Speed Reads

It wasn't all bad

Pen pals meet in person after 42 years of exchanging letters

After 42 years of writing letters back and forth, George Ghossn and Lori Gertz were finally able to update each other on their lives in person.

Ghossn, 56, lives in East Islip, New York, and Gertz, 54, resides in San Diego. Gertz planned on taking her son to visit Hofstra University near Ghossn's house, and she wanted to get to see him face to face. For years, he was too "superstitious" to meet, but this time, he agreed, and in the lobby of a Red Roof Inn on April 11, the friends were finally in the same room. "We just hugged and we cried," Ghossn said. "It was very emotional after all the years."

They were brought together through a chain letter, which they kept up by writing a letter to each other once a month. When they were younger, the letters were rather simple, but as they became older, they often discussed serious topics; in 2006, Ghossn wrote a note to Gertz on the back of a napkin while flying to his mother's funeral, for example. "That just blew my mind," Gertz told ABC News. "[It signaled] a loyalty and a deep abiding commitment to our relationship that I'd never had with anybody. Anybody." Ghossn and Gertz have kept all of the letters they received, evidence of a deep friendship that they both stressed was never romantic. Ghossn, whose parents and brothers have all died, views Gertz as a sister, while she told ABC News, "I love George. George is a staple in my life. My whole family knows George ... it's my longest relationship that I've had with anybody. It's beautiful." The two left their meeting knowing they would continue to write.