Gigi Davin and Kris Grahn have been friends for 50 years — a relationship sustained almost entirely through letters.
“We grew up together through the mail,” Davin said.
The women, both 60, live about 1,300 miles apart: Davin is a lifelong Mainer, while Grahn has always resided in Wisconsin. Their schools matched them as pen pals when they were 10 years old, and they’ve been writing to each other at least three times a month ever since.
When they were girls, Davin and Grahn discussed their shared interest in art.
Over the years, the letters have covered their college experiences, getting married and having children, the joys of having grandchildren and the challenge of caring for ailing parents.
“Our letters are about anything and everything — except politics,” said Grahn, who sometimes will begin her notes with a friendly bit of advice: “Go get a cup of coffee and sit down.”
The women also ship Christmas and birthday gifts to each other: Davin has sent blueberry jelly from Maine, while Grahn has sent Wisconsin cheese and locally made Wigwam socks.
The duo have met twice: once in 1976, when Grahn graduated high school and took a trip to Maine, and again this year, when she took a ferry trip from Maine to Nova Scotia and stopped in Portland to meet up with Davin — a reunion covered by the Press Herald newspaper.
While Davin and Grahn did resort to a little texting and emailing for planning logistics, the pair don’t plan to give up letter writing.
“Everybody thinks it’s amazing,” Davin said. “‘Keep on writing,’ they say. There’s not too many people who have a pen pal for so many years.”