Musings on Marilyn Hagerty

Marilyn Hagerty is a national treasure. She has been writing articles for the Grand Forks Herald since 1957, when her husband Jack Hagerty was named editor of the paper. In high school she learned the newspaper trade at the Capital Journal, which served the residents of Pierre, South Dakota. After 6 decades of writing wonderfully mundane (mundane in the non-pejorative, delightful sense) articles chronicling the various happenings and places to eat of Grand Forks, she became a flash celebrity. Inexplicably, her straightforward review of the first Olive Garden to open in Grand Forks went viral. As she wrote, “Some people go viral; others get bacterial.”

Marilyn Hagerty

The review was economical and fair. She really enjoyed the Olive Garden experience. It captured the excitement of a new restaurant coming to town, just as hundreds of her articles had done before. However, this time her review became the subject of a vicious cycle pitting a vast spectrum of groups against their perceived enemies. First there was ugly snark, then there was backlash to the snark, eventually culminating in an explosive, asinine digital food fight. The large city urbanites vs. the small towners, people who dined vs. people who ate, the coasts vs. the heartland, soccer fans vs (American) football fans, hipsters vs. other hipsters. It was ludicrously petty, but on the bright side it provided me my first introduction to the work of Marilyn Hagerty.

People crown journalists like Woodward and Bernstein. They were renowned news detectives who exposed the powerful and the mighty. They caught the bureaucrats, captains of industry, and trigger men working in the shadows. They stopped these people from completing a variety of nefarious schemes. These are the kinds of people that books are written about. These are the stories that make their way into the News-papers that slip under other powerful people’s doors (who are probably also scheming) from New York City to Singapore. But there should also be a special place to celebrate and read Marilyn Hagerty’s work. It should definitely be required reading in every high school in the country. Her deep love for her home of Grand Forks seeps into every syllable. There should be more than enough room for Woodward, Bernstein, and Hagerty.

From my extremely passive consumption of food shows on various streaming services and from the wise words of my mother, I have gleaned that cooking with love from the heart is pretty much the only thing that matters for creating delicious food. This concept was captured by Rod Tidwell yelling at Jerry Maguire, “No heart? No Heart?? I’m all heart motherf***** (for further musings on Jerry Maguire, look out for my upcoming piece, “Musings on Jerry Maguire.”).” In this respect, Marilyn Hagerty writes with so much love, and with so much heart that it overwhelms you. Then it comforts you. Then it overwhelms you all over again as you realize there are thousands of her articles in the digital archive (Note: this only includes her articles since 2012. It might be time to take a trip to the microfiche room of the Grand Forks Public Library. Who knows what epiphany awaits). It has made me realize that the vast majority of things I read are soulless, barren wastelands of garbage. There is a phrase that goes, “Pressure makes diamonds.” This is factually correct. However, there is another phrase, which I just made up, or perhaps exists and am not aware of that goes, “Streams make canyons.” This is also factually correct. But it has the advantage of being far more romantic.

Marilyn Hagerty does not romanticize or artificially suggest that Grand Forks is exceptional. She writes about what happens and where people eat. Some things have repeated through the years and some things are brand new. She thinks both are wonderful. People come and people go, but mostly they stay in place. And she thinks that is great too.

Note: Below is a small subset of her headlines since 2012. Even just reading the headlines paints an indelible picture her life and work documenting Grand Forks. I recommend reading it like poetry. I think my favorite is, “People who embrace winter wear bright smiles.” Then again, “Anthony Bourdain ‘tall and handsome and pleasant'” is wonderful. And of course the image of Marilyn dining with the students of UND in “Eatbeat: Food choices are vast at UND’s Wilkerson Dining Center” is utterly delightful. Marilyn Hagerty is currently 93, and writes three to four articles a week. I’ll have what she’s having.

