Okay, the best I can tell, the full Dutch headline reads as follows:
American writes blog about Flemish penpal from his youth: Bombings reunite old penpals
It’s been an incredible week. This moment last week, I posted my column about my pen pal Carmen and the attacks on her city. In addition to posting the story to my web site, I sent it to Het Nieuwsblad, a newspaper that covers Flanders, in Belgium. Then I went to bed.
When I awoke on Thursday (March 31), I had a message from one of the paper’s reporters, Rudy De Saedeleir.
He said, “It's a nice story and the editor in chief of Het Nieuwsblad asked me to look further into it. The good news is that I located Carmen in the meantime, but I haven't talked to her yet.”
(I was more than relieved to know that she wasn’t hurt in the bombings!!!)
Later in the day, he sent the following: “A little follow up: I talked to Carmen on the phone a few moments ago, and she was pleasantly surprised.“
The reporter also requested “then” and “now” photos from me, along with any images that I may have had from my time there in Belgium.
- Belgium pics: check!
- Then pics: check!
- Now pics? Well, I do a lot better in the “then” department, but I sent what I had from today. Ugh!
He wasn’t running the column, but he was writing a story.
The story was to run anytime between Saturday and Tuesday (yesterday). Yesterday, it went to print. Yesterday, for the first time in two decades, I heard from the friend of my youth and early adulthood, Carmen! It’s been a good couple of days!
I think I owe her some gas money. The paper covers the area known as, Pajotteland. She lives in Erembodegem (Aalst), and the article was not in that paper. So, she had to take a road trip to get a copy. Rudy said he’d mail me a copy of the paper, in Dutch, of course. Can’t wait to hold it.
The power of words and kindness and friendship have brought my friend back to me. Tomorrow, well, that’s an email between Carmen and I. None of you business….nothing personal, of course. :-)