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MARILYN HAGERTY: Surely, Shirleys will prevail at luncheon today

Dear Shirley,

The time has come. The day is here. I’m looking for a bunch of Shirleys to show up for lunch at noon today at Whitey’s.

There will be a special table for Marilyns. And another for best friends of Shirleys. I can hardly wait. Wish you could be here, but I know you don’t travel anymore. We will bring greetings from you.

Remember that time years ago when you came for lunch at the Westward Ho? And Howard the Egg Man was here too!

Well, it’s been a long time since I heard of a baby named Shirley. But it was the fourth most popular name in the 1930s. And I had forgotten that the name Shirley was also used for boys. This week I heard of Shirley Sand, who lives at Parkwood here in Grand Forks. It would be fun if he could join us today.

I love it when Marilyns who show up. There were something like 50 Shirleys last year, plus a dozen Marilyns. This year I have name tags for all the Shirleys. They all say Shirley. This is a Dutch treat situation so I won’t be stuck washing dishes.

Maybe I will just move on from lunch to the Sons of Norway lodge. G.P. Larson, the president, tells me they are holding their annual corn feed at 5:30 p.m. today.

I love this time of year, Shirley, when people hold reunions and long-lost people come back to town. Mary Healy called when she was here from Sarasota, Fla., for the 40th reunion of her Red River High School Class. She says her parents, Don and Helen Healy, are still in Sarasota.

Time marches on and I had a chance to join in the celebration of 70 years of marriage for Bill and Maria Mullally.

He’s a retired Grand Forks dentist and they are longtime residents here. They met during World War II in London. He was there with the U.S. troops, and she was a refugee from Belgium. Theirs is an amazing story.

Until next week, I send my love from the west bank of the Red River of the North. Your sister, Marilyn, who is getting a little chubby from eating too many Mr. Goodbars.

P.S. Some nice person in the car ahead of me at Starbucks on Sunday paid for my latte. I just said gee thanks. Do you think I should have paid for the car behind me? It happened also at McDonald’s recently. I felt I should pay it back, but I looked at a car full of kids. I just said thanks and drove away. Do you think I’m a cheapskate, Shirley?

Reach Marilyn Hagerty at or by telephone at (701) 772-1055.