Let’s go back to July 2013.
My parents just bought a fixer upper in Waucoma. I was about to move off to college and start the nursing program in about a month. My brother was just about to get married in August. Hobbies included singing and songwriting, playing guitar, heading to the river with my best friend Regan, and daydreaming about having a boyfriend.
Craig and I met when I was barely 18 and he was 19 at a parking lot party.
We both went to the same community college. I was seeing a guy and he was seeing a girl. My guy had asked me to meet him at a party after work. His girl drug him along to this party.
I had just gotten off work as a CNA at a nursing home. I still lived at home – I was about a month away from moving out. I still had to call mom and ask permission to be able to go out after work. She said I had to be home at midnight and I had just gotten off work at 10 pm.
I showed up in my scrubs and I took my hair out of the braids I had in. Craig said that was the first thing he noticed about me was my big wavy hair.
I was one of three girls at the party. It was Craig’s girl, my future roommate, and me. I was new to the crowd and I don’t mean to brag, but I was the life of the party in a sea of drunk single college boys.
“Are you wearing scrubs?” Someone asked me from the row of diesel pick ups. I said “Yeah?” Craig says I looked at him like I was dumb and I went back to talking to the other guys.
I was giving them my number when Craig (stumbled) up to our group and also put my number in his phone. He asked me what name I should put in with the phone number. I said “Kalissa Kramer” – he reaches his hand out to greet me.
I can still remember that smile. If I close my eyes I see it in my mind like it was yesterday. The fluorescent lights in the parking lot shining behind him, his braces he was trying so hard to hide, his black baseball cap and plaid striped shirt. Later he told me he was about 18 Coors lights in and had to run home to his apartment from the cops through a corn field.
As I’m laying in bed typing this blog post we cannot remember what we talked about after that. I know he apologized for asking such a stupid question: Are you wearing scrubs? I know we chatted about my job in the nursing home. I know he was trying so hard to be sober. I know I got swept away in another conversation after that.
The guy I came with and the girl he came with ditched the both of us and rumor has it someone caught them together in a closet later that night.
Before I got home I had a text on my phone from him introducing himself again to make sure I had his number. We ended up texting after I got home and fell sleep with my phone in my hand. I was performing at the Jones county fair. Craig was on a field trip to the big John Deere factory. We were texting non stop…but I was also texting the rest of the guys in his class too.
About two days later, the night he came home from his John Deere field trip, I was scheduled to work in the nursing home 2 pm – 10 pm again. I had been texting about 3 different guys I had met that night. I had a “date” set up with one of them at 10 pm when I got off of work. His name was John. He texted me and cancelled on me claiming he had food poisoning. I praise God every day he had food poisoning.
I had permission to go out, I wasn’t going to waste that. So I called Craig. I asked him if he would come and meet me at the Whippy Dip (a Decorah ice cream shop) at 10 pm and even though they close at 10 pm, could you buy us both ice cream so we can have ice cream when I get there?
Craig said yes right away.
He met me there after work and we talked and talked and talked until it was way too far after my curfew. I thought it was weird that I had ice cream and he didn’t. The conversation was so natural.
I was driving home and I didn’t see his headlights following me to Calmar. So I called him. I said “I just want to make sure you didn’t have any car problems and that you’re on the road.” He laughed and said he was fine. Then with all the nerves that I had I asked him, “Can I see you again?” and he said YES.
After I hung up with him, around 12 am, I left a voicemail on my sister’s telephone telling her I just met the man I was going to marry.
We started dating the next day. He asked me if I would be his girlfriend. It was an immediate and enthusiastic YES. He came over that night and met my parents. We got so lost in conversation at 3 am we finally looked up and I kicked Craig out before my dad got up for chores.
We met July 2013 when I was 18 and he was 19
We moved in together November 2013
We got engaged August 2014 when I was 19 and he was 20
We got married September 2015 when I was 20 and he was 21
We bought our first home in November 2015
We had our first child, Carver John Friedman in September 2016 when I was 21 and he was 22
We had our second child, Gannon Jospeph Friedman in February of 2019 when I was 23 and he was 25
The rest is history.
There you have it folks! A modern day love story.