Mary Lee Hagert


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.


When the door swings open, should you enter?

Ever wish you could travel back in time? Even for a quick look to see if things really were as you remember them?
We know the past is never coming back, but that doesn’t stop us from ruminating about life events, long-lost friends and the places we once inhabited.


Here we come a-polishing, among the eaves so clean

It’s funny how the mind plays tricks on you this time of year.
You think you have plenty of time for decking the halls, shopping for seasonal foods, baking holiday treats, and suddenly you have the sinking realization there are only a couple days before the get-together you’re hosting and your to-do list is longer than Santa’s.


A look back at the JFK years: A time of tears

I’m a political junkie. I follow political horse races with the same enthusiasm that others follow their favorite sports teams.
The seeds were planted decades ago. I remember my parents joking that they cancelled each other out the first time they voted in a national election.  Mom preferred Adlai Stevenson, while Dad liked Ike.


Sunrise, sunset

It’s a glorious autumn day; the sun is shining down on leaves that have turned lemon yellow, dusky orange and mahogany red.
As I pause every so often to gaze out a window, a few lines from a Rodgers and Hammerstein song run through my head:
“I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm, I’m as jumpy as puppet on a string, ... I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams, I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing.”


A wild time on the High Plains

Writer Mary Lee Hagert’s son Kevin stands atop a craggy butte in majestic Theodore Roosevelt National Park. (photos by Mary Lee Hagert/Review)

I’ve just returned from the Wild West, and I’m not referring to the re-enactment of 1890s gunslingers shooting up Main Street in Deadwood, S.D.
No, I mean the new Wild West, the one that’s cropped up more than a century after the days when drifters got into quick-draw duels on the Dakota Territory’s High Plains.
A vacation in the Dakotas wasn’t on my family’s radar a month ago. But after discovering all the campsites were reserved at our top choice -- Rocky Mountain National Park -- we weren’t sure where to go.


Will he still be singing in August?

On one of our rare warm evenings this spring, I hustled out of the Oakdale Target store with hopes of getting home in time to squeeze in a bike ride before nightfall.
It’s an unusually quiet store, and the parking lot was nearly deserted as I settled in behind the steering wheel. Just as I was reaching for the car door, I heard a faint bird song off in the distance.