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MARILYN HAGERTY: Lift station dedication began with jest

Dear Annie, This is Tuesday--the day I write letters. I have been thinking of you starting your third year at Baylor University. You're way down in Waco, Texas. That's a long haul from your home in Bismarck. There was a time when my eight grandch...

 

Dear Annie,

This is Tuesday-the day I write letters. I have been thinking of you starting your third year at Baylor University. You're way down in Waco, Texas. That's a long haul from your home in Bismarck.

There was a time when my eight grandchildren were all little kids. Now you are branching out in this world. Curtis is at Denver University. Carrie has gone to Jerusalem for a year with a study group.

You were just a little girl in kindergarten when your mom brought you up to Grand Forks. It was for the dedication of my lift station on Belmont Road.

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I am sure you couldn't figure out what was going on then. I am not sure I could either. But it was my idea, and it grew out of idle afternoon talks with Mike McNamara who used to be on radio KCNN here.

Well, I had always felt the lift station down on the corner of 15th Avenue South and Belmont Road was important-in an humble sort of way. I wondered if maybe that little building that kept everything flowing away should bear my name.

I was kidding, of course. But one thing led to another and before an anonymous friend sneaked over there late at night and put my name on the station.

That's all it took.

Fifteen years ago, we had a celebration of sorts at 15th and Belmont. Would you believe the mayor and I entered on motorcycles driven by the best and the brightest of bikers? Robert Brooks showed up with some of the UND pep band. There were Sioux cheerleaders. And Maria Williams opened the event with the singing of "Let Us Gather at the River."

Oh, it was wild. Crazy.

And you were there, Annie. You were 6 and in kindergarten. On the way home to Bismarck you were quiet. You didn't understand the humor, and you asked your mother if you would not be allowed to someday attend my funeral.

That's because I thanked my friends who were there and told them they wouldn't need to attend my funeral. They already had paid their respects. I guess I thought that was funny, but you took it seriously.

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Well, time marches on.

The students have been filing back to the campus of UND. There's a huge new medical school opening up at the University.

I think of you often. I remember when you always ate macaroni and cheese when you came to Grand Forks in the summertime to attend SPA, the Summer Performing Arts program.

Keep your eye on your goal and you someday will become a doctor.

Love from Grandma Marilyn.

P.S. I suppose you still will eat macaroni and cheese when you get a white jacket with an M.D. on it.

P.P.S. Someone must have thought the lift station naming was funny. They then named one at the corner of 32nd and Cherry Street after the nationally famous columnist Dave Barry when they invited him to eat hotdish here.

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