Day 1: Josie Adivino

Happy New Year!

Today is my first letter in my year-long commitment to write handwritten letters. I’ve seen a few other blogs that tried this, but I haven’t seen anyone get past a month or two. After successfully completing my Year of Giving project, I am confident that I can complete this task as well. I may however run out of people to write to, so feel free to send me your suggestions.

Josie in 1987

Josie in 1987

My first letter is to Josie Adivino – someone I met through letters in the 1980s. Back then when it wasn’t uncommon to sign up to have a pen pal with someone from another country, Josie and I were connected. At the time she lived in Legazpi City in the Philippines and I lived in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. We lost touch around the time I went to college.

As someone who I credit with helping me to develop a culture of letter-writing, I thought it fitting to start with a letter to Josie. While I have tried to find her through social media and Google searches, I have actually yet to find her physical address – and I’ve lost all the old letters she sent me. Hopefully through this project we can reconnect.

Josie Adivino


Dear Josie,

When I think about writing handwritten letters I often remember writing to you in the 1980s as pen pals when we were teenagers. I vividly remember how excited I would get when I would discover one of your red, white and Air Mail envelopes in the mailbox. I thought that I had kept them but it appears that they have been lost over the years. I did however find a small picture that you sent me in 1987.

I don’t remember when we stopped writing each other – but I think we were still in touch when I was an exchange student in Sinaloa, Mexico. You wanted to pursue a career in nursing, right? Did you end up becoming a nurse?

Today I live in Washington, DC. I’m not married – been close a few times. My brother Ryan lives with his wife and daughter in nearby Arlington, VA (Virginia). My mother died from heart related complications in 2006. My father still lives in my hometown of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania – about two hours from here.

I hope that this letter finds you well and that you write me back. It would be wonderful to know about your life since we were last in touch.

On this first day of January 2015, I wish you and your family and loved ones a year full of good health and happiness.

Your long lost pen pal,
Jason Reed Sandridge

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