A LONG-lost letter to America, sent from Limerick more than half a century ago, has stirred up memories and the hope of rekindling an old friendship.
When a farmhouse in Indiana was being cleared out ahead of its sale last month, a letter was uncovered that has an American woman eager to find an old Irish friend.
And this week 75-year-old Marilyn (Morris) Cale called on the Limerick Post to help find her Limerick pen pal Marguerite Spillane.
“In the 1950s, young women in the farmlands of the US could establish communication with international pen pals. I was raised in Indiana and connected with a young lady, Marguerite Spillane from Limerick. We corresponded for several years and then lost track of one another,” Marilyn told the Limerick Post.
Recently, as her deceased parents house in Indiana was being cleared out, a letter from Marguerite was found, postmarked January 10, 1960.
Studying to be a teacher at Mary Immaculate College at the time, Marguerite wrote of exams, Christmas holidays and the ‘trial by fire’ of working with young children as part of her training.
“Just before the Christmas holidays, which end tomorrow by the way, we had two and half weeks out in the schools in the city practicing teaching. Another student and I had a class of 56 girls of about 8 and 9 years old. They were sweet but very quick to notice our fear. I found it pretty difficult to keep control,” Marguerite confesses in her letter.
The Limerick woman also wrote about summer holidays in England where she described her visit to Stratford Upon Avon as “enchanting”. She also enthused about her first ever flight on an airplane.
“I flew over and back and the sensation in a plane is wonderful. I had never been to England before and neither had I flown, so I gained some new experience.”
Marilyn says that letters took some time to get between Indiana and Limerick so there could often be several months between communications. In the years since they last wrote to each other, Marilyn has worked in law enforcement, health insurance and even for a few years with the Denver Broncos. She has lived in Massachusetts, New Mexico and Texas before moving to Colorado Springs in 1984.
“I am now 75-years-old and would love to know the rest of her story,” Marilyn told the Limerick Post from her home in the US this week.
“I travelled through Ireland in 2015 and that brought back memories of our connection, without ever thinking one of her letters would have been saved by my late mother so many years ago. What a wonderful surprise and it has led me to you in my search for Marguerite Spillane.”
Anyone with any details to help Marilyn find out more about Marguerite Spillane can contact [email protected]
by Alan Jacques