Pen pal's postcard sent 66 years ago finally arrives

Wish you were here in 1955! Pen pal’s postcard sent 66 years ago finally arrives after being unearthed in charity shop

  • Chris Hermon kept a pen pal correspondence with Fred Kendall in New Jersey 
  • The pair lost touch in the 1970s and Chris found out ‘uncle’ Fred had later died
  • The 75-year-old has now received a postcard from 1955 unearthed in a charity shop before Christmas

A ‘lost’ postcard from 1955 has finally been delivered to its recipient 66 years later.

Chris Hermon, 75, was sent it from an American pen pal when he was a young boy living in East Sussex but it never reached its destination.

However, the correspondence was recently discovered at a charity shop in Dorchester, Dorset.

It had been handed in there as part of Weldmar Hospicecare’s stamp collection fundraising appeal.

Chris Hermon, 75, from East Sussex, has finally received his postcard from pen pal Fred Kendall that was sent to him in the 1950s, but it never reached its destination.

A diligent volunteer saw the postcard was addressed to a ‘Chris Hermon’ on it and did a Facebook search of the name.

He messaged Chris, from Pershore, Worcestershire, on the off-chance it was him and struck lucky.

Chris, who spent his childhood in Peacehaven, East Sussex, was thrilled to at last receive the correspondence from Fred Kendall, who he called ‘uncle Fred’.

Chris began corresponding with Fred Kendall, a distant relative of his late father, after he came over to visit them in East Sussex in the mid-1950s.

Mr Kendall, a publisher from Short Hills, New Jersey, was already aged in his 60s at the time and over the next two decades the men wrote hundreds of letters to each other.

The postcard has a picture of the RCA Building, a New York skyscraper, and was sent from Grand Central Station on October 13, 1955. In it, Mr Kendall thanks pen-pal Chris for gifting him some Dutch clogs and says he will look out for Indian artefacts to send him

When Chris was a boy he was fascinated by native Indians, so Mr Kendall would send him arrowheads and other artefacts he found on land which used to be reservations.

The letters stopped in the 1970s after Mr Kendall, who by then would have been in his 80s, passed away.

Chris tried unsuccessfully to track Fred down on a visit to the US in 2007 when he learnt that had Fred died a number of years ago. 

The postcard has a picture of the RCA Building, a New York skyscraper, and was sent from Grand Central Station on October 13, 1955, and sent with a six cent Air Mail stamp on it.

In it, Mr Kendall thanks his English pen-pal for gifting him some Dutch clogs and says he will look out for Indian artefacts to send him.

He writes: ‘I will try and find you some Indian curios for your 10th birthday. It’s a big event.’

Chris added that he planned to frame the ‘truly treasured’ card that took 66 years to arrive

Mr Hermon said: ‘Fred was a distant relative of my father and he came over three or four times to see me.

‘As a boy it was so exciting to have a visitor from afar and he lived on a reservation which was a big interest to me so he would send native Indian arrowheads and other artefacts.

‘We would write every fortnight so there must have been hundreds of letters.

‘Back then it was rare for people to have a phone, and especially to phone America, so that was the way to communicate.

‘Over time, the letters became less frequent and they stopped in the 1970s which is when I suspect he died.

‘I was amazed when the young lady at the charity shop got in touch to say she had the postcard addressed to me.

‘It brought back a lot of happy memories and was quite emotional.

‘I’m just so grateful to have received the postcard and that it came back to roost.’

Chris is married to wife Sue, former admin worker. They have two daughters, Anna and Abi, and three grandchildren. 

He thanked the hospice, which provides end of life care in Dorset, for tracking him down and passing on the postcard.

Chris, a retired salesman, said: ‘I was absolutely elated when I got the message telling me about the postcard – I could not believe what I was reading, it was just so out of the blue.

‘The card was addressed to Barclays Bank House in Peacehaven, Sussex, which is where I lived as a child.

‘I have no idea how it ended up in a hospice charity in Dorset and I would love to find out more about it. It really is quite bizarre. 

‘I am very grateful to the team at Weldmar for tracking me down and sending me the postcard. They are wholly responsible for giving me the best Christmas present ever.’

He added that he planned to frame the ‘truly treasured’ card.

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