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67 Year Pen Pals

There's something special about a friendship that spans nearly 7 decades. But there's something unique about one that's almost entirely based on letters.
There's something special about a friendship that spans nearly 7 decades, but there's something unique about one that's almost entirely based on letters.

Wichita Falls resident Donna Hocker and Betty Shakespeare, who lives in England, have been pen pals since 1947.

"When I was a freshman in high school, some of my friends had pen pals in England and they acquired a list from over there and so I picked her name and we've been writing ever since," says Hocker

Hocker says that the whole experience has been exciting.

She says she has a lot in common with Shakespeare.

"We started out talking about boyfriends and classmates and school and those kind of things."

While they loved writing to each other, Hocker says one moment in their friendship stands head and shoulders above the rest.

"When we got to see each other that was the crowning point of the whole thing,” Hocker says. “I didn't think I would ever see her when we started writing. It didn't seem possible at all. In 1947 things weren't as easy to do as they are now.”

Shakespeare and her husband won tickets to visit the United States in 1987 and when Hocker found out, she knew she couldn't pass up the opportunity to meet her friend face to face.

"When we found out they were coming to Orlando, Florida, my husband was a pastor and some of the church people said 'Oh my goodness you've got to go see them.' So they kind of helped a little bit of us getting to go,” says Hocker.We just had a good time together when we got to meet. It was certainly a privilege."

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