A Little Lex History
The Letter Exchange was started in 1982 by Steve Sikora in Albany, California. Steve's unique idea was to assign code numbers to subscribers and forward mail, thus providing anonymous initial contact while allowing writers to self-match based on their descriptions of themselves or their writing interests. Approximately 12,000 subscribers read the magazine and used the forwarding service during the next 18 years. With the help of his mother and sister, Steve forwarded over 165,000 letters, moving to Santa Rosa in 1999. At the end of 2000, Steve retired from the pen pal scene, having published 51 issues and connected innumerable correspondents, many of whom are still writing to each other today.
After a two-year hiatus and much discussion, we decided that Steve's idea was too valuable to allow to pass into history, so we revived The Letter Exchange. Who are we? "Lexers" Gary and Lonna, who have been involved with Lex since 1986 and 1999, respectively. Although our day jobs had little to do with letters or publishing, we both have an academic background related to writing (Literature and History).