Women who remained pen pals since being paired together in school back in 1980 finally met in person

ByMatteo Iadonisi WPVI logo
Monday, October 23, 2023
43-year-long pen pals meet in person for the first time
It started as a class project in the 5th grade. Haley and Krystel then stayed in touch for four decades before meeting in person.

WAYNE, Pennsylvania -- "Only difference is now we've been in the same place at the same time," said Krystel Alston about her lifelong friend, Haley Briggs.

Alston and Briggs were paired up as pen pals during elementary school in 1980. The 10-year-olds were from California and Pennsylvania respectively.

"I'm sure they were probably hoping that we would stay connected or you know, or continue on with it," said Alston.

They sure did.

"We wrote by-hand letters for a long time," said Briggs. "I think we thought about each other, you know, whether we were in contact or not."

They discovered what each other had and did not have in common.

"Our differences, we would write about and that's what I would learn about and she would learn about me," said Alson. "It was a new experience with a new person."

The communication by mail went out of style with the advent of social media, where both women could share photos and speak with each other more frequently.

"There was definitely breaks in there," said Briggs.

"We always stayed in touch in some way," added Alston.

The women intended on meeting in-person for the first time to celebrate their 50th birthday. Unfortunately, the lockdowns in 2020 postponed that opportunity.

Finally, the stars aligned for Alston to visit Pennsylvania. The friends met in person for the first time at Courtyard by Marriott in Wayne. Then, they enjoyed dinner at an Italian restaurant.

"We'll just continue to stay in contact and stay in each other's lives," said Alston.