Archive for Penpal Interviews

July 28th, 2014

Penpal of the Week #140


Hello! It’s a cold and rainy day here in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which makes me want to curl up on the couch and watch 5 episodes of Mad Men. But I’ll be nice and post this week’s penpal interview instead.


Please tell us about you!

Lisa Smith, 48 living in Philadelphia, PA since I was 11, moved from New York but I still consider myself a New Yorker sometimes. Married almost 25 years, mom to two kids, 3 fur kids and 1 bonus kid.



Facebook: Lisa Gerardi Smith


Lisa 1

Lisa and Hubby Phil color coordinated.


Describe your personality in 10 words!

old fashioned


Lisa 2

I’m Italian American.


How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!

Since I was 12, my grandmother was technically my first pen pal until I was 15 got my first official pal from Maine, she and I wrote faithfully every week until up to a few years ago when she went all email on me, got my second official pal when I was 17 and we still write today.


How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?

Approximately 50, hard to keep a firm number because everyone writes at their own pace so I may not hear from them for a while, but it helps me manage. They are from all over the world which is a dream because I won’t get there in person, so not only am I making friends but I’m learning about these places.


All of my pals get my full attention when I’m reading and replying to their letter.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

Anything that keeps us going back and forth with a fun correspondence, I don’t even mind the touchy subjects one on one because we can discuss among ourselves without fear of hurting someone’s feelings.


Lisa 3

Kids PJ & Christy, bonus kid Stephanie.


What are you looking for in a penpal?

Someone who enjoys chatty letters that are a combination of lightheartedness and seriousness when the situation is there, supportive and loyal, someone who is excited to get my letter and reply. Someone responsive who opens up and considers me a friend and one that I can consider a friend. Humor and sarcasm and someone who doesn’t get offended or take things personally, who is honest and wants honesty.


What do you like the most about penpalling?

The sense of friendship coming from all over, even though technically we haven’t met, I feel like we know each other and share our love of letters, stationery, pens, stickers and all the goodies.


In what language(s) do you correspond?

English and sarcasm :)


Lisa 4

My first tattoo.


What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?

I like to read my letters at the end of my day when I can sit down with a drink and enjoy each visit, I have a comfy chair that I do both reading and writing unless I type from my computer.


I type sometimes to pals who have a little trouble reading my swirly penmanship, it’s no bother I’d rather know and make it easier and not lose a friend, they are always personally written for each person, no copy/paste.


I usually answer within 3-4 weeks sometimes sooner for US pals, longer only in the event that I am physically unable to write, in which case I will certainly let my friends know that I will be delayed. I don’t like to wait too long yet not reply too quickly as to bore my friend and give time to have something to write about, and I don’t hold anyone to a time, as long as I hear from my pals I’m happy.


My letters can go from 2-20+ depending on the letter I’m answering and my chatty mood.


Lisa 5

Sample of my handwriting.


Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?

My pen pals have enabled my Wizard of Oz addiction to where I’m almost needing an intervention, some of them have sent me the most wonderful things, stuffed animals, dolls, stickers, bookmarks, collectibles. That touches me so much because they went out of their way to get somethng they know I love.


Strange and unusual have been very few and I’m lucky.


Have you met any of your penpals?

Met my first pal in 1993, she was on her honeymoon and was nearby, so her and her new husband came to hang out! We ate chinese food and had a great time, just like a relative I hadn’t seen in a long time. I’m the one on the right.


Lisa 6

Deb and Lisa – my pen pal meeting.


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am not searching at the moment but that doesn’t mean a compelling intro won’t interest me, I reply to everyone in a reasonable time frame.


Thank you Lisa!


I’m looking for other people who would like to be featured as Penpal of the Week on the blog in the next few weeks. Are you interested? Please email me!

July 21st, 2014

Penpal of the Week #139


Happy Monday everyone! I know that we’re only a month into summer, but I’m almost feeling ready for fall (my favorite season). I loved summer so much as a child, but now I prefer autumn, and I can’t wait until the weather cools down a bit.


But first, it’s my son’s birthday on August 8 (and like every year, you can expect an 8/8 surprise at La Papierre), and then it’s the international hot air balloon festival in my city from August 9 to August 17. Denise is excited about that! Next month I’ll try to post pictures of the beautiful balloons that fill up the sky above my house.


After that, it’s time to shop for school supplies because Louis-Justin will be in the 4th grade already! Then the leaves will start to turn yellow, orange and red… But I’ll stop daydreaming about August and September now and will get back to reality. It’s time for a penpal interview! Are you ready?


Please tell us about you!

Hi! My Name is Ellen Gehring and I am 32 years young. I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia with my husband Zach and our three crazy cats. Our cats names are Elliott, Tony and Sparkie. I am a graphic designer at a diploma framing company where I have worked for almost 8 years.


