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MARILYN HAGERTY: Jelly beans, corn candy in May baskets

Dear Shirley,

This is May Day. Most people don’t even know what May baskets are anymore. But I remember the time when we would use colored construction paper to make baskets. We would line them with green cellophane grass. Then put some jelly beans or corn candy in them and hang them on the doorknobs at homes of our friends.

The recipients were supposed to run out after us and give us a kiss. I never wanted Junior Stevens to catch me.

If you didn’t live so far away in Tucson, I would hang a May basket on your door today!

You probably have noticed the Arizona snowbirds are fluttering back north again. And some of them are just itching to open up their lake places.

Marge Radi has been keeping her eyes open when she and Ivan drive around the Phoenix area. She has seen license plates that say ONDMEND and BAKPCKR.

I know when they get back to town, they will be tending a garden. When May rolls round, thoughts turn to getting rid of the trash and planting gardens.

Next week is Spring Clean Up week in Grand Forks. People often go shopping along the berms to see if they can pick up anything useful from the stuff other people have cast out. It’s kind of an open season on junk.

Dancing into May

But there’s more than junk to May, Shirley. This Friday, a group of Judy Rae Dancers are having a reunion here in Grand Forks. They are doing a free show at 7 p.m. Friday in the Chester Fritz.

This will be a chance to remember the Judy Rae School of Dance that later became the North Dakota School of Performing Arts.

Judy Rae Smith spends her time down in Scottsdale now, and she’s still into dancing. Her daughter, Suzanne Smith, dances with a ladies company in Scottsdale. Her granddaughter, Isabella Deserto, has been dancing with a children’s company in Scottsdale.

Judy Rae is looking forward to seeing her girls as women back on the stage in Grand Forks Friday evening.

She says some people are just born with a love for dancing. She has seen thousands of dancers come through her doors over the years. And she has loved every one of them for their love of the dance.

Sixty Judy Rae alumnae are expected to be on stage here. They range in age from 30 to 60 years old. They have had rehearsals in Minneapolis, Fargo, Phoenix and Grand Forks.

They are all wearing their Judy Rae smiles for the show here.

Love from your sister, Marilyn, in the land of swollen rivers.

P.S. Jen Olson is long gone from Alvarado, Minn., but part of her heart still is there. She lives in Seattle now, and she has established a website dedicated to Alvarado’s history. That is

She is including content from the 2005 centennial book and adding things she can find. She has been hearing from folks who used to come visiting Alvarado and others who she says love the little town so much.

Reach Hagerty at or (701) 772-1055.