Happy Tuesday to our letter writing friends! I have some very exciting news… the Penpal of the Week interviews are back! We’ll be posting them on Tuesdays now.
Today’s featured Penpal of the Week is getting to be pretty popular on the blog… she was one of the winners in our Creepy Doll Giveaway. I’m happy to introduce you to Meredith!
Please tell us about you!
Hi! My name is Meredith Willis. I’m 38 years old and spent the first 37 of those years in Oklahoma. 9 years ago I married an Englishman (Craig) and last year his job moved us to the San Francisco Bay Area. We are loving living near the ocean. I have two daughters aged 11 (Ally) and 5 (Madison), a French Bulldog (Strawberry), and a fat ginger cat (Darwin). I have been a registered nurse for 18 years and am currently staying home and spending my time reading, writing, crafting and volunteering. My volunteer gigs include: teaching Art in Action at my daughter’s school, Girl Scouts, and working at the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito.
Our crazy family.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
Cheerful, Bookworm, Pacifist Vegan, Yogi, Gypsy, Adventurous, Nerdy, Outgoing & Goofy.
Yours truly in my favorite thrift store shop.
How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!
My very first pen pal was when I was 10. Our class sent letters up in balloons and some nice older (she was then probably my age now) lady found mine and we exchanged a few letters. My parents then hooked me up with some pen pals through 4H I think. We moved around a few times and I lost letters and wrote friends from school for a while and then email came along and letters seemed out of date. However, my dad, sister and I all would mail each other a card or letter out of the blue and it was always such a lovely surprise in the mail. When I met my English husband (boyfriend at the time) I began corresponding via email and snail mail with one of his friends and coworkers, Claire. We met in person 2 days after I first met him and have become best friends and still exchange letters to this day even though we have e-mail, text, twitter and Facebook.
My cozy writing corner.
How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?
I currently have 5 pen pals that don’t include the plethora of family and friends I write to regularly. They are from England, Canada, Australia, Wisconsin and California.
Strawberry, official stamp licker.
What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?
The weather. I complain to everyone about the drought here-kidding! No, seriously, I enjoy knowing what it’s like outside the window as the other person writes to me. Concerts, Books, Movies, Television shows, family outings, work, kids, animals, anything and everything really. I try to steer clear of religion or politics unless I know the person very well indeed.
My desk during the writing process!
What are you looking for in a penpal?
Someone who enjoys good old-fashioned snail mail, who can decipher my handwriting, and who will write back. There are really no other must have qualifications besides those three. I am happy to talk about anything with anyone.
Darwin in his bow tie.
What do you like the most about penpalling?
Seeing a familiar scrawl when I go to grab the pile of bills and junkmail out of the letter box. It’s like a random hug. Learning about day to day life in other countries.
Cards by moi.
In what language(s) do you correspond?
English only. Typical American.
Sample of my handwriting.
What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?
I write my letters at my dad’s old desk. The window next to it is nearly always open and looks out over the water behind our house. I have a sort of writing center set up which is my attempt at being organized. I am addicted to stationery and then I like to jazz it up a little too. Generally, I write my response the same day or the next. If there is something I need to think over or if I have an interesting event in the next few days I might wait until after that so I can include it, but that is a rare occurrence. I like to make myself a cup of jasmine tea and try to respond as if the pen pal and I are in conversation. My friends called me “Meremaid” (sic) because I love the ocean so much so I have a wax seal stamp with a mermaid on it that I use on nearly every letter.
My custom mermaid stamp.
Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?
No, but I did post a carrier pigeon through the mail and it worked!
The carrier pigeon I posted, which is legal to mail
within the US through blue letterboxes.
Have you met any of your penpals?
Just Claire, and that was a special case. I would like to meet more someday.
My friend/Penpal Claire (left) and I in England in 2005.
Are you currently looking for more penpals?
Since we are officially back to posting interviews, this would be a fabulous time for you to contact me about setting up your interview so that you can be featured on the blog. Send me an email today!
472 is my very favorite number, so I was really excited about being able to secure P.O. Box 472 at our local Winooski post office. Now that we have updated our new address badge you can send us your Quirky Penpal Ad. This is a great opportunity for you to find new penpals to connect with!