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Our Story…..

A long time ago……about 28 years ago to be exact……there lived a girl in a small town in the suburbs of Cincinnati. She was 14 at the time and had just started her Freshman year in high school. Being a good “band geek”, she attended band rehearsals towards the end of the summer…..it was after band rehearsal one day that she met a new boy…..he had transferred in from downtown….from the School for Creative and Performing Arts…..he was a musician….a REAL musician….like from the school that was on “Fame”!  He was tall and had this shock of red hair…the girl, being the friendly sort, ran across the street to introduce herself to this new kid and welcome him to her hometown……

…..and he decided moving to the “burbs” might not be as bad as he thought……

Paul and I became instant friends. Our school was very small…..with only 86 kids in my graduating class……everybody knew EVERYBODY and in typical fashion, the band kids were tight. Paul and I spent countless hours on bus rides to contests, at freezing football games and we even double dated….with different people! We remember the time he tricked me into believing he had a phone in his car and the time he sheltered me from the rain with his Field Commander cape…..and I didn’t really care for his girlfriends much….they were always “too this…” or “too that….” never good enough for my friend……and yes, he was an  incredibly talented musician even back then…..we all knew he was way out of our league…..but he certainly never acted that way….

It wasn’t until after Paul went to Ohio State did we start dating……much to my mother’s chagrin…..she didn’t care for him much….especially after he dropped me off, 17 and drunk as a skunk, after a Christmas party…..but there was just something about him…..he had no fear and when we were together, neither did I…..he took me to bad parts of town so we could get the best BBQ ribs around……we snuck into clubs to listen to jazz music and drink beer…..we cruised the city like we owned it….and we did……he played saxophone and we listened to Dire Straights and sang along to Huey Lewis and the News…..we went to the amusement park and the mall and the zoo…..this city boy was showing me the time of my life…….

But our relationship was full of passion and at our young age that often meant big fights and even bigger making up! And it happened often…..passionate fights that ended with us going separate ways, but often pulled back together by this incredible force….. but after leaving school and not really finding any direction in the job market he decided to join the Navy. When I heard, I was heartbroken. It was one of those “can’t live with, can’t live without” moments. And just like the movies, I couldn’t let him leave without saying goodbye….so I rushed to his house to say one last goodbye……it was awful……

He ended up stationed in Hawaii……he made quite the plea for my moving out there and getting married. He had the University of Hawaii sending admission information to my dorm at Ohio University, where I was enrolled as a Fashion Merchandising major……he also worked at a slaughterhouse so he could save enough money to fly me out there…do you have any idea how shitty that job was?……but I was only 18…..I had just started college and I wasn’t ready to be a sailors wife…..so we went our separate ways…..

Flash forward 4 years later, ’91 I think……I had just ended a 3 year relationship and you know what happens sometimes ladies……you have a particularly difficult breakup and you start thinkin’ back….back to that previous boyfriend…you know….the one whose faults you seemed to have forgotten over time….and he is transformed….into a Jesus-like character….perfect in every way…..

So what’s a girl to do?……… you start stalking him of course!

I can’t locate him anywhere in town…..so I tracked down his sister Sarah….still living in Cincinnati….and I “casually” call her up…out of the blue…..”as if”…..I mean, I knew Sarah. She was a few years younger than Paul so we didn’t exactly “hang out” but you know….she was my boyfriends kid sister! But I could tell she was surprised to hear from me…..and I am trying not to sound like some psycho ex girlfriend looking to take him hostage and sledge-hammer his ankles a la “Misery” sooooo…..she tells me he is in Chicago and gives me his number…..

….now this is where the story gets a little fuzzy for me. Paul is much better with the details of our early courtship so I will ask him to read this over and interject his own thoughts/corrections…..but I believe I called him. We talked quite a bit, just like 4 years hadn’t passed…..he sounded the same and now he was much closer than Hawaii…..just a days drive to Chicago. So after several days of reconnection he invites me up.  We made all the plans…..and I chickened out at the last minute…..horrible, right?……worse yet, we didn’t speak for 12 years ……

I have reflected on that often these last few years……. That crossroad……and why I made that choice……was it divine intervention? ….quite possible…..that is certainly the most romantic answer…..but in all honestly, I was scared. You know, Paul Klemm has always been and will always be a tremendous force in my life. Being with him was like living in a whirlwind. You never knew where you would end up and it was always an adventure……and I just wasn’t sure I wanted that in my life. I was sensible. I wanted stability. So I chose to stay home rather than risk hurting him even more…….

……and I married…..and subsequently divorced ……..my idea of “stability”……

I ring in the new century with a fresh divorce and a 2-year-old son. I have a wonderful man in my life but after a couple of years I am once again faced with the ending of another long-term relationship. And this one stung….a lot……it was basically the straw that broke this camels back……and I finally gave my life over to God.

I just hadn’t been doing a good job…plain and simple. If I was going to be one of those people who wasn’t going to find the love of her life, well then, I was going to have to accept that. I had a wonderful family, a great kid, a thriving career and my first home! I had lots to be thankful and grateful for and I decided right then and there that was how I was going to live my life…..being blessed.

9 months later the love of my life showed up….again…..

