In 1954, Sandra Bernice Schortmann raised her hand with other children in her fifth grade class when asked by their teacher if they would like to write to someone in another country. After she was given the name of a girl from England, Sandra began penning letters to Carol. As a friendship blossomed through one letter after the other, neither girl ever imagined that their bond would continue through fifty-six years.
In a loving reflection of true friendship, Sandra begins by detailing how the two women were finally led to meet in 1964 after ten years of written correspondence. As Carol and Sandra became treasured friends throughout the years, the two women shared life experiences that included graduations, weddings, births, and deaths in over two hundred letters and cards. Finally as Carol's life ultimately ended too soon, Sandra shares how she wrote Queen Elizabeth a letter about Carol that she hoped would provide a wonderful tribute to her dear friend. But it is what she received in return that would touch her heart forever.
Letters from London pays tribute to a treasured friendship formed across a sea that lasted a lifetime and proved that strong bonds are unbreakable.
How very fortunate was I to have been given the name of a girl from England by my 5th grade teacher in 1954 when I raised my hand with others wanting to write to children who lived in other countries. Through our letters we have shared all the trials and excitement of each others' lives. Our graduations, weddings, births of our children, their weddings and the wonderful fulfillment of our grandchildren, and of course the losses of loved ones.
During the summer of 1964 I noticed a flyer on the employee bulletin board at work that a European tour was being planned by our credit union leaving in mid-September. You could see seven countries in about two and a half weeks. I suddenly got an exciting notion. The first stop on the tour was London, England. This could be a way of finally meeting my pen pal. We'd been writing for about ten years already, I could borrow what I needed from the credit union and I had enough leave saved up to be able to take a real vacation from work.
Sandra Bernice Schortmann is the daughter of the late George John and Bernice Aileen (DeLorme) Dettloff. She was born in Detroit, Michigan and the family later moved to Roseville, Michigan where Sandra graduated from Roseville High School in June of 1961. She was a dedicated Federal employee under Civil Service for over 23 years, having worked at the Michigan Army Missile Plant, the US Army Tank Automotive Command, and at the Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan. She met and married 1SG (nowRet) Kenneth Schortmann who was stationed at the Guard Base but received orders for Fort Riley, Kansas. Upon moving to Kansas, Sandra transferred her civil service job to Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley. Upon their respective retirements from government service, Sandra and Ken owned and operated a quail farm on their property in Milford, KS. They now reside in Ozawkie, KS where Sandra enjoys writing, poetry, painting, sewing, flower arranging, photography, gardening, fishing, traveling dancing, playing cards and watching her most favorite baseball team, the Detroit Tigers. She has also been actively supportive of the local American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliaries. She so enjoys spending time with her husband, her children, Nicea, Robb, and Carrie, and the grandchildren Michael, Christian, Nathen, Dain Jr., Adaya, Moriah, Kayla, Sydney, Kayli and Karlee! She has also been blessed with two beautiful stepdaughters, Mary and Donna and their families consisting of Nikki, Stacey, Sammy, Alex, Zachary and Aria. She is also very enthusiastic with the family geneology efforts with her brother, Tom.
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