Pen palsBy Pat Gee
of 50 years
to meet again
It started as "girl talk" between two people thousands of miles apart.
But a class assignment to correspond with a pen pal has developed into a 50-year friendship between Ely Bolosan of Haleiwa and Angela Sinatra of New Jersey.
They will meet Monday for only the second time in their long-distance relationship. Bolosan, in a voice choked with emotion, calls it "the best Mother's Day present I could have," even if it's a day late.
Both 58 years old, they started writing to each other in the fourth grade and kept in touch through all the milestones of life, like marriage, new jobs, divorce and the birth of their children.
Bolosan has kept at least 40 years worth of cards and letters, which are scattered in hidden places throughout her house. Although in the beginning they wrote each other four or five pages of news at least once a month, the letters dwindled to cards sent only on special occasions.
The advantage of exchanging letters, on what Bolosan described as "fancy kine stationery" vs. electronic or e-mail, is that they both have sentimental keepsakes of their journey through life together. Bolosan still has the first present Sinatra gave her: a silver friendship bracelet. She remembers sending Sinatra a grass skirt.
She and Sinatra never offered each other advice, Bolosan said, but provided the other with a nonjudgmental, enthusiastic listener -- the personification of a diary where one records life's important events and deepest emotions.
"I would share anything and everything," she said.
They were a contrast in "types," said Bolosan, who described herself as "a bookworm, a quiet mousy person who stuck to books."
Sinatra -- whose uncle was the famous singer, Frank -- seemed on the other hand to be a "very popular girl" who went to a lot of dances and kept busy with school activities.
Bolosan, a medical secretary at Schofield Barracks, can't quite figure out how their friendship has lasted all these years. "Somehow we just clicked. ... Somehow we just stuck it out."
Of the several pen pals Bolosan had when she was a girl, she continued to correspond with Sinatra the longest "maybe it was because she was Frank Sinatra's niece and I enjoyed listening to Frank Sinatra," although her friend never spoke about her celebrity uncle.
Bolosan is excited about Sinatra's first visit to Hawaii and hopes she will be able to fit in visits to all the favorite tourist spots, and a potluck to meet her family.
She plans to greet her at the airport with as many leis as she can sew: "I want to give her all the flowers I can get my hands on."