Kramer Girl

I feel the need to offer some more context after several concerned readers reached out to me about how Craig may feel if I identify myself as a Kramer Girl on my blog. If you’ve been keeping up with the Identity Crisis, I’ve been considering changing my blog name. After much thought and feedback, I’m going to stay The Pink Shoelaces HOWEVER, I wanted to tell a little story.

I got this email from a reader after I made the blog post. To spare you the entirety of the email, I’ll get to the point. She said: “I hope you did not hurt Craig’s feelings with all this Kramer talk about a blog name….. after all your are a Friedman now…..  you sure would have annoyed me…”

I laughed it off but then I got several other comments from readers with the same concern, only put much nicer. They were worried about how Craig would feel about me identifying with my maiden name.

My town is so dang small. I’ve had the same zip code my ENTIRE life. I’ve got to drive 30 minutes to the closest Walmart and at least an hour to the closest Target. Heck, I have to drive 20 minutes to see a stop light! Like it’s rural! Growing up, I was counted in the Jackson Junction census. My family counted for 7 of the 60 some people who also made up the population of Jackson Junction. When I say the town is small, the town is small.

My Dad was a very prominent member of the community. He was president of church council. He was a fireman and a first responder for years and years. He showed up at neighbors houses in the middle of the night on 911 calls, he made lifelong friends with his community members. My dad was hard to miss and had a pretty memorable appearance. My mom was also very involved in the church and ran a daycare in her home for years and years. One summer mom had 19 mouths to feed at lunch every day! You can bet all of those kids that came to daycare and their parents identified me as one of the Kramer girls.

I’m the youngest of 5 kids. You can bet all through high school I was labeled a “Kramer Kid.” Especially considering that we were the only kids in the district with the last name of Kramer – THE ONLY ONES. Kramer kids had a strong reputation through school. Smart, talked too much, didn’t really apply themselves, but respectful to teachers and their classmates. We were all B average students. We all had jobs through high school. We all were in the school musicals and school plays – I landed a lead in the play most every year. When I started singing and playing guitar, my name got an upgrade – “the Kramer girl who sings.” We had no problem making a name for ourselves.

Craig isn’t from around here. He came to NICC’s John Deere Tech program at the community college just down the road from my house where I went to nursing school. However, just because he didn’t grow up around here, he is related to MANY people from the Waucoma area. When Craig and I started dating, Craig was dating “the youngest Kramer girl who sings.” Most of his relatives already knew me as “the Kramer girl.”

When I call the bar to order food, the name I give is Kramer. When I call a plumber or an electrician to my house, the name I give is Kalissa Kramer.

For those who were readers during dad’s lung cancer treatment – remember “Kramer Strong?” There was a reason our cause was called Kramer Strong.

I am known in the community, in my home town by my maiden name. I’m not offended by it, I’m proud of it. Craig isn’t offended by it. He isn’t annoyed with me. In fact, he had a good laugh when I read him that email. He said “well they don’t know me very well then.” He actually joked and said that I had other annoying qualities that would rank higher ??When Craig meets someone from the area, he tells them he married the youngest Kramer girl.

I was at a restaurant a while a go. There was gentleman having a medical emergency. I stopped over to help. As I was assessing him and providing care, a voice from behind me said, “Sorry to interrupt, but are you one of those Kramer girls? I thought that was you!”

All this to say, this isn’t the 1970s. I don’t answer the phone like my Grandma Kramer did – she would say “This is Mrs. George Kramer.” That ain’t me. It never will be. I’m Kalissa Friedman but a big part of my identity lies with being a Kramer girl. I’m proud to be married to Craig, there was never any question of whether I would take his last name. But also, I’m my own person. I love Craig dearly but I am my own person. Craig is not my identity and I am not his identity.

Also, no drama here. I love questions, I love feedback, and I asked for feedback! No hard feelings! It’s all cool ? Plus, this email inspired this blog post if nothing else. Thanks for reading guys!



