Write stuff: pen pals reunite 50 years on thanks to letter

Fifty years after they started corresponding a pair of pen pals have finally met again.

And it was all thanks to the tight-knit community of St Clair in Dunedin.

In 1973, Glendyr O’Hanlon went on an exchange to study in Germany and met Doris Schluter at school.

Ms O’Hanlon, 68, said she had been quite miserable at school until one day Ms Schluter asked her how she was.

"It felt like the first time I was at home and had a buddy and she was the only one."

After that, the pair were only separated when Ms O’Hanlon left the school to continue her travels but they immediately began writing to each other.

Ms O’Hanlon said they were so close in those letters and shared everything with each other.

Old friends Glendyr O’Hanlon (left) and Doris Schluter.  PHOTO:  RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
Old friends Glendyr O’Hanlon (left) and Doris Schluter. PHOTO: RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
Ms Schluter would look forward to the letters arriving and would celebrate every time they arrived.

However, in 1997 Ms O’Hanlon moved to Auckland for university and Ms Schluter got married and they lost touch.

Ms Schluter, 65, said she had always wanted to visit New Zealand because of Ms O’Hanlon and 50 years later she travelled here with her husband.

She attempted to get in touch with Ms O’Hanlon searching for her on Facebook and even contacted the electoral commission, but had no luck.

It was a letter to Ms O’Hanlon’s old St Clair home that did the trick.

The home’s new owner asked around the community and found out Ms O’Hanlon now lived in Melbourne.

With the help of the local butcher he sent her a message on Facebook.

When Ms O’Hanlon found out Ms Schluter was going to be in Dunedin she immediately booked her flights.

Ms O’Hanlon said when the pair reunited in St Clair last week there was no awkwardness at all.

"We were like sisters."