Gene Weaver says he still has every letter ever sent from his life-long pen pal Dalhys Lane. And both enjoy looking back at their early correspondence.
“Well, I'm going to a concert tonight. I must start to dress,” Weaver read aloud from one of Lane's early letters. ” P.S. Write as soon as you can.”
It's a friendship that began almost 60 years ago as an eighth grade writing assignment for Weaver. That's when he found an Australian teenage girl from a city he couldn't pronounce.
“Wollygong? I never heard of Wollygong,” laughed Lane as she recalled her pen pal's first attempt to pronounce her home town, Wollongong..
Although Wollongong was nine thousand miles away, it was a place the Upper Dauphin teenager was determined to someday visit.
“That was my dream, if you would think of it that way,” recalled Weaver. “That someday I'd be able to travel over there.”
Their correspondence continued after both married, expanding to include Weaver's wife, Carol, and Lane's husband, Ted. By mail, the couples kept tabs on each other's growing families . Finally in 1980, Ted, and a very anxious Dalhys, made it to America to meet, who she calls, their pen friends.
“When we arrived the first time at the airport,” said Lane, “Carol Weaver predicted Dalhys would jump out of line tryimg to find us.” And she did.
This is the Lane's third visit to the Weaver's home in Mt. Holly Springs, and included a side trip to the Air and Space Museum in Washington. The weavers have been to Australia once and they loved it. It is a visit well documented by photos, but remembered by heart.
“The relationship has been more than just between the two of us,” said Weaver. ” It's grown in size over the years as well as how well we relate to each other and how much we love and respect each other.”