Friday, October 24, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Lost art of writing links generations in Fairfield

pen pals laurel creek 3_11_14

Laurel Creek third-grader Jaheem Mosley-Wallace, left, has a conversation with his pen pal Fred Anderson, right, who is a Paradise Valley Estates resident. Students met with residents, with whom they had exchanged letters, as part of a pen pals program. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 17, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A revived lost art brought Angel Cueva, 8, and Beth Riess, 78, together last week, along with scores of others for spaghetti and meatballs at Paradise Valley Estates.

Third-graders from Laurel Creek Elementary School met Tuesday for lunch with residents of the retirement community after the two generations traded letters as part of a pen pals program that began at the start of the school year.

Angel’s correspondence included his catching crawdads and a question for Riess: What is her favorite sports team?

The 49ers, Reiss answered in her letter.

Instagram, Snapchat and emails take notice. All those electronic words and photos haven’t ended – and have perhaps instead enhanced – the humble, low-tech written letter.

Sara Snyder, who teaches the third-grade class, spoke about the magic that follows when letters arrive at the school from Paradise Valley residents.

“It’s like Christmas morning,” Snyder said. “It’s an hour of excitement.”

“They love it,” she said of the children.

So do people who live at the retirement community. Some are former teachers who thought about what a third-grader would be interested in reading in a letter.

The children, who received ballpoint pens that also work as a flashlight, brought stuffed animals and homemade bookmarks for Paradise Valley residents.

Emily Robinson, who Tuesday sat next to her pen pal Hannah Macak, 9, spoke about how nice it was to meet Hannah. Robinson, who was an only child and doesn’t have grandchildren, said meeting Hannah was wonderful.

Denise Flowerday, life enrichment manager at Paradise Valley, approached the school about her pen pals plan. Sometimes it’s nice to have words on a piece of paper that you can read again, she said.

“It’s a lot more personal,” Flowerday said of a letter rather than an electronic message.

Moreover, the printed word is a chance for children in elementary school to show what they know to an older generation.

“A lot of them,” Flowerday said of Paradise Valley residents, “are very surprised with how smart the kids are.”

For Melody Lopez, mother of 9-year-old Gabriella Lopez, the written word on paper is how people learn.

“We don’t do computers,” she said.

The Internet just arrived this month at the family home and when the Lopez children return from school, they do their homework on paper and read books. That helps explain why Gabriella writes to family members – and why she was able to write a letter about Mount Rushmore, China, Europe, Thailand and Japan to Paradise Valley resident Phyllis Riley, 81.

Those are all places visited by Riley, who wrote about her 6-year-old schnauzer-mix Dickens in her letter to Gabriella.

Gabriella isn’t all business in her letters. She also allowed how chocolate is her favorite ice cream flavor.

Riley told the third-grader she did a great job in her correspondence.

The pen pal program is a chance for them all to get together, said Riley, who lamented the lost art of letter writing.

Lisa Soldati, a teacher who helps mentor new instructors, said, “The thing I like the most is the bringing together of the two generations.”

“You see enthusiasm on both sides,” she said.

Flowerday is all for it.

Some people who live at the retirement community are reluctant to attend events, she said, but the letters from children brought residents to the casual dining room at Paradise Valley.

“They get dressed and they come and they’re having a ball,” the life enrichment manager said.

Flowerday as well found energy from the correspondence exchange. She was having what she called a low-energy day when it was time to take letters from the residents to the third-graders at their school. The joy the children showed in receiving the correspondence turned her day around.

“I walked away high as a kite,” Flowerday said.

Pizza is planned for a visit by Paradise Valley residents to Laurel Creek Elementary that may follow Tuesday’s lunch.

Reach Ryan McCarthy at 427-6935 or rmccarthy@dailyrepublic.net.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Julie MeyersMarch 17, 2014 - 10:31 am

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful story about generations coming together. And what an inspiring undertaking by Paradise Valley's life enrichment leader, Denise Floweday!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

For sale: Solano home with Nike missile bunkers

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Salvation Army debuts giant kettle for holidays campaign

By Robinson Kuntz | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Industrial space hot, office not in Fairfield

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A3

 
Suisun City police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Oct. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

New survey details vast scope of teen dating abuse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Boosters seek to keep Bay Bridge light display

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Video shows bikers taunting California officer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California man guilty in wife’s stabbing death

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Brown opens up spending in campaign’s final month

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Driver attacked after ice cream truck kills boy

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

$50,000 reward to find killer of Anaheim girl, 9

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Suspect in girl’s 1984 killing was police employee

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

PTSD argued in case of Marine jailed in Mexico

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

 
US tech firm fined for underpaying Indian workers

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Paintings in national parks spark probe, furor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Prisoner in Afghanistan to be tried in US

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

US, SKorea agree to delay wartime control transfer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
US officials: Iraqi army regrouping slowly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Gary killings put spotlight on abandoned buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lawmakers seek to end benefits to former Nazis

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

For teen with passport, Syria trip can be seamless

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Border deaths drop to 15-year low

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Canada gunman wanted a passport to go to Mideast

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
NYC mayor: Don’t be alarmed by doctor’s Ebola

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NK experts: US must apologize to free detainees

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Ebola: A crash course in fear and how it hurts us

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Cremation fears leave empty Ebola beds in Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10 | Gallery

 
Ex-Mountie hero of shooting at Canada’s Parliament

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

NY doctor back from Guinea has Ebola, 1st in city

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
.

Opinion

Not sure I trust government on Ebola

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

 
Planning Commission not listening to the people

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

.

Entertainment

Review: ‘John Wick’ delivers non-stop action

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
.

Sports

At 1-all, World Series moves to quirky Giants park

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Giants’ Hudson to face Royals’ Guthrie in Game 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7 | Gallery

College notebook: Cordes chosen to try out for USA national team

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7 | Gallery

 
Realign the Bulldogs? Not a good a idea

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B7

Judge questions $75M NCAA concussion settlement

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Arizona men near-unanimous pick by media to win Pac-12

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Raiders may lose Woodley to biceps injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
No. 6 Oregon looks to extend streak against Cal

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

The Write Way: KC coach’s lineup cards are artful

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

 
Homecoming still on but no game for VCS

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B8

Compton among PGA leaders at Sea Island

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Steve Nash ruled out for season with back injury

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Manning, Sanders lead Broncos past Chargers, 35-21

By The Associated Press | From Page: B9 | Gallery

 
Prep football capsules: Week 8

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B9

Sports on TV/Local sports for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B10

 
This date in sports history for Friday, Oct. 24, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Business

Honda Fit becomes even more intriguing small car

By Ann M. Job | From Page: C1 | Gallery

 
Letting your car find a spot and park itself

By The Associated Press | From Page: C2 | Gallery

Zuckerberg speaks Chinese, Beijing students cheer

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11 | Gallery

 
Cloud business lifts Microsoft’s quarterly results

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

A blue Christmas for Amazon?

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Obituaries

Mark Dean Lindsay

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9