Edna Komada and George Hammer received a message by special delivery earlier this month.
The two, residents of Lakeview Terrace of Boulder City, were surprised with a visit by their pen pal, Nick Thor.
The 13-year-old is a resident of Simi Valley, California, and nephew of the assisted living facility’s maintenance director, Shawn Turner. He had been writing letters to Komada and Hammer as part of a pen pal program started in April to help alleviate the loneliness residents were feeling as they stayed indoors to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“It made me happier and I knew I was communicating with good people. I got joy and happiness from it because I was locked down, too,” Nick said about writing the letters.
He said he was happy to meet his new friends, but sad that he wasn’t able to hug them.
“I want to give him a hug so bad,” Komada said.
In addition to letters, Komada sent Nick some doilies she made.
“I will have to make him some more. Nick said he uses the doilies in his room.”
She said they also discovered that they both like tea.
During their visit, they talked about things they have been doing during the pandemic.
“I actually went out to the 99 Cents Only store and it was great. I haven’t been out for seven months,” Hammer told him.
They shared stories about their time in Boy Scouts, with Nick telling Hammer about the badges he earned for his volunteer work and his duties as a patrol leader.
Though he enjoyed writing to Nick, Hammer said his letters slowed down because “there isn’t much to talk about four walls.”
Nick said he learned about the pen pal program from his mother, Lisa Thor, who said her son’s eyes would light up every time he saw a handwritten note in their mailbox.
Lakeview Terrace’s administrator, Mary Rush, said the program has been an “amazing experience” for her as well as the residents.
“It brought so much joy to all these people,” she said, adding she hopes to invite the pen pals for an in-person visit when it is safe for everyone involved.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.