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.
‘CITY GIRL’... FROM WESTCHESTERI’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.
LOVE AND WARI 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.
CANNING BY THE BUSHELAfter 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.
VEGGING OUTI 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.
BESTIES BRUNCHINGI 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.
TEA TIMEMy 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.
NIGHTLIGHTLittle 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.