THE EATBEAT: Long-awaited Olive Garden receives warm welcome
Mar 7th 2012 – 6pm

Peter O’Toole, St. Paul, letter: To Marilyn: Keep up the good work
Mar 10th 2012 – 1am

Carrie Sandstrom, Bismarck, letter: Thanks, Grandma! Notes of Marilyn’s biggest fan
Mar 12th 2012 – 4am

Messages are good, bad and ugly when you go viral
Mar 24th 2012 – 8pm

Some people go viral; others get bacterial
Apr 19th 2012 – 6am

THE EATBEAT: Canad Inn’s ‘l Bistro offers nice Mediterranean experience
May 1st 2012 – 8pm

Summer rolls into Grand Forks
Jun 20th 2012 – 9pm

Seattle calls with cool breeze, Space Needle, Starbucks
Jul 11th 2012 – 6pm

You can’t go around town shooting crows
Jul 12th 2012 – 6pm

A week of culinary treats
Aug 1st 2012 – 6pm

Newbie’s guide to Grand Forks
Aug 26th 2012 – 6am

Some snowbirds head north for winter
Oct 4th 2012 – 6am

Beards, mustaches show up as November closes in
Nov 8th 2012 – 6am

Resilient New Yorkers await Thanksgiving parade
Nov 18th 2012 – 12am

Check out health department sanitation ratings
Dec 25th 2012 – 7pm

Cheerleaders spend hours in practice, fitness
Mar 3rd 2013 – 12am

THE EATBEAT: The Olive Garden, one year later
Mar 6th 2013 – 2am

Flags, new Masonic Temple marked 1913
May 28th 2013 – 6am

THE EATBEAT: You know what you’re getting at Perkins
May 29th 2013 – 12am

Birthday wishes and memories
May 30th 2013 – 12am

THE EATBEAT: ‘Eat, drink and be merry’ at St. Thomas Cafe
Jun 5th 2013 – 12am

THE EATBEAT: Extensive selection at Wild Bill’s Sports Saloon
Jun 12th 2013 – 12am

Fly Old Glory in the light
Jun 13th 2013 – 5am

It takes a village for a ton of chili
Jun 14th 2013 – 11am

THE EATBEAT: Salad bar a highlight at Ruby Tuesday
Jun 26th 2013 – 5am

Nineteen cents bought a cheeseburger in ’63
Jul 9th 2013 – 5am

THE EATBEAT: From Subway to HANA Japan, Columbia Mall offers varied choices
Jul 10th 2013 – 12am

Grand Forks pioneer, UND booster Budge died in ’38
Jul 15th 2013 – 11pm

THE EATBEAT: Drunken Noodle offers authentic fare
Jul 17th 2013 – 12am

Pizza tastes great after 27-mile swim
Jul 18th 2013 – 12am

In 1913, hundreds flocked to latest craze: Cars
Jul 23rd 2013 – 4am

THE EATBEAT: Hatton, N.D., cafe offers quick food in clean atmosphere
Jul 24th 2013 – 3am

A spot by the side of the road
Jul 25th 2013 – 3am

THE EATBEAT: Crookston’s El Metate touts tasty, large portions with pleasant surroundings
Aug 6th 2013 – 10pm

THE EATBEAT: Crookston’s Co’fe is well-run, clean, inviting
Aug 13th 2013 – 11pm

75 years ago, grasshoppers were talk of town
Aug 20th 2013 – 6am

THE EATBEAT: Grazing is an adventure in the Bemidji area
Aug 21st 2013 – 5am

Dozens of Shirleys will gather today
Aug 22nd 2013 – 5am

Goddess of Justice joins in welcome to Grand Forks
Aug 25th 2013 – 4am

The naked truth: Red River skinny-dipping, 1913
Aug 27th 2013 – 4am

THE EATBEAT: Aneta Cafe: ‘For people who appreciate good food’
Aug 28th 2013 – 12am

Have you ever heard of the Shirley polka?
Aug 28th 2013 – 11pm

Le Cirque serves up unforgettable haricot verts as well as dessert
Sep 1st 2013 – 12am

THE EATBEAT: No short cuts in Stump Lake Cafe dishes
Sep 4th 2013 – 3am

A touch of Camelot in Grand Forks, 50 years ago
Sep 10th 2013 – 4am

THE EATBEAT: Challenge at Altru: Making healthful food taste good
Sep 10th 2013 – 11pm

