About Me:

Aloha! I'm Wendy Kennar. I'm the mother of a seven-year-old son and a wife living in Los Angeles. I was a public school teacher for twelve years until a chronic medical condition made it necessary to leave my teaching career.

I've always been described as "quiet" - really, I'm just biting my tongue. I've got lots to say, and lots of thoughts to share, I just prefer to write them. That's the purpose of this blog. Each Wednesday, I post a personal essay offering my observations and thoughts.

A few fun facts about me: I've wanted to be a writer since second grade, when my teacher, Mrs. Jones, made me a "book" with a yellow construction paper cover. I have never learned to whistle, have always preferred sunflowers to roses, and have spent my life living within the same zip code.

Through the years, my writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, United Teacher, GreenPrints, L.A. Parent, DivineCaroline.com, RoleReboot.org, XOJane, and Brain, Child Magazine. Additionally, my personal essays have been included in several anthologies, including: The Barefoot Review, Beyond the Diaper Bag, Lessons From My Parents, Write for Light, Being a Grown-Up: A User's Manual for the Real World, Ka-Pow!, How Writing Can Get You Through Tough Times, Breath and Shadow, The Grey Wolfe Storybook, and Sisters Born, Sisters Found.
I am a regular contributor at MomsLA.com, and you can also find me at Goodreads.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. Feel free to comment and share my blog with others!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dear Aya

My longest friendship is with a woman who lives in another country.  Aya has been my pen pal since fall of 1993.  We began writing during my senior year of high school and my letters consisted of information about my classes, upcoming exams, and my part-time jobs.  Aya, a few years older than I, wrote of her education, her preference for the color pink, her admiration for birds, and her love all things Elvis.
During these seventeen years, we’ve written about men we’ve dated.  Men who we wouldn’t see again, and men who would become our husbands.  We’ve written about moving, buying cars, becoming teachers, and becoming mothers.  Our worlds have become larger and the subjects we write about have grown as well.
When someone finds out I have a pen pal, they are usually surprised by two things - the longevity of our friendship and the fact that we communicate with letters.  Old-fashioned, hand-written letters that require multiple stamps.  Letters that find their way back and forth at least once a month, with only the occasional e-mail.  There’s always a smile on my face when I see one of Aya’s letters among my utility bills.  Her stationery often features Disney characters or whimsical drawings of flowers or airplanes.  We adorn our envelopes with stickers and send pictures of our family back and forth over the ocean.  
We’re fortunate because we have met - several times.  Aya has many more stamps in her passport than I do.  I admire her courage and fearless spirit for flying hours on a plane to explore various locales.  She visited Hawaii and Las Vegas and Paris before I did.  And for a few months, Aya was an exchange student, residing an hour’s drive away.  We went out to eat, went to the movies, and shopped.  High price tags were not so high for Aya who informed me of the drastic price differences in Japan.
On a regular basis, thousands of miles separate us, yet we are close, and have shared in the milestones of each other’s lives.  I sat on the floor of our first apartment, speaking into a cassette player, recording a message of happiness, congratulations, and good wishes to be played at Aya’s wedding.  And a few years later, I returned home from a weekend in Laguna Beach to a phone message - Aya’s husband had telephoned to say Aya had given birth to a baby girl.  Almost eleven years ago, Reina entered the world and entered my life.  Her pictures hang in my home, just as my nephews’ pictures do.
Almost eight years later, my husband would send an email and a photo, announcing the birth of our son, Ryan.  Reina and Ryan.  Aya and Wendy, friends with birthdays each on the 7th. 
When we meet, we look very different.  Aya is a woman with acrylic nails, a Coach handbag, and high-heeled boots.  I am a woman with silver rings and clogs.  Yet, Aya knows me.  She knows my family, the names of my sister and nephews.  
I do not take our relationship for granted.  Generally speaking, friendships are not easy to maintain.  Written relationships are rare, and thus even more special and precious.  Just like Aya.


  1. What a beautiful article! You are very lucky to have found such a great pen pal. I'm glad you gals have kept in touch for so long. Keep up the great writing.

  2. This is fantastic to have such a great relationship considering the distance between you.This is so rare seeing people that live so close to each other can't have half as good relationship as you two have been able to have thousands of miles apart.Your writing just keeps getting better and better.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I enjoy your articles.

    Love, Dad

  4. Honey,

    This is another reason why I love you!
    You are an amazing woman.

    I Love You!