Living and Learning Grand: Marcia Wright

Education and discovery have been cornerstones in Marcia Wright’s life.

The daughter of a Kansas State University Dean of Agriculture, she spent her youth in Manhattan, KS, riding her bike and playing card games and Monopoly. She also read books. Lots and lots of books. She loved the escape that books provided, so it’s perhaps no surprise that she wound up pursuing a career in library science. After graduating college, Marcia moved to Hayes, KS, to teach and organize the library. 

“I’ve always loved books,” said Marcia, who still reads about two books a week.

“I usually keep one book that I can learn something from, whether it’s from the Smithsonian or wherever. I’m interested in a lot of things. In particular, archaeology and some of the things they’re finding now in South America about what the Inca really were like and how they expanded north. Then, I keep another book just for fun.”

It was her husband’s brain, in part, that Marcia found appealing. They met on a blind date as part of a sorority/fraternity event when both were students at KSU. She liked that he was tall, which meant that Marcia, who is 5 foot 8, could wear heels. But she also liked that he was educated. 

“He could talk on a number of subjects,” she said. “I could ask him questions about something and he was up on it.” 

The couple passed their love of learning on to their four children. Their oldest has a doctorate in biology, the second has a doctorate of law and a master’s in anthropology, the third has a master’s and has taught high school Latin for more than 30 years, and the fourth has a doctorate in theology and is an Episcopal priest. 

A view to the outside

Marcia has always been close with her family, though few of them are nearby geographically. Marcia now lives in Fort Worth, TX, and her children and grandchildren have spread out across the country. Visits are infrequent enough during the pandemic that when family members visited Fort Worth en masse earlier this year they celebrated two years of birthdays. 

Receiving a GrandPad for Christmas last year transformed the way Marcia connects with her family.

She never learned to use a computer, but the GrandPad allows family members to share photos that help Marcia keep up with their lives. She talks to her children about once a week and uses photos to track the activities of her six grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. While Marcia loves to see what the youngsters are up to, their energy level makes her glad her days of caring for babies are well behind her. 

Marcia prefers video calls with her GrandPad to traditional phone conversations because she can see her loved ones’ faces.

“We can’t see each other in person because they live a long way away and we have this nasty bug, but at least I can see what my grands and great-grands look like,” Marcia said. “I can see them toddle around.” 

Beyond helping her stay connected, the GrandPad has been a blessing for helping Marcia pass the time. She plays bridge three times a week with different groups in her retirement community, and prior to the pandemic she liked to visit the library and go out for lunch. When those were no longer an option, however, Marcia found herself finishing two books of crossword puzzles a week in addition to her reading. With her GrandPad, she has access to games and other entertainment to keep her occupied.

“It’s so great, because it doesn’t take a computer, it doesn’t take internet, and it’s so accessible,” Marcia said. “I feel like I’m more attached to the outside world and my family with the GrandPad.”