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Two women not only share same birth­day, but strong friend­ship on pa­per

Tri-County Vanguard - - FRONT PAGE - AMY WOOLVETT WWW.THECOASTGUARD.CA

In this age of tech­nol­ogy a Shel­burne County woman re­minds us of the joy of writ­ing let­ters.

Hun­dreds of let­ters were ex­changed for nearly 67 years, but it wasn’t un­til re­cently that two pen pals were fi­nally able to meet.

Irene Hagar from East Ragged Is­land, Shel­burne County, now 78 years old, was only 11 or 12 when she first adopted Eileen Theis­sen from Saskatchewan as her pen pal.

Not only were the two the same age, but they shared the same birth­day of June 22, 1939.

“She wanted a twin pen pal and I was it,” says Hagar.

But their birth­day wasn’t the only thing they would share over nearly seven decades years.

Their lives were shared with each other, from Hagar grow­ing up on the south shore of Nova Scotia and its sea­side liv­ing to Theis­sen’s ex­pe­ri­ences farm­ing a 3,200-acre farm.

“We’ve writ­ten over the years and told about our fam­i­lies,” says Hagar. “When we were mar­ried and when our ba­bies were born.”

While they kept up a reg­u­lar stream of con­ver­sa­tion on pa­per in a world of elec­tron­ics, they never met face to face.

But last year Hagar’s hus­band passed away and sud­denly, with the un­cer­tainty of life, she knew she needed to work on her own bucket list. And this in­cluded meet­ing Theis­sen.

“I’ve wanted to meet her for a long time,” she says.

In June, Hagar flew with her daugh­ter to Saskatchewan to meet her pen pal. De­spite never meet­ing be­fore it wasn’t dif­fi­cult to spot which one Theis­sen was.

“She was jump­ing up and down when she saw me at the air­port,” laughs Hagar.

The trip was planned from June 17-23 so the two women could cel­e­brate their 78th birth­days to­gether.

“There was a potluck and birth­day cake, chil­dren and grand­chil­dren,” to join them in their cel­e­bra­tion, says Hagar.

Hagar has loved hav­ing Theis­sen as her pen pal over the years.

“It’s like hav­ing a friend, it re­ally is,” she says. “Now know­ing her in per­son makes it even bet­ter.”

AMY WOOLVETT

Irene Hagar holds up a photo of her­self and Eileen Theis­sen who meet af­ter nearly 70 years of be­ing pen pals.

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