Tucson to Grand Forks by train
Sep 11th 2013 – 11pm

New book stirs old memories of Grand Forks eating places
Sep 14th 2013 – 11pm

Grand Forks hosted N.D. Golden Grain Festival in ’38
Sep 17th 2013 – 6am

THE EATBEAT: Choices at Red Lobster are endless
Sep 18th 2013 – 12am

Pests calm down with cool weather
Sep 18th 2013 – 11pm

Class of ’63 recalls St. James High School days
Sep 19th 2013 – 11pm

Hello cars and goodbye horses: Grand Forks in 1913
Sep 24th 2013 – 3am

Expect great food, generosity from UND tailgaters
Sep 26th 2013 – 11pm

Dean of wood workers celebrates 100th
Sep 29th 2013 – 12am

Grand Fork’s Columbia Mall turned 10 in 1988
Oct 1st 2013 – 2am

THE EATBEAT: Zest offers more than the old luncheon fare
Oct 1st 2013 – 11pm

Beer, bacon and the Hog-erty Award
Oct 2nd 2013 – 11pm

Marching toward Division 1
Oct 6th 2013 – 12am

1963: N.D. GOP decries JFK’s ‘glittered-up’ socialism
Oct 8th 2013 – 5am

Time to pile leaves on the berm
Oct 9th 2013 – 10pm

THE EATBEAT: Old Main in Devils Lake a full-service, traditional restaurant
Oct 15th 2013 – 11pm

Inspiring seniors to get fit
Oct 17th 2013 – 11pm

Red River High actors play tragedy of Anne Frank
Oct 19th 2013 – 10pm

THAT REMINDS ME: Devils Lake retreats, 100 years ago
Oct 22nd 2013 – 5am

Oct 22nd 2013 – 11pm

Tabor holds showdown for casserole cooks Friday
Oct 23rd 2013 – 11pm

Eight glasses of water no easy task
Oct 25th 2013 – 5am

THAT REMINDS ME: Grand Forks bridge honors ‘ardent advocate’ of good roads
Oct 29th 2013 – 5am

Grand Forks is full of wonder
Oct 30th 2013 – 8pm

THAT REMINDS ME: Old Red River bridge was meant to last ‘for all time’
Nov 4th 2013 – 10pm

Jane Kurtz spreads love of reading
Nov 6th 2013 – 11pm

Losing games doesn’t sit well with Garrison Goodman
Nov 7th 2013 – 10pm

When ferries, not bridges, linked Grand Forks and East Grand Forks
Nov 12th 2013 – 5am

Dealing with TV, thinking of an old friend
Nov 13th 2013 – 11pm

Lots to do while staying the winter
Nov 14th 2013 – 11pm

Opera arias coming to UND campus
Nov 17th 2013 – 12am

By ferry and pontoon across the Red River
Nov 18th 2013 – 10pm

CBS tells Grand Forks story Sunday
Nov 20th 2013 – 10pm

Art of listening has fallen by wayside
Nov 24th 2013 – 12am

THAT REMINDS ME: Taxed Enough Already? Not in 1913
Nov 26th 2013 – 5am

Thankful etiquette
Nov 28th 2013 – 6am

Walk gingerly on ice with toes curled under
Nov 28th 2013 – 11pm

There’s nothing like having 8 choices
Dec 1st 2013 – 4am

THAT REMINDS ME: ‘Can’t fish. Gone shopping,’ said anglers in 1988
Dec 3rd 2013 – 7am

THE EATBEAT: Good-quality shrimp scampi and more at Mamma Maria’s
Dec 3rd 2013 – 11pm

December delivers big blast
Dec 4th 2013 – 10pm

Christmas songs welcome beautiful season
Dec 5th 2013 – 11pm

Sending Christmas cards is a beloved ritual
Dec 8th 2013 – 12am

THAT REMINDS ME: 1963: Downtown lights heralded Christmas season
Dec 9th 2013 – 11pm

Regional reads for cold spells
Dec 11th 2013 – 10pm

Weekend is all about traditions of Christmas
Dec 13th 2013 – 8am

People who embrace winter wear bright smiles
Dec 15th 2013 – 2am

In 1938, Santa came to Grand Forks and stayed
Dec 16th 2013 – 11pm

THE EATBEAT: Amazing Grains deli offers homemade, healthful choices
Dec 18th 2013 – 6am

Commencement in the air
Dec 19th 2013 – 11pm

A wish list for Santa
Dec 21st 2013 – 10pm

Christmas Eve brings back memories of years past
Dec 24th 2013 – 7am

THE EATBEAT: Toasted Frog is busy, bustling and trendy
Dec 24th 2013 – 7pm

Shoppers fix where Santa went wrong… the dying strains of “Silent Night”
Dec 25th 2013 – 10pm

