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At 90, yes she 'can-can'

Emil Whitis • Dec 23, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Traffic be damned — she’d made a promise and she was going to keep it. 

Ann “Grandma” Wright, 90, on Saturday, can-canned her way, all the way, down the 500 block Shelby Street — in the middle of the street. 

Dozens of neighbors — her de facto family — lined the streets video taping, cheering and taking pictures as Wright and her daughters, Faye Gast, 65, and Hope Bailey, 61, kicked in time, walking arm in arm. 

“That a way Annie,” they shouted. “Look at her go.” 

At least two cars had to re-route to make way for the dancing lady but nobody seemed to notice. 

Every 100 feet or so she switched modes to the cha-cha and Wright showed onlookers how to shake it — the right way. 

It was equal parts a show of integrity and good old-fashioned fun — also a testament to the woman’s perseverance and vivacity. 

In August, Wright, by all accounts a rambunctious lady, was grounded by knee replacement surgery. She was forced to use a child-sized walker to get around. 

“She couldn’t even walk down to the corner,” Bailey said. “She told the doctor that when she turned 90 she was going to can-can down the middle of the street.”

Word of the promise spread quickly among the tight-knit community and on Saturday everybody showed up to hold Wright to her word. 

By 3 p.m. her living room was packed with neighbors, friends and family. 

“She has taken care of almost everyone in this room,” Bailey said. “Everyone around here calls her grandma.” 

And like any grandma worth her salt, she’s kept her (adopted neighborhood) grandchildren flush with cookies. It’s something Wright’s done since the end of World War II, when she moved to the block.

“The candy drawer’s back there in the kitchen,” Wright said. “Sometimes they don’t even stop to talk.” 

After somebody slipped her a santa hat, grandma was ready to get down. 

“I feel like dancing,” she said with a grin as she walked out the door. 

After about 15 minutes of dancing and cheering, she made her way back inside. 

“It was wonderful,” she said tearing up. “Just wonderful — this is a very good neighborhood and I’m not going to move out until the good Lord tells me to.” 

“I’m thinking that’ll be when he gets my room ready downstairs,” she said with a devilish smirk.  


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