Pen pals reunited: Netherlands man and Lubbock woman meet for the first time after 55 years

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — A man from the Netherlands who was in search of his childhood pen pal 55 years after losing contact was reunited with her once again.

Margaret Jackson, now Margaret Hunt, used to live in Lubbock, Texas and had a pen pal in the Netherlands when she was 15 by the name of Piet Jansen.

“It’s heart crushing to me to think it’s been that long,” said pen pal Margaret Jackson Hunt, now almost 70. 

Both Hunt and Jansen believed they would ever hear from the other again, but on Sunday met over Zoom for the first time.  

“I had a view and I said ‘Margaret! I’ve seen her never!’ Only a little picture I got from you and I thought, ‘I have to look for her!’” Piet Jansen said. 

On July 14, KLBK aired Jansen’s story and his search for Hunt.

Sharon Buck, a resident of Lubbock found Hunt through and sent her a link to the story done on KLBK. Hunt recognized Jansen and his story immediately. 

“I just can’t believe he reached out and was even trying to find me. That’s what’s mind blowing,” Hunt said. “I saw his name and I realized, ‘Yes! This is me! I’m the Margaret Jackson he is looking for!’”

She said the only thing he got wrong was that she actually lived on 57th street, not 47th street like Jansen had remembered. 

Jansen and Hunt started writing when they were both around 15-years-old. It all started because Jansen’s English teacher in the Netherlands assigned him a pen pal to write to in order to improve his English. 

“We had to do it for the school. I don’t remember if it was voluntary but we had to get a pengirl and we had to write,” Jansen said. “It was the only way to learn more of the English language for me and for her — I don’t know why she kept writing back to me,” said Jansen.

But after Jansen joined the Netherland Marine Corps he and Hunt lost contact. A few years later Hunt moved away from Lubbock to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Jansen, now 70, said he never thought this reunion would happen. 

“You get older and you think about things that happened in your life and you think ‘Hey that would be nice to hear something about her,’” said Jansen last Tuesday when his search began. “It should be nice and we can make contact again and tell our stories about all the years.”

Jansen and Hunt spoke about everything from Jansen’s time in the Netherlands Marine Corps, to Hunt’s move from Lubbock to Colorado Springs, to their growing families. Jansen and Hunt are both happily married. Jansen has one daughter and two grandchildren while Hunt has two daughters, a son, and five grandchildren.. 

And while they lost contact, Hunt never forgot her pen pal from so long ago. 

“I kept your letters for years just took them with me every time we moved and just a few years ago I was cleaning things out and thought, ‘Oh that was a special time in my life,’” Hunt said. 

Now that the connection has been reestablished they vowed to restart writing to each other once again. 

“I will contact [her] by mail and we will start up again what we lost,” Jansen said

For the full story, tune in to KLBK at 6:00 p.m.

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