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MARILYN HAGERTY: Welcome to UND, first lady Debbie Kennedy

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Dear Debbie Kennedy,

I don't know you very well, but it seems as though I do because I read about you in the Herald. And I know you will be at his side when our new UND President Mark Kennedy is inaugurated next Monday.

You follow a long string of outstanding UND first ladies. And I was really happy to know you are interested in the theater department and staging.

I don't suppose you have to rake leaves around the president's house at UND. Here on Cottonwood Street we don't have much choice. The city calendar says vacuum leaf collection tentatively begins next week.

I stopped by a house on 18th Avenue South the other day because it has a very special tree—said to be the oldest in Grand Forks. I guess it was there when this part of town was a farm. It is now the home of Kelly and Emilie Howe. The old three-pronged tree is in their front yard.

The Howe children—Lyndon and Hayden—have so much fun playing in the leaves that their dad doesn't even mind raking.

You probably are aware, Debbie, that sugar beets are rolling through the Forks right now. And I think it is so great that Central and Red River High Schools are hosting a Sugar Beet Bowl here Friday evening. So the beets, just like the red potatoes, will have their day around here.

You probably are making new friends around the Forks. One of my longtime friends came whipping over from Robertson Court when we moved here in 1957. She was Diane Robertson, and she died this week in Florida. Her son, Sam Robertson, still lives here.

Many of us remember Diane as a dynamic, vivacious person. She was there with vases and flowers for the annual peony shows.

You see, Grand Forks is small enough so you can meet people and make friends. Still, it's large enough so you can enjoy some privacy.

Because I believe in writing letters, I send one out every week. For decades, I had written here in the Herald to my sister Shirley in Tucson. She died earlier this year.

In these times of short cuts, she loved and believed in handwritten letters.

Hope you are enjoying the UND campus this October. I think that drive down University Avenue is most beautiful now.

Best regards, Marilyn.

P.S. I have had letters from Emerson Eastman, 7, at Discovery School. We had turkey tidbits out there one day for lunch. Now I have an invitation from Kamryn Buettner, 11, at St. Michael's School. She tells me Chef Liz at her school is an amazing cook.