I organised a few little trips to several beauty spots and interesting places. I wanted to take Bill to all the surroundings where I grew up! We got along like Sister and Brother! He took his camera just about everywhere and the highlight of the trip was when we went to the English Lakes for a whole day.
It was one of the most enjoyable weeks I'd ever spent. Time just flew and soon he was returning to campus vowing to write as soon as he got back. He kept his word! We continued to write and when the winter holidays came round -- he came back up North to spend the celebrations with us. He gave me two music albums. The Sound of Bread --Bread and Simon and Garfunkel. I still have those very albums to this day, though nothing to play them on.
My friends treated Bill like one of the crowd. We all went out together and as disco was quite rife in those days, that's all we seemed to do. I was so sorry to see him leave knowing that this was his last year at college and soon he would be returning home for good. His home was Alabama. He talked so much about his parents, his home and what it was like to live in the southern states of America. He talked about New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico and I so wanted to go but I was 21, didn't have much money and I was rather shy!
He returned home in 1982 but true to his word he continued to write. Now the letters were even more special -- Air Mail! I still had the same sense of excitement as the little blue envelope dropped through the letterbox. I couldn't wait to read his news and couldn't wait to write back with mine! We continued to write. It was 1985. I was with a new group of friends and because I'd passed my driving test, this meant I could travel further afield. I met a very special person in 1981 but in 1985 I met my soulmate. I wrote fewer letters mainly because I was never at home very much. Bill wrote occasionally and then slowly they dwindled and then stopped. I got married in 1989!
The rest of the story is now history -- the birth of my daughter, then illness struck! It was 1995 I was beginning to suffer with what I now know as being scleroderma. The years that followed were what I like to call my wilderness years. Trapped in a downward spiral of misdiagnosis and sickness. I gave up a business that I started in 1996 but we bought our first computer because of it. I was diagnosed as having scleroderma in the year 1999/2000. All those years not knowing what it was that made me so ill.
There was very little literature and I was advised to surf the computer for information. I found this website, totally dedicated to the condition. I spent hours just reading personal accounts of ordinary people. I couldn't believe how close I felt to some of those stories. Times I thought I was going mad only to learn that other people had gone down that same route.
It was late one evening -- nothing on TV and my husband was working through the night on a shift rota. I logged on to the computer and picked up where I left off the previous evening. I came across one particular story which grabbed my attention with absolute awe. It was a caregiver's story and the name was more than familliar to me! The Author was Bill Jordan -- No! this couldn't be the very same Bill, could it? I read on and with every word I felt sure it was him. There was a photograph, I was sure it was him but how could I approach him after all those years?
That same tingle ran through my body. Like the very first meeting and the first letter I ever wrote. His email address was there in front of me. I pondered for a while and then took no time to write an email. If it wasn't him, I'd simply apologise and that would be the end of it. If it was, then I'd have found my long lost pen pal just because I had the same condition as his girlfriend.
My email simply said Hi, remember me? I signed off with my name and then clicked send! I checked my email daily, but nothing appeared from Bill. I began to wonder if I was wrong and now I must have seemed like a crank to some poor unsuspecting person. A week passed by and then one day it appeared in my mailbox -- Hi! I nervously opened the mail and there he was, my Bill! He'd been looking online for years, hoping to find me! And there I was only I found him first. Coincidence, maybe! Fate perhaps. I found my pen pal and now know that no matter where you are in the world, friendship always finds a way through.
The only two ladies he'd ever really known, both affected with scleroderma! How rare is this condition again???