Broken Chain by
(194 Stories)

Prompted By Chain Letters

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They came rarely but promised cash, the chain letters, mostly when I was between 10 and 15 years old. I don’t remember the instructions clearly. Maybe I had to pass the letter on to 10 people. Just a Ponzi scheme. I didn’t have a lot of friends in middle school, so I might have run out of friends to target for passing the letters along. I can’t remember anyone ever receiving what was promised, nor can I recall anything bad happening specifically around the times the letters came. Not much different today, except you can forward a chain email to the entire world.

I didn't have a lot of friends in middle school, so I might have run out of friends to target for passing the letters along.


Profile photo of Marian Marian
I have recently retired from a marketing and technical writing and editing career and am thoroughly enjoying writing for myself and others.

Characterizations: right on!


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Your words ring true, Mare. I had the same experience. I’d go to my camp address list for names to mail too, but stopped after a few attempts and just gave up.

    In the digital era, I got a few of them from my sisters-in-law, tried to oblige, but felt they were such a burden that I quickly put an end to the whole thing.

  2. John Shutkin says:

    Great minds are thinking alike on this prompt, Marian. We all looked at chain letters with similar disdain, have taken a pass on their steroid-like successors on email, and have been willing to face the dire consequences. And, happily, here we all are!

    • Marian says:

      Yes, no consequences at all, good or bad. I now wonder what people were thinking who started the whole idea, since they wouldn’t get rich, unlike some of today’s more sophisticated scammers.

  3. Suzy says:

    Of course I agree. I guess this wasn’t a thought-provoking prompt, as we all wrote basically the same thing, in longer or shorter forms. We’ll have to be more mindful of that with future prompts.

  4. Khati Hendry says:

    I also struggled to come up with names of people to send the letter to, and after a couple of flops just gave up. I always felt guilty sending it on anyway, and have to admit that I never forward any of the current digital messages that plead for me to send them on.

  5. Indeed Marian as you say nowadays with very little effort and the touch of a finger one can forward a chain email to the world!

    But as a kid I do remember my delight in sending those snail mail letters to far-flung friends and relatives!

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    So true, Marion. Just break that chain. I promise you will be fine (LOL).

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