Remember, Write, Release

July 3rd, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

The blogging police always recommend a limit of 700, or so, words. A few weeks back I sat down to capture a simple story – intending it to be part-three of a triptych of stories about me, mom and baby sitting – the formative endeavors and experiences of my entrepreneurial youth. I knew I would be hard-pressed to come in anywhere near 700. I never ever come close. But I never expected some 10,000 words!

A simple story that I had long wanted to share proved to be a little richer and more finely layered than I ever imagined. Door upon door opened. Windows were thrown wide with gauzy curtains flapping and gathering dirt and dust. I awoke each morning exhausted from the memories streaming and screaming all night long. Everywhere I turned there was a drawer opening itself in front of me, doink-ing me in the shin and demanding to be sorted through. I spent days in my pajamas, oblivious to the come outside and play summer finally unfolding around me. What is happening here, I implored my sister as she plowed through a first draft of 3,000 words? I am not sure this story will be of interest to anyone. It’s too simple. No one will care. I care, she said, because she is an extraordinary sister. Forget the word count, just tell the story.

mary freshman longwd

I remember 14-year old me.

And so I followed the crumbs. Some 10,000 words later I experienced a fatigue so profound that I could feel my brain shutting down for repairs. And again a reminder from my sisters. This cleanse we are pursuing so diligently this summer is not just the release of physical toxins. It must be a spiritual and emotional cleanse, as well. I am still not sure about the long and leisurely telling of this story.  But it has gotten itself told. As stories are so often prone to do. Fingers crossed that it gets itself read, as well.

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About the author: Mary Duggan is Co-Founder and President of the Duggan Sisters

The Duggan Sisters cracked the code and created a natural deodorant that actually works: lifestinks. And that was just the beginning. We hope you will spend a few minutes exploring duggansisters.com to experience their spirited approach to wellness through their natural products and healing stories.

The Mary Kays: Part Five – Fallen Heroes

June 28th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Thanks to a rented power boat provided by my Uncle Les, I had become quite a skilled and daring water skier during our family summer vacations at Powers Lake, Wisconsin. But snow skiing was something else altogether – more terrifying and definitely requiring a social skill set for navigating the lodge that I did not possess. My mother’s cousin, Donna, lent me the proper clothing and Dick and Mary Kay popped for skis and lift fees and everything else I might need. I had taken preparatory classes at the local park district – so I essentially knew how to slow down on the bunny hill. Other than that I was clueless. But Dick and Mary Kay were good for their word and I never had to lift a finger during our one week ski trip. I was not there as the baby sitter – though I felt more than a twinge of guilt as I watched the ski patrol load a small boy in really bad shape onto a stretcher to carry him off the slope and realized it was Dickie! Read the rest of this entry »

The Mary Kays: Part Four – Bears, Musky and Moose, Oh My!

June 26th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Mary Kay entered my world in the Fall of eighth grade, when she pulled her VW bug into our driveway seeking boys to plant bulbs at her brand new complex of condos. My mother assigned my brothers to this one-time task; while I quickly became a regular fixture in the Carlson household. By the summer after eighth grade I had become so helpful to Mary Kay that she approached my mother with a plan for me to join in on the Carlson extended family vacation in the North Woods of Wisconsin. For those two weeks in late August I was to be essentially an au pair, assisting with anything and everything required for a fun family get-together at their cabin in the Chequamegon National Forest just outside Hayward, Wisconsin. More precisely in a custom-designed A-frame cabin perched on a steep hillside overlooking Moose Lake, a 1700 acre water confluence of the Chippewa, Moose and Little Moose Rivers. Yep, Musky country. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mary Kays: Part Three – Shalimar

June 26th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Did Mary Kay have a clue how much she meant to me? I guess I will never know. Did she sense that things were sad and confusing at home and that her beautiful happy condo provided not only pocket money but a needed break, as well? I suppose it doesn’t matter in the long run. What matters is that when I really needed a break, she provided one. When I really needed someone to notice me and appreciate me, she did. And when she really needed a young assistant, I stepped in to her life.

