246: My Pen Pal
Sep 12, 2003
Stories of very unusual pen pals, people whose relationship could not exist without the help of the postal service.
- Ira talks to historian Ted Widmer about two of the first pen pals in the New World. John Winthrop and Roger Williams were both Puritans in Massachussetts in the 1630's. Then Roger Williams was banished for suggesting the revolutionary idea that there should be separation between church and state. John Winthrop was the Governor of Massachussetts, which exiled him. But the two men somehow stayed friends, writing letters long after Williams was sent away. (6 minutes)
- The story of a ten-year-old girl from small town Michigan named Sarah York, and how she became pen pals with a man who was considered an enemy of the United States, a dictator, a drug trafficker, and a murderer: Manuel Noriega. (41 minutes)Song: "Panamania", from the film Swing High, Swing Low
- When Janice Powell's husband went to prison, he wrote her a letter every day for eight years. When he was at home, he'd drink and get violent, but Janice said that the years in prison were the best of their relationship. Her story was originally produced by Alex Kotlowitz and Amy Dorn for the Chicago Public Radio series Speaking of Sex. (7 minutes)