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The Wright stuff

Between great-grandkid tea parties, her stock-tank kitchen garden and lunch with girlfriends, Marion Wright is ‘trying to feel old’ at 98

| 07 Mar 2022 | 11:01

Though she’s not fetching hay or plucking chickens anymore, Marion Wright is still plenty busy. She gardens, knits, and every day a revolving door of progeny drop in to visit – mid-interview, two great-grandkids rounded the corner of her living room, popping in to say hi to Gran before heading off on a hike.

“They come over to help me all the time. They’re awful good kids,” she said. “I’m lucky.”

A month after her 98th birthday, Dirt visited Wright at home in Warwick, N.Y for a Saturday morning chat.

I’m sort of a city girl. I was brought up in Westchester. I moved up to Pompton Lakes, and I worked in a defense plant there. I made detonators for the Navy. And my husband’s sisters all worked there, they brought me up to meet their brother, and it just happened.

I got married in ‘44. We made sandwiches, someone bought a birthday cake and a keg of beer, and after we got married, we went down to the lake and had our wedding reception. The boys all played baseball. It was a fun wedding. It probably didn’t cost us $30 – which then was a lot of money.

After we got married is when my mother-in-law bought the farm. I helped get hay, and do all of that, which was new to me. We did a lot of canning. It was a lot of work, but fun. My husband would bring in bushel baskets of green beans and corn, and all day we would be canning.

Now it’s a hobby. Right up until last year, I did my own canning. I did pickles, tomato sauce, and apple sauce. But now, I have arthritis so bad... I can’t do it anymore.

I do garden. I had a hip replacement when I was 90 – and I had a big garden – and the doctor said no more bending over. So [my son] John put up a stock tank and filled it with dirt. Last year I had peas, tomatoes, and eggplant, all in that little space.

I plant peas the seventeenth of March. I don’t know if it’s an old Irish thing or what, but my husband always planted them on the seventeenth. One year I couldn’t do it because the ground was still frozen.

I have my friends calling me all the time. Some of them come to the door and visit. Before the pandemic, once a month we’d have a luncheon. I’m looking forward to the time when my girls can come over and we can eat outside. They all bring something, and we exchange little gifts.

My great-grandchildren, we have tea parties. I have a great rapport with the kids. I’m lucky, I really am lucky. In the summertime, we play cards. This is a crazy game: it’s called pig. There’s four cards in every suit – and you pass them around, and when you get four of a kind, you hold your nose. We have more fun playing that than anything.

Little Brynley, she’s three-and-a-half, and she makes sure I have my cane, and she turns my bed light on every night for me.