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Prompted By Chain Letters

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I didn’t like chain letters but didn’t want to wimp out either. I always held out hope that something good would come from them. If I got one, I sent it on to girls from my cabin from the previous summer. Interlochen provided us with addresses of all who had attended each year. But, like a giant Ponzi scheme, nothing materialized.

With the advent of social media, chain letters cropped up online: don’t break the chain – its bad luck. I’d dutifully send it on to 10 friends. Finally I stopped. They are annoying. I don’t forward things on Facebook. I’m done.


#RetroFlash – 100 words

Profile photo of Betsy Pfau Betsy Pfau
Retired from software sales long ago, two grown children. Theater major in college. Singer still, arts lover, involved in art museums locally (Greater Boston area). Originally from Detroit area.

Characterizations: right on!


  1. John Shutkin says:

    Well said, Betsy — and, of course, succinctly. I think that this is one prompt on which all of us are in “violent agreement” in terms of our dislike, and ultimate rejection of chain letters. Sort of like our view on the pandemic. I’ll be curious to see if we get any “chain-positive” stories or comments. But I’m completely with you.

  2. Suzy says:

    Totally in agreement, Betsy. Just wish I had all that Interlochen memorabilia you show in your featured image.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      Total agreement, Suzy. I have the Program Book from all my summers at Interlochen, but only the address list from my final summer. Of course, all the professional photos that I purchased (plus a few that I ordered from the archives while visiting three summer’s ago; the archives are well-ordered now). Very fond memories.

  3. Marian says:

    I love how we both thought of chain letters as Ponzi schemes, Betsy!

  4. No fool you Betsy!
    But knowing you, I’d guess you did keep some of those old camp friendships!

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      I remain very close to a core group (just got a letter from one yesterday – a thank you note for a birthday present she received from me earlier in the week, but this was full of family news; and an email from a different one). I sent those chain letters to girls I would NOT remain close with.

  5. Khati Hendry says:

    Camp friends must have suffered disproportionately from these forwarded chain letters, especially since you weren’t likely to send a letter to someone you saw every day in school.

    • Betsy Pfau says:

      You’ve hit the nail on the head, Khati. But as I just explained to Dana, I didn’t even send them to my close camp friends (with whom I still remain close), but to girls in my cabin who I never expected to hear from again (though I did send them Christmas greetings at the end of the year).

  6. Laurie Levy says:

    Me too — done! I will not inflict these on my friends and family. The chain breaks with me.

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