By Kathleen J. Bryan
Forum News Service
ALAMO, N.D. — Louise Skaare came to western North Dakota for love — not a high-paying job in the oil fields.
The Lower Merion, Pa., native met Joey Skaare, 25, of Williston through a mutual friend, Ashley Olyoe of Williston, when she was 19.
Olyoe set about matchmaking the city girl and the country boy, deeming them “perfect” for one another. She was working as a nanny in Philadelphia when Joey visited her and met Louise, a soon-to-be freshman at Temple University, a school of more than 35,000 in the heart of the historic city.
Joey said he thought she was cute. Louise looked at Joey and could only see their differences.
“This farmer from North Dakota comes in, and it’s just not going to work,” she said, recalling their first meeting.
But Louise stayed, because he was sincere and something “drew me to him.” Joey asked her to go for a walk and the two spent the evening getting to know each other, he said.
“We had such an intense conversation about family and what we wanted out of life,” Louise said. “It’s not bad to judge from first appearance. It’s what you do with that.”
They exchanged telephone numbers. Louise went on a two-week mission trip to Peru and Joey returned home to attend the North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton.
The two, the “baby” in their respective families, had “random communication” until the following July when Louise, then 21, traveled to North Dakota with Olyoe to stay a month “to know if this is real.”
Joey, who was also working as an electrician at longtime Williston business Triangle Electric, said on their first date he took Louise to his family’s nearly century-old farm in Alamo.
They parted, again, but this time their romance blossomed via letters, phone calls, visits and video chats, Louise said.
“I was wooed long-distance,” she said.
On Jan. 11, 2011 Joey gave her a diamond necklace to make their dating official. By fall 2012
Louise had transferred to Minot State University to pursue a degree in secondary education — and her relationship with Joey.
“It was unbelievable. I thought I was going to have to beg her to come out,” he said.
On April 5 the two families celebrated the nuptials of Louise and Joey at a church on the New Jersey coast. Louise said the wedding was a blend of city and country to honor their cultural roots.
Joey’s mom, Meri Skaare, said she and husband Lynden had an inkling something was up.
She, too, was from a different region of the country, the Spokane, Wash., area, when she met
Lynden in her late teens.
“I can relate. There’s real similarities. We both left our homes. She came from the East Coast, I came from the west,” Meri said.
Harvest has been a busy time for Joey and his family. Louise has found her niche, too, and readying for the Nov. 1 opening of Lantern Coffee Company west of the Walmart in Williston. She said the shop will serve as a “light in the community,” bringing people together over a good cup of coffee and special events.
Louise said there’s something “really cool” about a slower pace of life in North Dakota with Joey.
“Why spend money on things that don’t define you? I need to support him, that’s his living and his family,” she said. “I came to solidify the love. … Boom or not, I’d be here.”