• American Girl Doll Crafter

The Pen Pal Project: Letter 1


November 4th, 1941

Dear Nanea,


Hello from Jefferson, Illinois! I’m Molly McIntire, your pen pal through the new program established in our schools, the U.S. Pen Pal Project. Ms. Campbell, my teacher, says that this will help improve writing and social skills, but just between you and me, I’m excited to learn more about YOU- I’ve never had a friend from a different state before!

First things first, let me share a little bit about myself. My full name is Molly Jean McIntire, but everybody calls me just plain Molly. I’m 10 years old and in 4th grade at Willow Street School. I live in a brick house on 467 Oak Street with my Mom, Dad, and 3 siblings- Jill, Ricky, and Brad. Jill is the oldest of us, 14 to be exact. I love having a sister and all, but golly! Jill sure can be bossy! She’s really into beauty and fashion, and always says that I’m too “immature” to understand what she likes. It gets on my nerves quite often. Next is my older brother Ricky, who is 12. He can be such a prankster! Ricky is also crazy for airplanes. His room is covered from floor to ceiling with posters of them, and not to mention smelly socks too! And finally, there’s my 5 year old brother Brad, the youngest of the McIntires. Brad isn’t a pest… yet. I just hope he doesn’t catch on to Ricky’s sneaky tricks! Ha ha!


What are some of your hobbies, Nanea? My absolute favorite activity is tap dancing. I hardly do anything else! Well, maybe I read a good Nancy Drew mystery here or there, but otherwise, it’s mostly tap dancing for me. Ha ha! I take lessons each day after school at Miss LaVonda’s Dance Class, along with several girls in my grade. Some days when I get home, Mom will make toasty, grilled cheese sandwiches for Ricky and me- yum! After school snacks are always swell… except when Mrs. Gilford is there. She watches us occasionally when Mom has to run an errand, and all she ever makes is turnips, turnips, and more turnips! I don’t mean to complain, Nanea, but they smell like Ricky’s dirty socks! Ew!

Now, it’s your turn to share! Here are my two questions for you.

Is it chilly during the winter in Hawaii?

What are your favorite hobbies?

Oh, I’m so excited to get your letter! Even though we may be an ocean apart, I hope we’ll become the best of friends.

Your pen pal,

Molly McIntire

P.S. Attached to the letter is my portrait this year for you!


November 8th, 1941

Dear Molly,


Aloha from Honolulu, Hawaii! I practically squealed when I found your letter in the mail this morning. I must admit, I’m just as excited as you! Pen pals are so much fun.

To begin my letter, I will answer your first question. No, as of yet, it is not cold in Hawaii- and I don’t think it will be anytime soon! The warm island temperatures allow us to enjoy unique traditions, like surfing and swimming near Christmastime. I’m sure that sounds far different from your winters in Illinois!

My full name is Alice Nanea Mitchell, I’m 10 as well, and in 4th grade at Lunalilo Elementary. I live in a blue house, and my neighborhood is very near to a beach. Unlike your family, I only have two siblings- David, who is 17, and my 15 year old sister, Mary Lou. It sounds like Mary Lou and your sister Jill would fit together like two peas in a pod! Mary Lou loves to curl and style her hair, and constantly bothers me to do something “grown up” with mine. David isn’t much of a pest, but he does like to joke around. His nickname for me is Monkey… He he! Oh, and of course, I couldn’t forget to tell you about the furriest member of the Mitchell family, our dog Mele. Her name means ‘melody’ or ‘song’, which suits her perfectly, since she loves a good tune! Mele really is a great dog, despite her knack for trouble.


Tap dancing sounds like fun! I dance too; in fact, here’s the answer to your second question. My favorite hobby is hula dancing! I have been taking lessons from my Tutu Lani (my grandmother) ever since I could walk. She is my kumu hula, the traditional Hawaiian word for hula instructor. Mary Lou and I go every Saturday to Tutu’s house where the classes are held, and just like your class, we practice with several of Tutu’s other students. I’m still not as good as Tutu or Mary Lou, but hula is a fun way to express myself. When class is over, I occasionally get to help Tutu and Tutu Kane (my grandpa) at their local store, Pono’s Market. I’m glad that I can dip my paddle in and do kokua, a good deed, for my grandparents. My routine at the store usually consists of sorting candy, restocking the shelves, and sweeping up when it is time to close. Working at the market is a responsibility, but it's also a fun job!

Mahalo for the pretty picture you sent me, Molly! I enjoy looking at it- actually, it’s pinned on the wall right beside my bed so I can see it each day. In exchange, I have sent my own photograph for you.

Even the widest, blue ocean won't separate our friendship! I can’t wait to hear from you again soon, Molly.

With love from Hawaii,

Nana Mitchell


And so the friendship begins...

• • •

I'm thrilled to share with you my newest series, The Pen Pal Project! ❤️ Ever since Nanea Mitchell made her debut in August, I thought it would be exciting to create a series featuring her and Molly as they correspond by letter, describing life before and during World War II. I did change a few things in Molly's original timeline so the two stories would flow better together, but otherwise, these posts are based off of each doll's books.

Thanks for reading the first letters from the of The Pen Pal Project! 😉 A behind-the-scenes look at Molly and Nanea's rooms is coming soon!

- American Girl Doll Crafter

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