  1. Karen
    June 30, 2021 / 8:08 pm

    I’m with the people who said they’d read your blog no matter what name you use! I think they all identify you very well. I do give Craig a lot of credit though because there are a lot of men who would not handle you using your maiden name so freely. Just shows that he’s got his head on straight and loves and supports you fully as you do him. As long as Craig isn’t having an identity crisis about it and doesn’t consider it a hit to his masculinity it really isn’t anyone else’s concern. Consider yourself lucky!!! You got a keeper! Keep on keeping on!

  2. Kim
    June 30, 2021 / 10:20 pm

    Couple more ideas …

    or insert Kramer

    Go with your gut!

  3. Anne+Simonot
    June 30, 2021 / 10:29 pm

    Those commenters need to join the 21st century! Many many women keep their own name now. Changing your name upon marriage is a tradition.. that’s it. It’s neither a law nor a requirement. Traditions evolve, pass away, become different. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your pre-marriage identity or in using it post-marriage. Annoy Craig? Seriously? I agree with those who said don’t change your brand mid-step; that makes sense… but in the long run, do what feels right for YOU! I enjoy your blog! Keep on being honest & being you!

  4. Helen
    June 30, 2021 / 10:32 pm

    Lots of women keep their “original” name. Especially professionals.

  5. Susan+the+Farm+Quilter
    July 1, 2021 / 2:05 am

    Some guys who don’t have the self-esteem Craig has. He knows who he is and he knows those that matter know you are his beloved wife, no matter what name you go by! When I got married the second time, I didn’t take my new husband’s name, but kept my old married name…doesn’t bother my hubby. Some people call me Susan W….. (his last name) and that’s fine, but it isn’t my legal name, but that doesn’t matter. Nice to know someone else is so rural there aren’t traffic lights – my county doesn’t have a single one!! No Walmarts or Targets in the county either! Nice that people were concerned about Craig’s feelings…I never even considered it because I didn’t think you would do something that would deliberately hurt him in any way and you definitely know him much better than 99% of us who read your blog (that 1% would be your family and friends IRL!!).

  6. Norma
    July 1, 2021 / 3:27 am

    I totally get the Kramer girl thing. Its not so much a name as what makes you who you are. I’m the youngest of 5 sisters. You can be sure I heard about being one of those girls! Its great that you’re proud of who you are and Craig doesn’t mind. Name your blog whatever you want -it’s about YOU!

  7. Terri in BC
    July 1, 2021 / 5:23 am

    If a man’s feelings are annoyed by his wife referring to her maiden name, my guess is he has bigger issues that need to be addressed. Kudos to you and Craig for being both independent and knowing each other so well.

  8. Heidi Story
    July 1, 2021 / 7:03 am

    Maybe it’s a small town thing. I have 4 kids, 2 girls, 2 boys. They are known as the Story kids. The girls are married and their husbands will get asked, ‘Aren’t you one of the Story kids or rather married to a Story kid?’ They laugh and say yes.
    The benefit of being known far outweighs the ‘slight’ of being called out by their wife’s maiden names.
    Like Craig, my sons in law are confident men.

  9. July 1, 2021 / 10:04 am

    I understand completely what you are saying. I’ve been married for 45 years and my married name is Weaver but I’m still known as one of the Garber girls. When I put a quilt label on the back of a quilt, I always put my full name, Gretchen Garber Weaver. I learned to quilt from the Garbers, the Weavers have nothing to do with my sewing skill.

  10. Linda R
    July 1, 2021 / 3:55 pm

    In my Midwest IL area, a common question women are asked is “who were you ‘from home’?” The wording always makes me chuckle, but I get it! After 40 years of marriage, I still proudly identify with my maiden name. However, I happily user my husbands last name – 7 letters is faster to write than the 13 letters I grew up with! ?

  11. Elle
    July 1, 2021 / 4:55 pm

    I’m with you. I’ll never be “Mrs B” and I’ll always be a H…… girl 🙂 (6 kids, 4 are girls). 41 years married. Neither of us wear rings-we both know we’re married.

    Nothing wrong with having your own drummer ??? and the love of your husband!

  12. Meg Smith
    July 2, 2021 / 6:03 pm

    How about being Kramer-Friedman?

    Meg (UK)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *