An Earth Angel Named Dorothy

An unexpected letter from a woman with a familiar name sparks a devoted friendship.

- Posted on Sep 3, 2012

An artist's rendering of the two Dorothys

Perplexed. That’s how I felt one June afternoon when I reached into my mailbox near the end of my driveway and pulled out a letter that was addressed to me—from me! I stared at the envelope as I carried the letter into the house.

Sure enough, the same name appeared above both the recipient address and the return address: Dorothy Bowling. The letter had come from North Carolina. Was someone pulling my leg?

I sat down at the kitchen table and tore the envelope open. I found a three-page letter.

“You might think it strange that I am writing to you,” the letter said. “My name is Dorothy Bowling. I recently received an insurance statement that listed a prescription that was not mine. I called the company about the error.

"Turns out they made the mistake because a customer in Middletown, Ohio, has the same name as I do, and the same birthday—November 30, 1930. What a coincidence! I just had to tell you about it, so I got your address from the internet.”

She was talking about my prescription!

Dorothy had three grown sons, and had spent more than 30 years as an accountant for a large insurance firm. At the end of the letter, she invited me to write back to her if I was interested. How could I resist?

“Dear Dorothy,” I wrote. “It’s so nice to meet you!” I told her I was a mother to two children, and like her, had also been a working woman back before that was common. I added my phone number at the bottom of the letter in case she wanted to give me a call.

I smiled as I wrote out our matching names on the envelope.

About a week after I sent my response, the phone rang.

“Dorothy?” asked an excited voice on the other end of the line. “It’s Dorothy from North Carolina! I just got your letter!”

To say we made fast friends was putting it mildly. By the time I hung up the phone my ear was burning. We called each other regularly. And, of course, we kept sending letters.

She delighted in my stories about the trips I took to Europe and Alaska when I worked as a tour guide for a travel agency. I told her about my husband’s years as a car salesman. She sent me a copy of a book she’d written about natural health remedies and hints.

One spring, I found out I needed surgery. I immediately called Dorothy for support.

“I’ll be praying for you,” she said. “And we’ll talk even more often during your recovery.”

After I hung up, I thought way back to when I had received Dorothy’s first letter. I’d thought it was just an insurance mix-up. But our meeting wasn’t an error at all. I hadn’t been expecting any special packages that day, but God had delivered me a talkative friend— and an angel.

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