A charming pen pal

By chance, the Organisation Normandie-Canada was linking up people who were looking for pen pals. I sent a brief description of my goals, which were to paint the rural life of Quebec and to find out more about what the country was like before undertaking a trip there. I also had several meetings with a Quebec editor in Paris, who was not, however, very encouraging. Then one day, I received a lovely letter from Ghylaine Paquin, a young teacher who replied candidly to my questions and told me all about herself in a very lively way. My relatives and friends were very interested in her detailed descriptions of her activities, where she lived and her interest in literature, history and the arts. This exchange of postcards, letters, and then packages containing books and treats from Quebec, and drawings of Alsace and Brittany, went on for two years, until 1948.

Ghylaine Paquin, country school. Quebec, ca.1947
Guylaine in Her Classroom. Credit: Frédéric Back, drawing, 1947
Postcard of Douarnenez. Credit: Les Éditions d'Art, July 21, 1947.
Letter from Frédéric Back to Ghylaine Paquin. July 21, 1947
A Tiny Corner of Brittany. Credit: Frédéric Back, drawing sent to Ghylaine, 1947