Fornadel writes letters to stay in touch


Photo Courtesy of Abby Fornadel

Fornadel wrote a total of 34 letters to friends, often writing about two pages for each person.

Maya Waid, Editor-in-Chief

The global pandemic known as the Coronavirus has caused everyone to be restricted to staying home and social distancing from friends and family. For students who look forward to seeing their friends at school, they have resorted to technology as a way to communicate with people that they cannot see. Instead, sophomore Abigail Fornadel took a different approach to staying in contact with people. Fornadel simply took advantage of a pen, some paper and an abundance of free time.

“One day in quarantine, I posted a picture on my Snapchat story and asked people to slide up if they wanted me to write them a letter,” Fornadel said. “In total, I wrote 34 letters. Each letter was handwritten and my goal was to write a full page for each person, although I ended up writing almost two pages for most people. It took me about three weeks to write them all.”

While Fornadel wrote many letters to friends during this time, this was not her first time writing handwritten letters to people she does not get an opportunity to see.

“I have been writing letters back and forth with my friend Liz Ann who was a exchange student at HHS for the first semester of the school year. We text and video chat all the time but there’s something different about writing letters,” Fornadel said. “I decided to write some to a few of my friends and then I had so much fun doing it that I wanted to write to more people.”

Fornadel found that writing handwritten letters rather than doing something electronically holds more value for those that receive it. She believes that having something to keep is special rather than an electronic message that may get deleted.

“I think that there’s something special about writing a letter. It’s fun and exciting to receive or send something in the mail and it’s something that you can keep forever. Once you receive a text message, you’ll probably never read that text again, but if you receive a letter then you are more likely to read it over again,” Fornadel said. “I think that’s special to reread the letters because they remind you of what was going on during the time you got or sent the letter… such as this pandemic.”

Sophomore Maia Wagler, a close friend of Fornadel, was one of the 34 recipients of Fornadels letters. Wagler also believes that a handwritten letter can hold more value than an electronic message.

“I was really happy when I saw the letter because we are stuck in a difficult time right now and it just cheered me up a lot,” Wagler said. “ I think receiving a handwritten letter is different from electronic because it makes it more special since the main way to communicate now besides in person is over the phone.”

Wagler believes in the high importance of staying in contact with family and friends during this time.

“Staying in contact with friends is really important because you can feel really alone during this time and not motivated to do anything. Friends are there to encourage you and to talk to if you need anything or if you just want to hear some stories about how they are doing,” Wagler said.

Similar to Wagler, Fornadel also received many benefits from writing the letters to many of her friends.

“I think [writing the letters] was a great experience and it’s definitely something that I will keep doing. Everyone had a different reaction to getting their letter. It made me smile knowing that by taking 20 minutes to write my friends a letter I made them feel so much better. They all made everyone happy and it makes me happy to know that I made them smile,” Fornadel said.

In her letters, Fornadel included a variety of things and went into high detail depending on who the recipient was.

“Most of the people who asked for a letter are people that I talk to everyday or that I’m really close to, so I wrote to them about inside jokes we had, memories, what I had been doing in quarantine and asked them some questions so that they could write me a letter back. However, some of the people who asked for a letter I did not know well or I hadn’t talked to in a long time so in their letters I tried to catch up with them a little bit and tell them what I had been doing and asked them how they were,” Fornadel said.

Not only did Fornadel write a letter to her friends, but she also included other activities that her friends could partake in while in quarantine.

“[In my letters], I gave [my friends] some of my favorite shows that they could watch. Another thing I included in everyone’s letter was either a recipe or coloring page. I spent hours looking for all different kinds of things that were specific to each letter I wrote. From gluten free cookies to daisy coloring pages, I found something different to send each person so that they would have something to do during quarantine,” Fornadel said.

Overall, not only did Fornadel find something to fill her time, but she also found a new way to stay in touch with friends. 

“While being stuck in quarantine, [writing the letters] gave me something to do and it was lots of fun. It also made me think about a special memory or something I wanted to tell each of the people I wrote too,” Fornadel said. “I definitely recommend writing a letter to your friends, it doesn’t have to be as many as I did or to all your friends but even writing one letter to a friend can brighten their day.”

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