Cross-country skiing begins with small leap of faith
Dec 29th 2013 – 3am

Sailing serenely into 2014
Jan 1st 2014 – 10pm

Mother Nature takes dim view of January
Jan 5th 2014 – 4am

THAT REMINDS ME: 25 years ago: A blizzard for the books
Jan 7th 2014 – 6am

January wonders include freezing eggs on sidewalks
Jan 8th 2014 – 10pm

Blizzards teach age-old precaution
Jan 9th 2014 – 10pm

Making room for the future
Jan 12th 2014 – 7am

Turning point for cigarettes came 50 years ago
Jan 14th 2014 – 1am

THE EATBEAT: Ground Round offers big burgers, healthful choices
Jan 14th 2014 – 10pm

Back and bundled up on campus
Jan 16th 2014 – 10pm

Long-distance commuters enjoy wide open places
Jan 19th 2014 – 12am

From Norway to the North Dakota statehouse
Jan 21st 2014 – 12am

THE EATBEAT: Regulars have their favorites at Eagles Crest Grill
Jan 21st 2014 – 11pm

THE EATBEAT: It’s easy to go light or go full at Ruby Tuesday
Feb 26th 2014 – 9am

THE EATBEAT: You know what you’ll get at the Olive Garden — quality food, excellent service
Apr 23rd 2014 – 6am

Calling all Shirleys
Aug 7th 2014 – 5am

THE EATBEAT: ‘l Bistro offers adventures in eating
Oct 1st 2014 – 12am

Dakota comes to North Dakota
Mar 28th 2015 – 1pm

THE EATBEAT: All are welcome at Northlands Rescue Mission
Aug 26th 2015 – 6am

THE EATBEAT: Tips for eating well while dining out
Dec 30th 2015 – 6am

Reminiscing over pork chops in Devils Lake
May 2nd 2016 – 5pm

Elaine’s creamy cabbage and ham just like Mom’s
Jun 20th 2016 – 9pm

Catfish, reunions and special days
Jul 29th 2016 – 7pm

Buffalo Wild Wings a hot spot for students, sports fans
Sep 6th 2016 – 10am

Turkey tidbits get top billing at Discovery School
Sep 27th 2016 – 4pm

Olive Garden dishes just as tasty as leftovers
Jan 4th 2017 – 1pm

Eatbeat: Branch out with shrimp scampi
Jan 23rd 2018 – 12pm

The Eatbeat: Around the world and now to Mondays
Feb 5th 2018 – 7am

Eatbeat: Caribou a good spot for longtime breakfast partners
Mar 19th 2018 – 6am

Anthony Bourdain ‘tall and handsome and pleasant’
Jun 11th 2018 – 1pm

Eatbeat: All that’s missing is more olives
Jun 18th 2018 – 10am

Eatbeat: The coffee klatch heads to the Olive Garden
Nov 30th 2018 – 1pm

Eatbeat: Locals have their favorites at Olive Garden
Apr 26th 2019 – 11am

Green grass, grandparents and gratitude
May 17th 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: A slice of heaven off exit 307
May 18th 2019 – 7am

‘Marilyn the Peregrine’ makes her way to Winnipeg
May 21st 2019 – 6am

Paying respects for those we’ve lost this Memorial Day weekend
May 24th 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: Wired Bean, a popular spot for lunch, coffee in Thief River Falls
May 25th 2019 – 7am

Graduations and peonies: All well in Grand Forks
May 28th 2019 – 6am

Time for graduations, class reunions
May 31st 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: Have it spicy, mild at Casa Mexico
Jun 1st 2019 – 7am

Treasuring the teachers who put students on the path for success
Jun 4th 2019 – 7am

School Board team makes salary counteroffer in teacher contract negotiations
Jun 4th 2019 – 3pm

The days of June have arrived
Jun 7th 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: Aaltos, a great spot for Sunday brunch
Jun 8th 2019 – 7am

Have no fear, the peonies are here
Jun 11th 2019 – 6am

Honoring the Flag Day and dads this weekend
Jun 14th 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: Memories, a local gathering spot for Red Lake Falls natives
Jun 15th 2019 – 6am

Navigating the road with driver’s ed students
Jun 18th 2019 – 6am

Bikers peddle around Bemidji’s lake
Jun 21st 2019 – 12am

Eat Beat: Bemidji offers variety of food options for visitors
Jun 22nd 2019 – 7am

