Donna McCall was a 10-year-old with a crush on Butch Patrick, who played boy werewolf Eddie Munster in the mid-`60s sitcom "The Munsters."
In her letter, she asked Patrick how tall he was because girls at the time were making gum wrapper chains long enough to match the height of their boyfriends. To her delight, the young actor responded and included his height - 5 feet, 4 inches.
Like many childhood projects, however, the wrapper chain wasn't completed. Decades passed.
McCall was a Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader in the late 1970s, worked for 20 years as a hospital pharmacist, married and divorced. When "The Munsters" ended in 1966 after two years on the air, Patrick left Mockingbird Lane and appeared on shows including "My Three Sons" and "Lidsville," though Eddie Munster remains his best known role.
An online article about a man who holds the world record for making a 12-mile-long gum wrapper chain triggered McCall's memory of her preteen idol. She found an e-mail address for Patrick, and a correspondence began.
McCall, now 55 and living 30 miles outside Philadelphia in West Chester, sent along a picture from her cheerleading days, said Patrick, 57, who never married but has a 23-year-old son in Missouri. She also sent photos of herself doing activities on her "bucket list," from scuba diving and trapeze lessons to race car driving, he said.
"That intrigued me a lot," Patrick said. "She's single, she's beautiful, she's in the nicest part of the country and she likes to do adventurous things. I figured I had to meet this woman."
The pair agreed to meet May 8 at a horror convention outside Pittsburgh called DraculaCon. You could say it was love at first bite.
"I think a lot of people ... thought there was something special going on between us," McCall said. "It was just very comfortable, very easy."
Within weeks, Patrick, who has homes in Los Angeles and Florida, moved to Pennsylvania to be with McCall.
He's working this Halloween season with a company called 13 Haunts as its "spokesperson and in-house celebrity Munster" for appearances at its 13 haunted houses in the Philadelphia area.
The couple say they are not engaged, contrary to other reports.
"We've only known each other for three months, four months, so it would be a little crazy to be jumping into that," McCall said.
Patrick added: "It's not that it's not going to happen, but one day at a time, so to speak."
Meanwhile, they say they're enjoying getting to know each other - both are active in fundraising at the Chester County Arts Association, and Patrick is enlisting Hollywood friends including Shirley Jones and Lindsay Wagner to lend their celebrity signatures to an upcoming exhibit of embellished bras called "BRAvo Arts Alive" to benefit breast cancer organizations.
After the busy Halloween season for Patrick, he and McCall plan to head to Los Angeles so she can meet his family.
"We'll get through the holidays," he said. "Then next year's a new year. Who knows?"