After purchasing and remodeling a 1940’s home in South East Indiana, I had just gotten settled in. I remember it like it was yesterday….mid August 2003…..I got an e-mail from Paul Klemm. It came from the website Classmates.com. I was giddy in an instant! It was like my office chair had Time Warped me back to the late 80’s early 90’s and there was pacing and giggling and lots of “Oh my GOD-ing”……then I penned my response…..

We were talking on the phone same that night and 12 years melted away…….over the next several days we spent hours on the phone….there was so much to talk about….and we talked about it all……this went on for weeks. I was crushing like a school girl….HARD…….everyone knows what I am talking about here….where you can’t even THINK of them without breaking into this goofy GRIN. The only problem with that was……I was meeting my mother for lunch……

….remember……my mother couldn’t STAND him!……..

Of course, the jig is up within 30 minutes of my seeing her. She knew something was up….and once the bloodhound is on the scent there is no dissuading her……so I confessed……”I have been talking with someone from my past.” I said. “oh no…..Oh NO….don’t tell me you are talking to (Name Withheld To Protect The Innocent)” she shouts! I then jump up and say “oh noooo….not him! It’s Paul Klemm!”  Of course, she wasn’t too thrilled with “that red-headed kid that brought you home sloshed” but she was somewhat relieved…..by the way,  today she is the President of his Fan Club!

So with mother notified and a respectable 30 days of phone dating…..I book my first flight to Corpus Christi international Airport!

I was a nervous wreck…after all, I was throwing caution to the wind and flying 1300 miles to meet a man who I am pretty confident at this point, is the love of my life…..but you never really know how these things are going to go until you meet in person…..and it was magic…..his eyes were the same and his hug was the same and the nervousness was gone in just a few minutes!

He had also brought his absolutely adorable daughter with him and she hugged me like she knew me all her life! I will never forget the little green flowered sundress she wore the day they picked me up from the airport. Rachel was about 9 1/2 then…….and they didn’t come any cuter! They took me to Landry’s for some gulf coast seafood! We chitter chatted like there hadn’t been almost 15 years since we had last seen each other…..Rachel was her charming and well-behaved self…..and she insisted on following me into the lady’s room where I got to tell her again how happy I was to finally get to meet her in person 😀

This was the first of many magical weekends we would spend together and as I packed my bag, devastated on having to fly back home, I declared “You know, you are going to marry me some day”. He tells me today that he already knew that 🙂

 We flew back and forth, sometimes with the kids and other times without, and we would CRAM a ton of fun into 2 1/2 days! When I would visit the coast we would go to the beach, go salt water fishing, dine on shrimp and fresh fish and I learned all about local cuisine like taquitos and pico de gallo! When Paul came to Cincinnati we went to the zoo and ate Skyline chili and visited our old stomping grounds like Storm Park and the old neighborhood. It was the best of times and it was the worst of times…..

I have NEVER experienced anything as romantic as my long distance relationship with Paul. Our moments spent at the airport were as wonderful and gut wrenching as a scene from “Casablanca”. I would see him walking down the tarmac towards me and I would swoon like a school girl! On return flights I would go sobbing through security and sniffle the entire way home.  After he would be gone I would spend Sundays crying into the shirt he would leave behind….and he said things to me and revealed his heart to me in a way no one ever had. Those were hands down, the most romantic moments of my life…….again…the best of times and the worst of times……

This went on from Sept. 2003 until February 2004 when he proposed to me at Rockport Beach Park under a shelter in the pouring rain…..I cried like a baby…..and there was absolutely no doubt that he was the one….that this was something much more than dumb luck…..that the odds were astronomical that this was happening….and we went into it with no fear….and have continued to operate like that to this day……

One of the many things we talked about during our courting phase was how we never judged each other. That is the base for our relationship (Other than God of course!) but we always said that and more importantly is we LIVE like that. We don’t have to be afraid of being ourselves with each other because we KNOW the other won’t judge. It’s ok to be silly….it’s ok to say what you feel with no fear of the other wondering what’s WRONG with you……we can share our irrational fears and our off-color jokes and say horrible things about how we feel about our kids or anything! I can say ANYTHING to this man and he will continue to love me…….and THAT is the part of our relationship I love most!

We were married in front of a volcano at the First United Methodist Church in Rockport, Texas on June 12th 2004. The volcano was part of the scenery for that week’s Vacation Bible School theme of Lava Lava Island. Some of the church ladies offered to take it down but in typical Paul and Lisa style we just “went with it” and it was a charming backdrop to our wedding! The children also took part and we became a family that day…..

We have had our ups and downs of course……moving to Texas, a car accident, starting our real estate business, building a home, child rearing, financial devastation, a career change for us both and a cancer diagnosis….but we go through it all together…..us against the world……and we wouldn’t have it any other way……


Comments on: "Our Story….." (1)

  1. What an amazing life story. What caught me attention the most was when you said, ” but we go through it all together…..us against the world……and we wouldn’t have it any other way.” Well said. Looks like you both had been into some hard, difficult times. I admire your support and love for each. Not a lot of people have that gift of companionship to sustain them during troubled times. Your struggles together and zest for life made me remember my parents. They had experience much trials including sickness but they stayed optimistic. but the one that kept them strong was their love for each other.

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