She and her husband, David, who worked at Olin, moved to Cleveland around 1976. “[And we have] lived here ever since,” Wright said. She said they have had the opportunity to move, but “this is home.”
The Wrights have two children: a son, Daine; and daughter, Julee, “who made me a grandma Nov. 20.” She said he is a “great” grandson.
Wright first started working in the day-care center at First Baptist Church, teaching 4-year-olds, and stayed there a few years. She then taught at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church teaching preschool (4-year-olds) on and off for 16 years.
She has a degree in Bible and religion from King College in Bristol, where she met her husband on her first day there.
Wright has been in Christian education for more than 30 years, and has worked at First Presbyterian, Wesley United Methodist Church and First United Methodist Church. Although now semi-retired, “I’d like to get back,” she said.
Along the way, somehow it was natural to get into the clowning business. Her daughter, now 28, was 2 when she started performing at private parties. She said people will remember the Rainbow Bright character (Transformer), the 80-pound “Pound Puppy” and her own creation, The Clown.
The comedy character clown was always created just for whatever party she was performing at. And in her adult life, she found a wealth of material in portraying people such as Dolly and retired school teacher Bea.
A favorite routine was Bea, who extolled the virtues of Ivory soap. A reward had been offered to anyone who “sank” a cake of Ivory, which was famous for “it floats.” Bea said she was taking a bath in Parksville Lake with Ivory, and it sank, but she couldn’t find it.”
Wright’s many adventures included her love of antique cars which has spanned some 30 years. She was chairman of the Cherokee Valley Region Antique Automobile Club of America which promoted the national show in Cleveland in 2008. The three-day event brought in more than 7,000 people to the community from Washington state, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Vermont — all over the United States — and Canada.
“We’re gonna do it again,” she offered, “in September 2013.
For the last four or five years, Wright has volunteered at the Museum Center at Five Points, which, “I just love.” She calls the museum “a community treasure.”
One of her latest adventures was acting in “The Circuit Rider’s Wife” which was written and produced by Doris and Jim Burns. Wright played Sister Meadows, a character she helped to create over a period of 10 years.
Sister Meadows is every pastor’s “nightmare,” and she felt her “calling” was to pinpoint everyone’s faults and “call every sin” to everyone’s attention.
Wright said her most fulfilling work has been with people who suffered through the April 27 tornadoes. And teaming with the many loving and caring people who volunteered their efforts, time and resources was a special joy.
She stressed that the passion is there and everyone has such a beautiful attitude. “It makes you glad to be a part of it,” she offered.
Still active in the tornado recovery, Wright serves as the United Methodist Church volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland district. “I don’t do this for my glory,” she said. “It’s for the glory of God.”
She has worked with probably 75 families and is still “totally in touch,” she said. Wright serves also as the case manager for the long-term volunteer program.
She said when a need came up, within days, “God provided the answer.” She said everything always fell together so comfortably — not falling into place meant “I was running ahead of God.”
She told about one man God put in her path — “It was no coincidence,” she said. “It was amazing.”
Wright had about 30 or 40 ROTC members from the Wesley Center at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, coming to help in long-term recovery in September, but since the targeted family was going to be out of town, she needed another place for them to work. They were already on the way.
Wright sat in her car at a crossroads, wondering what to do — 30 or 40 people and nowhere to go — and praying for guidance. She said a gentleman in a red car drove up to the nearby mailbox and God spoke to her and said, “There he is.”
She asked him, “Do you have damage?”
Tears came into his eye as he answered, “Yes.” The older gentleman, she said, was retired from the Army Air Force. When the team arrived, they went marching down the driveway to meet him. They stayed six hours, clearing his yard. Now he is being chosen for a rebuild — a miracle.
About 200 volunteers have been involved in the UMC’s recovery efforts. They have helped dismantle homes, clear yards and repair damage.
The owners of one farm in north Bradley County didn’t ask for help. They were trying to recover on their own. Another family off Dalton Pike could not bear to tear their house down and were trying to fix it. They wanted to be able to be back in their home by Thanksgiving.
The New Jersey team of 53 people went to some 14 sites to help the families. These were skilled workers — electricians, carpenters and so forth — who gave their time and expertise to help the Cleveland people.
Wright’s future plans include continuing to serve her community. “I’d like to get clowning started back,” she said, “and also get back into Christian education — I love children.”
She said she had never seen herself in missions, but “God has placed me in mission work in community in some way.” She said she is blessed by people who work with various organizations in the community. “I didn’t know how involved people were until tragedy hit.” Wright said she wants to stay a part of this family who helps with disaster trials and community happenings.
She told of a mother with seven children (one severely handicapped) whose home was condemned because of mold from the flooding. She said the mother has a five-year-plan for her life. Wright was able to get her help and a home where the children are safe.
This is her life, she confided. “Whatever God has in store for me,” Wright said, “I want to be ready and am excited to see what’s ahead.”