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OXNARD : Pen Pals a Bit Goofy

June 05, 1992|CAITLIN ROTHER

A teacher in Blue Bell, Penn., must have told her students to take some creative license when responding to Fremont Intermediate School students' requests for pen pals.

Linda Prewitt's three seventh-grade language arts classes sent 90 letters to schools in 40 states, describing their lives in Oxnard and hoping to make some friends through the mail.

The class that gets the most letters back according to class size will be declared winner of the Great Mail Race on June 12.

Some of the return letters have been friendly, trading similar personal details with the Fremont students: favorite sports, hobbies and musical groups.

But about 90 of the 130 letters that Prewitt's students received came from Blue Bell. They were, as Prewitt and her students called them, just plain goofy.

One letter from Blue Bell referred to Oxnard as Oxnerd, asking if only nerds lived there. This angered the Fremont students who are proud of their city by the sea, Prewitt said.

Kathy Vrana, 12, said she felt compelled to answer one of the Blue Bell letters, to defend her home and to poke fun at the student who did not take the writing exercise seriously.

"If your uncle is Axl Rose, my mother is Madonna," Kathy wrote to the boy who contended his uncle is the lead singer of the heavy metal band Guns N' Roses.

Another Blue Bell letter, signed by student Greg Phiambolis, opened with: "My name is Jimmy Hoffa. Lots of people think I am dead, but I really got a second identity. It is Clark Kent . . . I am 27 and in 7th grade . . . I have been held back 14 years."

Kathy wants to be a writer when she grows up, and said the letters allow her to be more herself.

Fayra Harmon, 12, who says the exercise inspired her to start writing a book, had another purpose. She wrote a letter to Kodiak, Alaska, looking for someone to hang out with when she moves there this summer.

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