December 6, 2022
Friends for life: Although there has almost always been a pond between them, Geoff Banks, who is from England, and Celesta Byrne, who is from the United States, have been writing to each other since 1938, according to SWNS.
According to a report by People magazine, “I honestly struggle to remember how we got in touch, but I was talking to Celesta recently and I think it was something to do with an American school’s scheme,” Banks, a former engineer, explains. “They matched us up with Americans for a pen pal relationship, and somehow I ended up with this letter from an American girl, and we just kept corresponding ever since,” he added.
But, after decades of sending letters overseas, the pair—who both turned 100 this year—now rely on emails and Zoom calls.
“Now of course she is partially sighted, so I correspond mainly by email,” Banks says. “Email is much easier for me these days, too, because I can’t write very well anymore.”
Video chatting is an even newer development.,”I have this new thing called Zoom, I think, now to chat with her, but I leave all the technology to younger people. They’re much better at pressing all the buttons,” he remarks.
One thing that’s never changed over the years is their unique bond.”She’s a very interesting person,” Banks told the BBC. “We exchange stories and she’s very good to talk to.”
He added, “Celeste has had a number of children and unfortunately lost one recently, so we chat about family too.”
However, there is one topic that’s off limits. “We don’t discuss the football,” he said.
As for whether there was ever any spark between the pair, Byrne, who lived in New Jersey but has since moved to Texas to be near her family, shut down any questions of romance. “No, we’re just friends, like people who live next door,” she told the BBC. “You ask how they’re doing, you say a few words and then you both go to work.”
Although they’ve only met in person two times—first in 2002 during a trip to New York and then again two years later—Banks says that his friendship with Byrne has always been something he can depend on—even when WWII made writing to each other difficult.
“She’s always been there to write to, even if it was just birthday cards and Christmas cards,” he told SWNS.
Speaking with the BBC he noted that it’s been a “source of great satisfaction to write to her for over all these years.”
Research contact: @people