‘We had a lot to talk about’: Teen meets 92-year-old pandemic pen pal in hospice

Published: Mar. 3, 2022 at 5:31 AM EST
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LOUDON COUNTY, Va. (WJLA) - The pandemic kept so many separated from each other, even isolated, but it brought a pair of unlikely friends very close together.

A teenager from Virginia and a 92-year-old woman from New York became pen pals.

A beautiful friendship blossomed, and an amazing moment played out when they came face to face for the first time.

It was a project she took on during the pandemic, using her free time to give back to seniors quarantined in their nursing homes.

“I ended up writing over 150 letters, and only one responded, and that was Jean Peck in Henrietta, New York,” Keslar Just said.

Just, now a freshman at William and Mary, spent the last two years writing letters to the 92-year-old.

“I learned she is a big swimmer, played basketball and she loved to go on hikes loved the outdoors,” she said.

Pen pals writing back and forth, they had no idea the friendship that was about to follow.

All together, the two sent 80 letters and spent quality time on the phone.

“We wrote pretty religiously. We had a lot to talk about,” Just said.

Last month, the family of Peck called Just to let her know Peck was moved to hospice care and not doing well.

“I started to immediately make travel plans to go up to Henrietta, New York,” Just said.

She had never met Peck in person until now.

“Her family told us that Jean was pretty much unresponsive,” Just said.

And then when Just arrived, something special happened.

“But I walked in and said, ‘Hello, it’s Keslar, your pen pal,’ and I started talking with her. And she slowly opened her eyes and become responsive. I just sat and talked with her,” Just said.

Peck’s family saying they didn’t realize the depth of their penpal-ship.

“But I think seeing it in person when Jean reached out to hold my hand and she’s responsive and opened her eyes, I think the family was very appreciative for our relationship and our letter-writing,” Just said. “I will always remember our pen pal relationship and what those two years brought both of us.”

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