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 and Hubby Phil color coordinated.
Describe your personality in 10 words!
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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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!