I used to have penpals when I was in secondary school and in college. It gradually stopped when I was in university. The one thing that made me happy was receiving letters and admiring stamps from other countries. It was nice to have a mailbox full of letters!
One day, I was sent a few Friendship Books by a penpal.
She explained to me what I had to do.
If I was interested, I had to write my address, age and interests. This is to enable future recipients to browse through them and if they were interested, they would write to you asking whether you’d like to be penpals.
After putting my details, I would then send it to another penpal and tell her to do the same.
A slambook was also a favourite to be passed around together with FBs.
A slambook is like a survey, with a question on each page. Here, you can tell that the last person who entered her answer was me. Hehe. Guess what song did i put?
Behind the FB or slam, the creator or owner would put this message at the back, just remind the last person to return it to the owner. Sometimes, there are people who don’t want to be last to avoid incuring postage, so they’ll just send it over to the next person.
It’s like chain mail, isn’t it?
Throughout my penpalling years, I learnt so many abbreviations like NPW, AVF, SNNP …. which means New Pals Wanted, Answers Very Few, Sorry No New Pals.
I would get very excited to receive some FBs returned to me, too! Once, I received a half-filled one, because the person who returned it to me wanted to be my penpal. Yikes. He could have written to me first while passing the FB on!
A good description of FBs, slams and others is available here.
Now that i’ve found my old letters, I feel terrible that these FB and slam owners may have been waiting for their return. Oops. It’s been almost 5 years, and I don’t have anymore penpals to forward them, too. Neither are my friends overseas interested. Looks like I may have to throw them away.