Watch: Cross-Country Pen Pals Meet After 42 Years of Handwritten Letters

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Two pen pals who have been writing each other letters for more than 40 years met for the first time this month and it’s a reunion that will bring tears to your eyes.

ABC News reports George Ghossn, of East Islip, New York, and Lori Gertz, of San Diego have been writing letters to each other since they were just teenagers. And after a slew of efforts to try and see each other over the years, the two finally met up on April 11.

Gertz, 54, tells ABC News that Ghossn, 56, was superstitious and “never wanted to do it,” but she was always curious.

And that curiosity stayed true all those years later when Gertz, a married mother of two, was taking her 18-year-old son to New York for a university tour and decided to see if Ghossn would finally come to pass. And he did.

Ghossn told ABC News that he and Gertz began writing each other from when he was 15 and she was 12.

“We started writing through a chain letter,” he said. “It said to send out five letters, and you were supposed to receive thousands back. I got four letters back ... One was from Lori.”

The two continued to write each other a letter a month, updating one another on their lives, discussing school, aspirations and of course, their families.

While the two painted idyllic illustrations of their lives in their earlier letters, Gertz says as the years went on, the content became more mature and surpassed the surface. 

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Ghossn, who reveals he had a lot of loss in his family, wrote a letter on an airline napkin while traveling to his mother’s funeral in 2006. Gertz vividly remembers receiving that letter and recalls feeling humbled in that moment when he thought of her.

“It blew my mind. That just blew my mind. [It signaled] a loyalty and a deep abiding commitment to our relationship that I’d never had with anybody. Anybody,” she said.

The two dispel any talk of romance as Ghossn considers Gertz his sister, especially since his brothers died and he has no living family members.

“I love George. George is a staple in my life,” Gertz said. “My whole family knows George… It’s my longest relationship that I’ve had with anybody. It’s beautiful.”

Earlier this month, the two pen pals met in the lobby of the Red Roof in Westbury, New York with a video captured showing their touching moment.

“We just hugged, and we cried ... and it was very emotional after all the years,” Ghossn said.

Gertz said it was as if her childhood was crashing with her adulthood and called it “glorious.”

“When we met, he was sobbing,” she said. “I was so gloriously happy. I didn’t cry until hours later. The emotion hit me then.”

The two plan to continue their letter writing as each is so grateful for their relationship with Ghossn calling his best friend, “darling” and the “sweetest person.”

Of the new dynamic added to their friendship, Gertz said it’s beautiful.

“It doesn’t have the weight of all the s--- that’s happened to us in our lives. It has the lightness of what a true connection really is.”


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Tania Hussain |

Tania Hussain is a native of Toronto and a Hoosier at heart, studying journalism at Ball State University in Indiana. She has a mad love for fine cheese, film, music, and meeting people upon her many travels. When Tania’s not writing at Womanista, she can be found going for long nature runs, rooting for the Indianapolis Colts and St. Louis Cardinals, photographing sights and food, or writing for her online magazine, The Hudsucker. She is also a member of the Indy-based, Society of Professional Journalists—one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists.