October 22, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malawi: Oneonta Daily Star: In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malawi: Peace Corps Malawi : The Peace Corps in Malawi: October 22, 2004: Headlines: COS - Malawi: Oneonta Daily Star: In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-21-111.balt.east.verizon.net - 141.157.21.111) on Saturday, November 06, 2004 - 2:20 pm: Edit Post

In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way

In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way

In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way

Childhood pen pals meet on fourth try

By Tom Grace

Cooperstown News Bureau

SPRINGFIELD CENTER ó After 65 years of writing and receiving letters, Jeje Viek finally met her pen pal this year in Wales.

"It was wonderful," said Viek, who lives in a log cabin overlooking Otsego Lake, not far from Springfield Center. "We both felt as if weíd known each other most of our lives."

In a sense, they had, as they had been corresponding since they were girls.

"In 1939, when I was a student at the Baldwin School in Bryn Mawr, Pa., a teacher from Britain came there," Viek said.

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Not long after this teacher arrived, World War II broke out in Europe and the teacher was unable to return home.

During her extended stay at the Baldwin School, the teacher worked to establish ties between her American students and children at home, Viek said.

"She asked if anyone would like a pen pal, and I told her I would," she said.

Just 11, Jeje began to write to Sheila Smith, a girl about the same age, who lived in England.

"It was fun, almost like having a sister. We shared what was going on in our lives and always remembered each otherís birthday," Viek said.

As the girls grew up, they continued writing, and years after their first letters, they both married doctors.

"After Sheila got married, I didnít know where to find her," Viek said. But Viekís husband, Dr. Nicholas Viek, suggested contacting the British medical board, she said.

"The medical board gave me their address, and we began to write again," she said.

The two women shared their lives in letters as their families grew up, but did not meet each other during those busy years.

"One time, they came to New Jersey, but we werenít able to get together then," Viek said.

In 1990, the Vieks volunteered to serve in the Peace Corps in Malawi and came to love Africa. Though their service was completed more than a decade ago, they have continued to visit Africa, working in different nations, sometimes passing through Londonís Heathrow Airport on their way.

Twice in the past four years, they had hoped to meet Sheila Parry and her husband, Dr. Martin Parry, while in England, but the families were unable to synchronize their schedules.

Then last May, they made arrangements to meet at the Parrysí home in Holywell, Wales.

"As we were on the bus, I was wondering if Iíd know her. I thought Iíd look for a woman about my age," Viek said. "But they met our bus. As soon as I got off it, I knew who it was, and we were in each otherís arms."

Nicholas Viek, whoíd heard about Sheila Parry for years, said the meeting was very pleasant.

"Sheís something to look at and to talk to," he said. "We had a very good time with them."

Days after this visit, when the Vieks came home to their log cabin, a letter was already there, Jeje Viek said.

The handwriting was familiar, and the envelope was postmarked Wales.

óóó

If you have good news youíd like to share, call Managing Editor Cary Brunswick at 432-1000, ext. 217, or (800) 721-1000, ext. 217; e-mail him at cary@thedailystar.com; fax him at 432-5707; or write to him at P.O. Box 250, Oneonta, NY 13820.





When this story was posted in November 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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Story Source: Oneonta Daily Star

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malawi

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