About Liza Wiemer
July 17th, 2009 by Liza Wiemer


  • Married to Jim (We started dating when I was seventeen.)  Here’s the love story:  I worked two jobs during the summer between my senior year in high school and my freshman year at UW-Madison.  On my day off, my BFF grabbed the key from under our flowerpot, let herself into the house, and dragged me out of bed to go to Summerfest, a lakefront festival of music.  I worked for the festival grounds selling popcorn in a Koepsell’s popcorn wagon almost every night until 12:30 A.M., and it was the last place I wanted to be on my one day off.  But my friend refused to leave my house until I got dressed and left with her. Apparently, “we” had promised to meet some guy friends, and they were counting on us.  When we arrived at Summerfest, the place was packed with tens of thousands of people, but sure enough the guys were exactly where they said they would be. After hanging out together for awhile, we ditched the boys for the Miller Jazz Oasis and the Spyro Gyra concert. I still feel a little guilty about it—thanks for forgiving us!  I had never heard of Spyro Gyra, but my friend was a huge fan. Somehow, we squeezed ourselves into a tiny spot between some benches. I was intimately aware of the male body directly behind me, because practically every part of him kept bumping mine, and if I leaned forward just an inch, I ended up plastered against the sweaty guy in front of me. No contest. There was no room to turn, no room to breathe, yet we were having the time of our lives swaying to the music as one giant force. After standing for ten minutes, the guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder.  All of a sudden, I was hoisted into the air and was sitting on his shoulders. Seriously, I hadn’t even seen his face. Apparently, he felt sorry for me and decided I should be able to see the stage. The view was spectacular. Forty-five minutes later, I was back on solid ground. That was when I saw Jim for the first time.  He was … what can I say? Drop. Dead. Gorgeous.  A foot taller than me, muscular, lean, sun-bleached sandy brown hair, and he had a half-cocked grin that spelled mischief. I was a shy girl and didn’t say much. (If you know me now, it would be hard to believe I was every shy.)  Over the course of the next few days, Jim came and visited me at my popcorn wagon. He was thoughtful and sweet. He brought me sodas so I wouldn’t pass out in the heat. (Okay, and a few beers – but the drinking age was eighteen back then and he didn’t know 1. I hated beer and 2. I was underage. I spilled them out.)  At one point, I had six lined up, untouched. On one of the last nights of the festival, we were supposed to meet up at closing time and then head out to go dancing. He didn’t show. I stood in the middle of the empty, dank Summerfest grounds with tears running down my face.  I muttered, “If I never see this guy again, it will be the biggest loss of my life!” Then I started to laugh. What a ridiculous thing to have said – and out loud!  I didn’t even know the guy. Later, I found out security kicked Jim and his friends out because only employees were allowed on the grounds after hours. Logical. Apparently, one of Jim’s friends tried to console him by pointing out that I was a complete mess. After all, I had oil, popcorn, butter, and salt covering all exposed surfaces. The next day, I told my BFF what happened. Not to despair. She had the phone number of one of his friends. She called him up and got Jim’s number. I absolutely refused to pick up the phone, but she threatened to make the call herself. Reluctantly, I dialed his number. If only it had been so easy. One of his sisters picked up and called for Jim. His “hello” was a little strange. His voice sounded deeper, but I dismissed it. I proceeded to blather on . . . “Remember me? Liza?” “We met at Summerfest?” “Liza. I was the girl who sat on your shoulders through the entire concert at the Miller Jazz Oasis?” “I got your phone number from ____ . He said I should call?” With each comment, Jim didn’t say a word. Finally, after dying of complete mortification, I said, “Well, it was nice talking to you.” Of course, I had done ALL the talking. Just as I was about to hang up the phone he said, “Sorry, I think you want to speak to my son.” (Though I can’t say for sure, I believe the whole embarrassing nightmare amused my future father-in-law.) Ahhhhhh! He rattled off the number, which I somehow wrote down. A week later—because I absolutely refused to call Jim after humiliating myself in front of his dad—my friend once again threatened to make the call herself. This time, I got the right guy. Jim was so happy to hear from me. We talked for several hours. Someday, I’ll share our first date. Heaven. At the end of that summer, I left for Madison and he stayed in Milwaukee. We made it through three and a half years of a long-distance relationship. Four years, four months to the day from our first date, we were married.
  • Mother of Two Talented YA (Yeah, I’m biased!)
  • Published AuthorHello?, my debut YA novel is being published by Spencer Hill Contemporary, October 10, 2015,  Extraordinary Guidance, 1997, Three Rivers Press, a division of Random House,  Amazon:  http://tiny.cc/Byd98  and Waiting for Peace, 2005, Gefen   Amazon:   http://tiny.cc/8IZA8
  • Contributor to the NYTBS Series Small Miracles:  Small Miracles of the Holocaust, Extraordinary Coincidences of Faith, Hope, and Survival, By Yitta Halberstam and Judith Leventhal, 2008, Lyons Press.  Amazon:  http://tiny.cc/rzSfK  To view story:  http://tiny.cc/tCl1l
  • Teacher – Graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison – Elementary Education (Go Badgers!)
  • Latest project: YA novel – I’m excited, pumped, charged!

Contact me at: whoRuBlog@aol.com

4 Responses  
Zieva writes:
August 31st, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Congratulations and way to go! This is so exciting! I just shared it with a friend as a model of something she is interested in doing.

Magdalena writes:
September 16th, 2009 at 7:35 am

I have just put a link from this website on my Facebook if you do not mind. Great job!

Joe writes:
October 9th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Looking forward to the YA novel.

Wendy writes:
May 1st, 2011 at 10:57 am


I met you years ago at the 7th Ray Book Store on National Avenue, West Allis, WI. You had just come out with your book, “Extraordinary Guidance”. I still have that book and the message you wrote has always been so inspirational. I did attend some of the groups with Kim(?) directing them. I was wondering if you still have those groups going and if they have they have spread to others states, specifically Georgia, where I live now. I wish you good luck and hope the years in between have been kind to you!

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