Pen Pals

"El Panameño Visto a Traves de su Lenguaje" by Luisita Aguilera Patiño

At the Institute my friends and I had started making it a habit of visiting the same girls at the Liceo de Señoritas which was quite a distance from the Institute.  We took jaunts over their any time we could get away just to keep us linked to newer acquaintances other than the same guys at the Institute. The girls were good company even if it was for a short time until they would have to go home. Nevertheless, they were really only good for making small talk with.

One day our Spanish teacher, Profesora Luisita Aguilera Patiño, announced, “Who of you would like to participate in the ‘Pen Pal’ program?”  Without a moments hesitation I entered my name on the list that was passed around the class.  I promptly proceeded to forget the whole matter of “Los Amigos de Pluma.”  The teacher had told us that the list would go out to somewhere in the world and people our age would pick from it whom they would like to correspond with.

From that moment on I only occasionally indulged in hopes that someone would choose my name and then I would not have to count on friends at school who could care less for the likes of me. The Pen Pal program actually became one of the vehicles at school that would get me into letter writing and really make writing something fun- period.

After what seemed like weeks, on one of those typical mornings, we were all personally notified by Profesora Patiño who called us to her desk individually. “Mr. Reid you have messages here!” she exclaimed excitedly, as I hurried to her desk.  She handed me the two addresses with the exuberance of a little girl. I suppose she was as excited as I was.  By the time I finished copying the addresses down so that I could answer my new friends, I was beside myself with joy to realize that both of my respondents were girls, one from the country of Argentina and the other from Chile.

The days passed swiftly as I pondered my good fortune and I began formulating what I would write to my newly found friends.  One day the teacher announced, “The last time some of you received respondents. Well, that has been all we have received gentlemen; we shall wait for more people to respond to your requests for friends from Panama.”

However, I was secretly quite pleased to discover after her announcement that I, being the sole Westindian representative in the class, a real son of the Silver Roll, was the only one to have received more than one pen pal and that they were both girls.

This story will continue.

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