Letter promotes community the old-fashioned way
Jun 25th 2019 – 12am

Grand Forks home shows off American pride for Fourth of July
Jun 28th 2019 – 7am

Eat Beat: Worth the drive to Grafton for Frost Fox Restaurant
Jun 29th 2019 – 6am

Flags are flying for the Fourth of July
Jul 2nd 2019 – 6am

Big show is over; now, summer sets in
Jul 5th 2019 – 6am

Eat Beat: July 15 proclaimed unofficial Grand Forks Cookie Day
Jul 6th 2019 – 6am

Enjoying the best days of summer
Jul 9th 2019 – 6am

City Band Concert sets seen for best of summer
Jul 12th 2019 – 12am

Eat Beat: Have lunch with a view at the UND Wings Café
Jul 13th 2019 – 6am

Getting out and about is a joy in the summer
Jul 16th 2019 – 6am

Residents, carrying cookies, fill shelter
Jul 19th 2019 – 12am

Eat Beat: Head to Forest River’s Tom’s Lounge for a friendly, homey experience
Jul 20th 2019 – 6am

Reunions brighten summer days
Jul 23rd 2019 – 12am

Class reunions bring back memories for locals
Jul 26th 2019 – 7am

Christy’s Lakeview Catering worth the drive to Lake Tobiason
Jul 27th 2019 – 6am

Couple honors 75 years of marriage
Jul 30th 2019 – 12am

East Grand Forks resident raises nearly $50,000 in less than a month
Aug 1st 2019 – 11am

Summer days are fasting and fleeting
Aug 2nd 2019 – 6am

Eatbeat: Blizzards are a welcome treat in early August
Aug 3rd 2019 – 6am

Events to fill every inch of summer
Aug 6th 2019 – 12am

Heritage Days begins Thursday at East Grand Forks Heritage Village
Aug 7th 2019 – 12am

Soaking up summer with Heritage Days, Battle of the Forks cooking contest
Aug 9th 2019 – 12am

PS Industries look to continued growth and expansion
Aug 9th 2019 – 4pm

Eat Beat: Fisher residents find tasty bites at summer market
Aug 10th 2019 – 12am

Journalists embrace changing industry
Aug 13th 2019 – 12am

Class reunions celebrate school years
Aug 16th 2019 – 9am

Paradiso offers inviting selections
Aug 17th 2019 – 6am

Enjoying the music of Tom Brosseau
Aug 20th 2019 – 6am

Even as students arrive, summer is still here
Aug 23rd 2019 – 5am

Eat Beat: What do you order at the Blue Moose?
Aug 24th 2019 – 8am

The lessons they don’t teach kids in college
Aug 25th 2019 – 9am

Happy 114th birthday, Iris
Aug 26th 2019 – 7am

The most exciting time of year
Aug 27th 2019 – 5am

Fall starts to set in with start of UND football, Labor Day weekend
Aug 30th 2019 – 6am

Eatbeat: Food choices are vast at UND’s Wilkerson Dining Center
Aug 31st 2019 – 7am

Clinging to last days of summer
Sep 3rd 2019 – 7am

Philip the Fly to soar in Grand Forks
Sep 6th 2019 – 9am

Eatbeat: For a homey meal drive to Hillsboro’s cafe
Sep 7th 2019 – 7am

Potato Bowl and harvest bring fall to Grand Forks
Sep 10th 2019 – 6am

No time for superstitions this Potato Bowl eve
Sep 13th 2019 – 6am

EatBeat: Potato possibilities are endless
Sep 14th 2019 – 6am

Learning about how diabetes treatment has changed over time
Sep 17th 2019 – 7am

UND games keep life interesting
Sep 18th 2019 – 12am

Preparing for the first days of autumn
Sep 20th 2019 – 6am

Eatbeat: Little Bangkok offers an adventure in Thai cuisine
Sep 21st 2019 – 7am

How much water did you get in your basement?
Sep 24th 2019 – 6am

Fraternities, sororities recruit anew at UND
Sep 27th 2019 – 6am

Eatbeat: Perkins goes beyond omelets and bacon
Sep 28th 2019 – 12am

Helping others after the big rains
Oct 1st 2019 – 6am

Celebrating homecoming this weekend at UND
Oct 4th 2019 – 6am

A link to her articles.

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