Mary Lee Hagert

Sun
28
Aug

Wild experience in nation’s most popular national park — Great Smoky Mountains


Great Smoky Mountains, which straddles North Carolina and Tennessee, attracts people from around the country and is the most visited national park.

A reminder that the journey is as important as the destination

Sun
07
Aug

Pokémon — catching the fever once again


The early morning sun casts a shadow on Mary Lee Hagert’s son Christopher as he pauses at a “Pokéstop,” where he collects the tools for the new Pokémon Go smartphone game.

When my sons were young, they looked forward to Saturday morning cartoons with the same eagerness and sense of excitement that my sister, brother and I had when we were little.

Sun
31
Jul

Police shootings resurrect memory of nearly forgotten night

Baton Rouge, Dallas, North Miami, Falcon Heights.

Tragic shootings of black men by police and the ambush killings of police officers by lone gunmen happened in these cities during July, and cast a feeling of sadness over a month that we so associate with carefree summer fun.

Sun
05
Jun

Rediscovering the joy of spontaneity


The resort cabin on idyllic 11th Crow Wing Lake was the perfect place to unwind and enjoy conversations with longtime friends. (Mary Lee Hagert photos/Review)

If you had told me last Thursday afternoon that I would spend the weekend up north, I would have looked at you in disbelief. 

Tue
15
Dec

A cup of memories

Mug drawing by Jean Hagert Dow
Mug drawing by Jean Hagert Dow

On a gray, drizzly Saturday afternoon one December long ago, I was cramming for college finals when a jangling phone interrupted the quiet of my dorm room.
The caller, my 10-year-old brother, Jim, breathlessly said he had just finished the difficult task of going door-to-door collecting money from the subscribers on his newspaper route.
After setting aside the amount he owed our hometown paper, he announced with pride that his earnings were just over a dollar in coins. He intended to spend "the whole wad" on a surprise Christmas gift for Mom.

Mon
31
Aug

New Orleans: crawfish, alligators and hospitality

A never-ending sea of tourists descends on French Quarter every year to see its iconic Spanish architecture, sample the local foods and listen to the amazing music. (Mary Lee Hagert/Review)
A never-ending sea of tourists descends on French Quarter every year to see its iconic Spanish architecture, sample the local foods and listen to the amazing music. (Mary Lee Hagert/Review)

Surprisingly, the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and catastrophic levee breaks simply was not on my family's radar as we packed our bags in anticipation of an August road trip to New Orleans.

Wed
15
Jul

A hunger to be remembered

What drives people to research their family histories?
Is it a longing to know who we are and where we fit in the continuum of time?
Or is it a desire to gain some understanding of our ancestors' lives -- their joys, hardships, successes and failures? To find out where they lived and how they made a living.
Maybe it's a curiosity about what our forebears looked like. Do we share the same facial features or hair color or body shape?
And for me, at least, why did they leave Europe and homestead on the vast, unbroken prairies of Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa? What prompted them to make such astonishing leaps of faith?

Sun
17
May

Itching to avoid mosquito mayhem

To keep the flying insects at bay, Mary Lee Hagert’s son and husband donned mosquito nets during a picnic lunch. It was quite a feat to get the sandwiches into their mouths without also consuming a few mosquitoes. (submitted photo)
To keep the flying insects at bay, Mary Lee Hagert’s son and husband donned mosquito nets during a picnic lunch. It was quite a feat to get the sandwiches into their mouths without also consuming a few mosquitoes. (submitted photo)

It snowed on my birthday, again.
While that's nothing out of the ordinary for Minnesotans with birthdays between mid-November and mid-March, I'm always stunned when I look out the window and see snow falling from the heavens ... on my April birthday.
Granted, this year it was only snow flurries. But just the same, I couldn't help but wonder if those late-season snowflakes were really necessary.

Mon
20
Apr

Thanks to April snow showers, memories flower

It snowed on my birthday, again.
While that's nothing out of the ordinary for Minnesotans with birthdays between mid-November and mid-March, I'm always stunned when I look out the window and see snow falling from the heavens ... on my April birthday.
Granted, this year it was only snow flurries. But just the same, I couldn't help but wonder if those late-season snowflakes were really necessary.

Mon
22
Dec

A Christmas to remember


Christmas morning 1993, Christopher poses with the cheerful chairs hand-painted by his aunt Teresa Alto, pictured, and uncle Jeremy Faden.

When I rummaged through storage boxes labeled “Christmas” last week, I unexpectedly found myself on a journey into the past 22 years.
I had been hoping to quickly locate the glass ornaments painted by my twin sons in early grade school, but instead was pausing to look at drawings of little stick-figure Santa Clauses and reindeer, construction paper ornaments decorated with macaroni and popsicle sticks, and clear plastic balls containing photos of the boys grinning from ear to ear. I couldn’t pinpoint what years they made any of these treasures, but each one was a tender reminder of their childhoods.

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