Mary Lee Hagert

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.

Sun
24
Aug

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.

Mon
16
Dec

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.

Mon
18
Nov

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.

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