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!