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Personal Recollections of (Bill) Raymond Lawrence Wright

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Date: [unknown] [unknown]
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Surname/tag: Wright
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Written by Caitlin McCann on January 5th, 2021

Persons Mentioned:

My mother, Janet Maureen Cargill McCann, met Bill Wright and his wife, Mary, around 1978 when her family moved to Fall River, Massachusetts. She spent a lot of time with them and came to consider the couple a part of her family.

Bill’s full name was Raymond Lawrence Wright but, as far as I know, he always went by the name “Bill”. He worked as a long-distance trucker for decades. He apparently knew Mary when she was young, around 9 years old, as he went door to door as a milk delivery boy in their hometown at the age of 17.

The Cargill family moved down to Florida where Janet finished high school but she kept in contact with Mary and Bill. They would pack up their RV and travel with my mother all over the United States. Janet has hundreds of Polaroids of mountains, waterfalls, forests, and canyons with the married couple.

I’m unsure of the circumstances but eventually Mary and Bill moved down to Florida. They lived in an RV Park in Largo called “Rainbow Village” on 66th Street. They had two plots of land for most of their time there, one for their RV and one for a small home that they lived in. They were already living there by the time that I was born in 1995 and so the Wrights were always a part of the family even since I was a little kid.

I would often spend time with the Wrights as I was growing up either as a day trip so I had a babysitter or for entire weekends. I have a lot of great memories with Mary and Isabel from that time. Bill was almost always gone when I was over. He drove an eighteen-wheeler and would make cross country trips quite frequently. Mary also drove huge trucks of goods all over America but when Isabel lost her mobility, her daughter stayed at home more and more to take care of her.

As Bill got older and his mind started to fade, he spent less time on the road and more and more time at home. So the issues in their marriage really started to come to a head. Mary would yell and throw things at him. I had seen them get into some really awful fights and I have heard from my mother that sometimes those fights became physical when Mary attacked Bill with either her hands or some kind of household object. I can’t personally confirm this but I do believe it.

There were also rumors that both Mary and Bill had cheated on each other but I’m not sure about that either.

Bill never talked about his past in front of me, but from what I understand, he had a great number of kids with his first wife. Then through whatever circumstances had him seeing Mary, there was a huge fallout between him and his children.

After Mary’s death in 2017, Bill’s mental health severely declined. He started showing signs of dementia. Unfortunately, due to the rift in the family, Bill’s health really suffered. My mom became a guardian of sorts to him until the law prevented her from doing so. She wasn’t blood-related and therefore couldn’t make medical decisions for him. I remember that we were able to get into contact with one of his children and a friend who lived up in Massachusetts and it was arranged for Bill to move back up North. I was out of the country by that point so I don’t know all the details but he was quickly placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, a cluster broke out in his nursing home and Bill was infected. He passed away mid-December of 2020. I’m uncertain of the exact day because my mom informed me after she was told of his death by Bill’s friend, but I believe he passed on the 13th. The whole situation is terribly sad in my opinion. Bill died alone in quarantine, most likely unable to remember where he was or why he was there. I can’t imagine what it must have been like and my heart aches for him even now.

Here are some of the memories I have of and with Bill specifically:

  • Bill ate tomatoes like they were going out of style. He had at least two raw tomatoes a day. He claimed that they were the reason he had lived so long.
  • Bill looked very fragile as he was very tall and thin. But he was surprisingly strong and in very good physical health for his age.
  • He worked for my mom’s cosmetology school for some years after he could no longer drive long-distance and he was beloved by all the instructors and students. Everyone called him “Mr. Bill”.
  • He was always smiling and had a very sunny disposition. I think I only ever saw him get angry when he fought with Mary. Even then, I never heard him raise his voice at her.
  • Bill loved to wear a specific style of t-shirt. These shirts are the ones usually designed with wolves overlaying mountainous backgrounds. If you have ever stopped in a gas station in a somewhat rural area while on a road-trip, I guarantee that you’ve seen the exact kind of t-shirt I’m talking about.
  • Bill loved Mr. Peanuts and I would buy him huge cans of them each year for Christmas.
  • He also used a handkerchief which he always carried in his pocket.

I’ll include some images from my personal collection. These are free for other people to use for genealogical purposes with the caveat that you don’t sell them or post them on sites such as Ancestry.com without proper credit or linking to his profile on WikiTree.

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