near what’s now I-5 and 128th Street in south Everett. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Woman wants to commemorate a neighborhood long gone

Pat Veale and her siblings grew up in the Emander area of south Everett.

Somers sees Paine Field as focal point of a thriving county

In an annual speech, he also acknowledged challenges such as opioid addiction, crime and homelessness.

Man revived from opioid overdose at county jail

He was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center then returned to the jail a few hours later.

Man arrested after robbery reported at Lynnwood Walgreens

He matched the description of a suspect in an earlier robbery reported about three miles away.

Bomb threat clears lobby at the Snohomish County Jail

Officers shut down Oakes Avenue between Wall Street and Pacific Avenue in downtown Everett.

Slide prompts closure of Whitehorse trail east of Arlington

More than two miles of the route will be closed indefinitely “due to significant earth movement.”

Costco is considering building store in Lake Stevens

The Issaquah-based chain is doing due diligence on the property, which is mostly owned by the city.

Most Read