PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - After nearly four decades of airmailed, handwritten letters, two pen pals living half a world away from each other finally met face to face.
In the 1970s, there was a kids' show called "Big Blue Marble" that helped set up American teenagers with overseas pen pals. That's how Diane Broder, then 14 years old, started writing letters to Susan Aulich, a girl growing up on the Australian island of Tasmania.
The letters started in December 1977. To give you a sense of time, Diane told Susan she had just watched "Smokey and the Bandit" as well as "Star Wars" in the theaters, and Susan wrote back saying "Jaws" was her favorite recent film.
As the years wore on, the topic of the letters turned from high school crushes to getting their first jobs, becoming young adults, finding Mr. Right, and starting their own families. They were almost as close as sisters, but they had never met in person.
Hurricanes and new addresses finally separated the two, when letters started bouncing back. The two women thought they had lost touch forever, until Susan went on Facebook and tracked Diane down.
Susan promptly flew out to Los Angeles, drove across the country, and finally met Diane face to face at her Port St. Lucie home. They were shocked at all of their similarities.
"So many things we do alike, it's crazy," Diane said. "She has two boys. I have two boys. Our second boys are both named Bradley, and we didn't even know we named our boys the same."
Even though modern social media reunited them, Diane and Susan said they're going to stick to pen and paper.
"We are going to use snail mail," Diane said. "We need to keep the letters going."
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