St. Louis woman meets longtime Australian pen pal for first time

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - At Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, Phyllis Grumich sits patiently, reading a book, waiting to pick up a friend. She's been waiting to meet her for 55 years.

"About 14 and we kept writing until about 22-years-old," said Phyllis Grumich, describing her Sydney, Australia pen pal.

Long before emails and instant messaging, Phyllis Grumich and Helen Walters wrote letters in longhand, back and forth, from St. Louis to Sydney, Australia. Blue and black ink once binded them across the ocean.

"So we just kind of drifted apart, and she was busy with her family, and I was busy with my family," Grumich said.

But Thursday evening, the chance for a first-time greeting in flesh and blood finally happened.

In modern times, a meet up like this is a rare occasion to witness. For the next two weeks, a little bit of Sydney sets up shop in St. Louis. Phyllis and Helen will do things that two friends who've known each other a long time do. They’ll go sightseeing and shopping and just hang out.

"Oh man, my insides are just…It's amazing," Grumich said.

Half a world away, two people make a connection in an airport, after reconnecting on a classmates website.

"Yeah, I just pretended I went to her school so she'd find me," Walters said.