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A pen pal in Brooklyn

By Blog Master
Posted: 05/01/2021
“Bashert” in Brooklyn
Karen Bagnard

She’s blonde, vivacious, outspoken and can work magic with a band saw and a scroll saw!  She’s a working artist in Brooklyn.  She’s also 92 and my wonderful pen pal!  Her name is Bernette Rudolph.  Go to her website to learn more and see her fantastic art at

I am one of eleven Village members with pen pals.  I sent a letter to Bernette via “snail mail” introducing myself as an artist, mother, grandmother, and telling her about my community.  I told her about the coyotes that howl their beautiful howls at night and the other wildlife we sometimes see here.  I told her about my drawing and my card business.

As I was writing my introduction letter, she was writing hers.  She told me about her family and her passion for lines and wood and how she converted her six-room apartment in Park Slope into her studio and gallery, reserving some rooms for her living space.  

Both letters were mailed on the same day!  

From that auspicious beginning we have continued to write and to email, as well.  Recently I attended her Open Studio interview on Zoom.  Several members of Pasadena Village attended as well.  Now, Bernette has invited me to visit her in Brooklyn where she said she would like to “show me the town.”  What a lovely offer!

Since traveling to Brooklyn isn’t possible for me right now, I invited her to have coffee with me so we could do a “show and tell” on Zoom.   She accepted and we figured out a good time for a late morning coffee for me and an early afternoon coffee for her, after all there’s a 3-hour time difference.  Our visit was so natural and so engaging.  She feels like an old friend.  Bernette tells me this is called “bashert” in Yiddish, meaning “meant to be.” 

Artists need each other.  We inspire each other and we speak a similar language.  Bernette is gold in my life.  She sets an example of how to be 92 and do it right.  She’s surrounded by young friends, old friends, creative energy and a vibrant passion for her work.  “Snail mail” has its charm but I’m also glad we can supplement it with emails and Zoom, as well.

Bernette has a blended family and is interested in issues of race in America.  She showed me a picture of her with her beautiful brown great grandchildren.  I’ve invited her to join our 1619 Project Discussion group and hope that she will join in our conversations.

The power of the pen is mighty, indeed!
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