Finding Mitch

by Karen Trygstad, Training Administrative Assistant

The road to reconnecting with Mitch was nothing short of a divine intervention. Explaining to anyone how I know Mitch requires a flow chart, which makes the reunion all that more special.

Rod Carew

My mom with Rod Carew

I am “related” to Rod Carew, the former Minnesota Twins baseball player. Well, sort of. My dad’s sister (my aunt Anna Dee) married Don. Don’s sisters are Marilyn and Lousie. Marilyn married Rod Carew. Louise married Stuart Kloner. Are you still with me?

Stuart’s brother Mitch became a friend of the family. Mitch spent his life living with his father Hy. When I was a little girl my parents and I would call Hy and Mitch to invite them to the deli…probably once every other month, always on a Sunday. We would get back in the car and I distinctly remember my Mom wondering aloud: “What is going to happen to Mitch when Hy is no longer with us?”

Mitch lived with his father until he passed. He then moved to an adult foster care setting before coming to Hammer in 2007. However, when my father passed away twenty-five years ago, my Mom and I lost touch with that side of our extended family. And, since then I have been unaware of what happened with Mitch. Likewise, I had never heard of Hammer Residences.

Karen's parents

Mitch’s dad with my parents

My immediate family has baseball running through its veins. My husband Brian played college baseball and is on the Board of the Plymouth/Wayzata Youth Baseball Association. Both of our sons play baseball as well. All three were VERY impressed to learn that I grew up with Rod! Scott Leius (another former Minnesota Twins player) has been a coach and mentor to our boys.

This past December, the baseball association and Scott hosted a clinic for the individuals that Hammer serves. Mitch happened to attend. He walked in the door, shook Scott’s hand and proudly exclaimed: “I’m related to Rod Carew!” Scott was a bit confused, called me over, and told Mitch that I too was related to Rod.

I looked at Mitch and immediately remembered him. It had been almost forty years since we first met. I told Mitch that he may not remember me; as I had been a little girl when he last saw me. So, I asked if he remembered my dad, Milt. A tear rolled down his face. He vividly remembered my mom and dad, the name of the deli (which I could not even remember), the family dinners, and the house with the big yard where we used to gather. He remembered it all! I immediately ran to the bathroom and took out my phone to call my mom. “You are NEVER going to guess who I ran into today!”

Every Thursday since we have reconnected, Mitch has stopped by Hammer’s main offices, where I have worked for just over a year as a Training Administrative Assistant. We are enjoying sharing photos and stories. He comes each week with a green container full of goodies he has baked and has become a bit of a celebrity on the second floor!

Karen and Mitch

Me and my friend Mitch

We have made a few promises to each other. I have promised to bring my Mom to see him. We have set a date for the three of us to go to Caribou. Mitch has even promised to come watch my boys play baseball this summer.

You know, my Mom shouldn’t have worried about Mitch after all. I have not been at Hammer Residences that long, but I figured out early on that it was and is a quality place to be. I am convinced that we reconnected for a reason. It’s a God thing. I have a hunch this is just the beginning of a lovely friendship!


  1. Angela Bernhardt

    What a fantastic story and beautiful family friendship! Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. Suzanne

    Absolutely stunning story – thank you so much for sharing it! Mitch and Karen are lucky to reconnect – you are both such special people!!

  3. Lisbeth

    Karen that is remarkable. Thanks for taking the time to write that up. So cool!

  4. Kathy Leighton

    Oh my gosh Karen, what a beautiful story, a third of the way through I got holy goosebumps. What an incredible blessing and I believe the reconnection is not by accident. I’m so touched, thank you for sharing!

  5. Amy Jensen

    Karen, what a great, powerful story. Thank you for sharing!


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