CARE Then and Now: “Memories from all those years ago”

Photos of Janet and her penfriend Shirley as children when the correspondence started in the 1940s: “Me in what is obviously a very new Brownie uniform!” says Janet. “And Shirley in front of her American house in 1946.”

Janet Stevenson was living in Reading after the war:

I remember the food parcels which were sent to our school in Reading. I remember the powdered chocolate and the peanut brittle!

The food parcels were sent after the war when rationing became much tighter than during the actual war years, so maybe I was about 9 or 10 years old. We were all required to write thank you letters from our class. This resulted in a penfriendship which lasted 60+ years and we met once. When her fiancé was killed in a road accident my mother wrote to her mother and it became a family friendship.

Photos of Janet and Shirley on their wedding days
“The wedding photos are dated Shirley 1956 [on the right] and mine was 1959 [on the left],” says Janet

[CARE Then and Now] has brought back a lot of memories from all those years ago. My penfriend Shirley is now sadly dead, but we corresponded regularly and watched our families grow up through black-and-white and then colour photos – long before the days of email and Skype. When we did at last meet at her house in Virginia, Shirley’s comment was:

Just like carrying on from the last letter isn’t it!

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News and stories are provided by CARE staff working to support our emergency responses and long-term development programmes.