And so I did her hair, as needed. I baby sat, as needed. I took her kids to the movies because she just could not stand kids movies. I didn’t much like them either; but for Mary Kay I would do whatever task was needed.  And with each encounter I learned more and more. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mary Kays: Part Two – Curl Up and Dye

June 25th, 2014

Just joining us?  Don’t miss The Mary Kays: Part One – The Land of the Midnight Sun

 

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

From the vantage point of age sixty, I look back on the summers Mary Kay figured so prominently in my world and I have to marvel. I have met so many interesting people in those years from 16 to 60. I  have worked at more jobs and careers than I like to admit and been shaped and inspired by too many bosses and co-workers. I have lived all over the U.S and traveled all over the world. But my memories of Mary Kay have never dimmed and her importance in my life has never diminished or been taken over by anyone else. I know now that when you are so young and the world is such a terrifying and exciting unknown a person who has gone before and successfully navigated change and is willing to share and open a window into the future for you is a gift. I treasure my simple memories of Mary Kay and wonder if she had any idea what a Godsend she was for me. Read the rest of this entry »

The Mary Kays: Part One – Land Of The Midnight Sun

June 24th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

Two-name names were popular when I was a kid growing up in the 60s. My mom named me Mary Catherine for all the usual reasons: Mary, she explained, I hope your life will be inspired by St. Catherine of Sienna, the great Saint, who was a Doctor of the Church and a leader of men and a great writer. Really, she said that to me and I was like maybe eight years old. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it; though decades later I found a book about St. Catherine of Sienna in a hotel in Assisi and I did find it so interesting that when I was leaving and hadn’t finished it yet I took it and put it in my purse. Which my sister and traveling companion, Annie, reminded me was stealing though it didn’t feel like it at the time; maybe because I was trying to learn about the path to sainthood, after all. Read the rest of this entry »

Boot Camp: Cause We Want Our Health Back

June 6th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

BOOT ‘EM TO THE CURB CAMP is our top priority this summer. How about  you? Would you like to join in? Have you considered the possibility that parasites might be the cause of your appetite and bloating? Are you consistently feeding more than just you? Do you have an actual diagnosis of an auto-immune disorder that is leaving you feeling exhausted, in pain, infertile and afraid of a dismal future? Is Candida Albicans rearing its ugly head – AGAIN!? Didn’t we all clear that years ago? Is inflammatory “itis” of any and every variety (colitis, bursitis, tendonitis, arthritis, etc.) leaving you feeling old and more and more limited in what you have the energy to do? Welcome to the club and join in on the fun. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s Not Just Business; And I Do Take It Personally.

May 16th, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

My reaction was so swift and painful that it surprised even me – the queen of overreacting. The one with the damaged brain that registers hurt quickly and deeply, despite every effort to get a grip – please.

We’d been thrilled for weeks about being featured in Crain’s Chicago Business, the famed Chicago business publication. We thought we’d done pretty well with the interview. We were all over the topic: Sibling Entrepreneurs. We’d taken the time to discuss our shared experiences before our date with the reporter; and when we did our standard post-mortem, we were okay-ish with the way in which we’d represented ourselves, our family and our business. There’s always this or that you wish you’d expressed differently.

It’s never easy being interviewed. The reporter has an editorial directive – an intent for their piece – and it can be frustrating to try to get your true story out there in the face of the journalist’s assignment. Plus we’re wildly inexperienced, having had very few opportunities to speak to the press during our six-year business history. Coupled with not having a publicist, it can be kind of scary. But generally the decency and enthusiasm and professionalism of the reporter makes the fears go away – and that was most certainly the case with Monica Ginsburg from Crain’s Chicago Business. Read the rest of this entry »

Reality TV came calling and we said …

May 14th, 2014

by Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

I think shut and up are the two ugliest words in the language – any language – when they are used together. Afforded an opportunity to speak up, I perk up, or so I thought. That is until recent developments found me standing shell-shocked in the middle of some sort of open-talk-portal. Requests to speak began to present themselves so quickly that I found myself scrambling to determine what exactly it is I have to share. Radio, TV, print media – even, God forbid, reality TV have all come a calling. It has all been a bit much. A blessing and if not a curse, then at least a curiosity. Read the rest of this entry »

I’m A Babysitter, Not An Exorcist!

May 13th, 2014

By Mary Duggan

Mary Duggan

My Mom had a genius for friendship. She gathered her life long friends, from her childhood summers on a farm in Missouri to her pinnacle life experience as a day hopper at Rosary College. She kept them close, never seemed to lose one to quarrel or misunderstanding, and presented each of them to us as a unique exemplar of womanhood. She admired their height, their sense of style, their choice of spouse, their brilliant careers and of course, their children. Her friends were second string aunties for us and their children more like cousins. She filled our lives with her wonderful friends and expanded our sense of ourselves and our definition of family in doing so. She even loved the friends of her friends – and that is where this story originated.

When friends of our “Aunt” Catherine got a job transfer that predicated a move into our neighborhood, Mom welcomed them warmly, doing everything in her power to ease their adjustment. She assured them that they would be deliriously happy on Seeley Avenue, one of the oldest, loveliest, friendliest, and most historic streets in all of Beverly.  And when their Beverly experience proved to be something other than what everyone had predicted, she was there for them then, as well. Meaning she had a new assignment for me as her go-to girl for Moms needing assistance – in this case a babysitter with that extra something. Read the rest of this entry »