Last updated: August 23. 2013 11:16PM - 65 Views

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ST. MARYS — Jean Warner and Phyllis Tregida have kept tabs on each other for almost three-quarters of a century. Warner lives locally. Tregida lives in Cornwall, England.

“We started corresponding in 1937 during my freshman-year English class at Blume High School,” said Warner, 87. “I was fortunate to find someone who wanted to correspond, and here we are 73 years later still at it.”

Initially, Tregida’s letters were full of worries about a looming war. A short time later, she helped Warner’s family track an uncle, Everett Zwez, who was stationed in England during World War II before the Normandy Invasion. After the invasion, Tregida, who was a post mistress, was able to help track the uncle as he progressed across Europe by codes stamped on his outgoing mail.

“We became family,” Warner said. “She’s just like a sister. We know all about her life and what she’s doing, and she knows all about ours. After the war, Phyllis traveled extensively and she did this fine knitting. When Mary was born, she started sending these beautiful sweaters and dolls. Mary has the most beautiful doll collection.”

Warner and her husband, Wilbur, have been married for 61 years. Mary Bell is Warner’s daughter. In May, Bell helped set up for Warner and Tregida a computer meeting via Skype complete with cameras so they could see each other while they talked. When she arranged the meeting, Bell was visiting her daughter, Elizabeth Bell, who was studying art in Europe.

“When we first started, it cost me a nickel to send her a letter and it took several weeks to cross the ocean,” Warner said. “We still write. It cost close to a $1 now to send a letter. We call and now we’ve used Skype. She was so excited to see us and our room.. She was so pretty. She even had on a strand of pearls. Mary and Elizabeth just fell in love with her and she with them.”

“It’s quite all right,” Tregida said, joining the interview for a moment by telephone. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s really quite amazing. It’s been 70 years.”

Long distance, long time

Long distance, long time
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