A pair of pen pals met in person for the first time in 50 years

Colorado resident Rita Stoker Click and her friend and Virginia native Teresa Twine McNease became pen pals in 1971. There was something about their friendship that made it so special they decided to stay in touch for 50 years.

One weekend in June 2021, Rita and Teresa spent time together in person for the very first time in 50 years. From divorce to other struggles, the two have helped one another get through some of the biggest hardships of their lives. But they were only around 10 years old when they decided to become friends forever.

The pair may have started writing at a very young age, but it didn’t take long for them to realize the number of things they had in common. Over the years, they helped one another get through life’s hardships, including divorces and personal struggles. Teresa is afraid of flying but she decided to put her fear aside and take the leap of faith to visit Rita. The pair said life is too short to wait any longer. The moment they saw one another at the Denver International Airport was rather special.

“We grabbed each other and we both promised we weren’t going to cry. It was just so wonderful seeing her. And to actually touch her, and see her and know she’s right here in front of me. I’m looking forward to the next visit, she’s asking me to live here and it wasn’t for my job, I’d be right here,” said Teresa.

“Cause she’s special. She’s my best friend. My big sister even though she’s littler than me. Like she said, we’ve got so much in common. I mean what’s not to love? She’s going to make me cry,” said Rita.

Becoming best friends in the early ’70s went against the social norms because the pair are from different demographics.

“She sent me her picture and I said, ‘She’s Caucasian, she might not want write because I’m a black girl.’ And she said, ‘It doesn’t matter if you were pink, or purple or polka dots, or got some green here. Just, the color thing didn’t matter to us. It didn’t matter to she and I,” said Teresa.

Rita says being best friends with Teresa has helped shape her and she couldn’t imagine doing life without her.

It goes to show that writing people and making an effort can build some of the strongest relationships — even if you’re 1700 miles apart.

By Caroline Peters, KOAA