Pen pals finally meet after 50 years

It’s
no surprise Kaye Host and Beverly Henning are marking down 2010 as a year to be
remembered. Although the two have been pen pals for 50 years, it was not until
last month that they finally met here in Grand Cayman.

Their
story starts in 1960 when Kaye Reid, who lived in Australia and wanting a
pen-pal, sent a letter to the Cayman Islands. To her surprise, she received a
letter back from a young woman named Beverly Panton. For the next 50 years, the
pair exchanged details of what life was like on the other side of the world.

As
the years went on, Beverly Panton married Bob Henning, Kaye Reid married Paul
Host, and the pen pals moved from letters, to phone calls, to e-mails.

But
it was not until April 2010, that Kaye and Paul Host made a long overdue visit
from Perth to Cayman to meet Bev and Bob Henning face to face.

Mrs.
Henning recalled how the two young women shared some common interests right off
the bat.

“Kaye
loved to collect stamps and I was a stamp collector,” said Mrs. Henning.

The
two strangers from opposite sides of the globe shared some other curious
similarities.

Kaye’s
sister was named Beverley; both had only one sibling a sister; both sets of
parents attended church regularly; both worked in jobs for their respective
governments; both married slightly younger men within a few years of each
other; and neither had any children of their own.

“We
were overjoyed to know that we both had so much in common; it goes to show that
we could stay together for so long and be friends,” said Mrs. Henning.

“It
was like a dream come true because we never met before.”

The
visit gave Mrs. Host not only the chance to meet her pen-pal for the first
time, but also to experience Grand Cayman with her husband.

“It
was like we knew each other before,” Mrs. Henning said.

“My
husband and her husband got along well.”

Although
Mrs. Henning is not sure that there will be another visit, she said: “Mrs. Host
told me, ‘don’t be surprised if my husband and I see you again’.”

“We
were overjoyed to know that we both had so much in common; it goes to show that
we could stay together for so long and be friends.” Beverly Henning

Local - Pals story

Beverly Henning and Kaye Host today
Photo: submitted
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