Ellen 1

My husband and I on our wedding day reading a letter from my mom.

Our wedding theme was vintage love letters!


I have a ton of interests… I love to cook and bake and I recently took up making homemade jam! I like to watch movies, read books, craft, hang out with my friends and family and most of all I love to write letters!


I have a letter writing blog: My email is My instagram is @postmarkedwithlove. And my etsy shop is


Describe your personality in 10 words!

Giving, creative, caring, sensitive, hard working, forgiving, loving, strong, positive, self-aware.


Ellen 2

Two of my three furry babies! Elliot and Tony.


How long have you been penpalling? How did you first start? Tell us about your first penpal!

I have been penpalling for as long as I can remember. My first penpal was my mom. I used to spend the summers with my grandparents in South Carolina every year and my mom would write me letters all the time while I was gone. I remember sitting at my grandparents house writing her back and getting so excited waiting for the mailman to come get the mail and seeing if I got a letter in return. When I was home, my grandparents would write me too! I recently found all of the letters that I had written to my grandparents that they had saved over the years.


I moved to New York for College and my mom and best friend would write me letters almost every day to make sure I didn’t get homesick while I was gone. I loved it! Since college, I have started getting more and more penpals!


Ellen 3

Our mantle that contains a few of my favorite things!


How many penpals do you have now and where are they from?

I recently did a penpal ad, so I received a lot more pen pals through that as well as through my letter writing instagram account!


Before that I had a penpal that I received through Letter Writers Alliance who lives in Colorado. I write to several family members in South Carolina and have a penpal in Canada and Japan! My mom and I still write letters to each other too even though we see each other all the time and live only a few miles away from one another!


Ellen 4

I like to save stamps off letters I receive,

this is a bunch drying out to use for future projects.


What are your favorite topics to discuss in letters?

I think my favorite topics to discuss in letters are the everyday happenings in life. I think that is the most interesting. What do my penpals do day to day, what is a day in their shoes like. Just keeping letters real and honest. A place you can be yourself.


What are you looking for in a penpal?

I think it is nice to have some things in common with your penpal so you have things you can relate to each other about but it is also nice when you are opposites. You learn so much when you don’t relate on every topic. Keeps the letters interesting!


Ellen 5

Me with one of the Banksy art pieces in Manhattan!


What do you like the most about penpalling?

I like the connections you make most with penpalling. I have kept in touch with several friends that I might have lost touch with if it weren’t for penpalling. And just the great people you get to know by becoming penpals. If I ever got the chance to meet some of my penpals that would be awesome, but if not then that is ok too! I think you have a connection by being penpals that maybe you would never have with someone by just knowing them.


In what language(s) do you correspond?

I correspond to my letters in English.


Ellen 6

I love to make envelopes out of random newspapers, maps, etc.

This is two envelopes I made using old newspaper articles on family members!


What are some of your habits in regards to letter writing?

I have several different places I like to write my letters. I either sit on the couch with a clipboard or at the kitchen table. I sit at my desk in the office to work on my mail art and decorating mostly.


Depending on what is going on in life depends on how long it takes me to write back. I always try to write back within a week or two, but sometimes it takes me longer. Unfortunatly life gets hectic sometimes and puts a delay on my responses.


Most of my letters are pretty long. I have large handwriting, so I think that makes them appear longer than they are too. :)


Ellen 8


Has anything strange/funny ever happened to you since you’ve been penpalling?

I have never had any weird requests or received anything unusual from penpals! I would love to see what other penpals answer to this question.


Have you met any of your penpals?

The only penpals I have met are the ones that I was friends with before we started writing. If I ever get an opportunity to meet any of my penpals that would be awesome!


Ellen 7

Some envelopes I decorated using some of my many rolls of washi tape!


Are you currently looking for more penpals?

I am always seeking new penpals! I love having penpals from all over the world.


Thanks Ellen! You make me want to go decorate envelopes and play with washi tape…


Now who wants to be interviewed and featured as Penpal of the Week on the blog in August? Get in touch!


My name is Julie and I'm 34.
I live in Québec (close to Montréal) and I speak French.

I write letters, I love stationery and I have a handwriting fetish. I often eat sushi, still feel like I'm 16 and only wear skirts & dresses (with colorful tights when it's cold).

I'm happier with a mind full of ideas, a mailbox full of letters from my penpals, a shop full of stationery, a house full of cats and a day full of hugs.

Read my Top 10 Quirks here.

This is me with my girlfriend,
Denise. We met through the
League of Extraordinary
Penpals and are living
happily ever after amongst
piles of cats and stationery.

Denise will blog here
from time to time and is
the one in charge of the
social media: Facebook,
Twitter and Pinterest.

She's 38 years old,
from the United States,
and in love with me, washi
tape & imperial rolls.

Send your penpal ad & top 10 quirks to:

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