Sadie Fanali and Lorraine Thomas had been pen pals since 1932. Friday, the two 91-year-olds cried and hugged and cried some more after meeting in person for the first time.
“I never really thought it would happen, never in my life,” Fanali said while holding Thomas' hand after getting off the airplane from California. “I'm telling you, this is exciting.”
Fanali, who lives in Santa Monica, applied to Wish of a Lifetime, asking to finally meet Thomas, who lives in El Reno. The long-awaited meeting finally happened at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
When they talked before about meeting, they were busy raising children, or money was tight. The timing was just never right.
“We lost contact a few times, but we always tried to find each other and make contact again,” Thomas said. “We've been friends forever.”
They wrote to each other about six times a year with news about their families and their own personal lives.
Thomas said they wrote as if they were speaking to each other in person.
Thomas kept many of the letters and photos from Fanali. She brought a photo to the airport that Fanali mailed to her in the 1950s of herself, her husband and five of her nine children.
Fanali is not Thomas' only pen pal but is her longest continual one.