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Word & Image: Nannie Wright and Willie Wells, 100 

Twins, retired nurses

Nannie: I think [being twins] is the most wonderful thing could ever happen to us. We have lived happily together. And our mother and father always wanted us to be together as children growing up. We were never separated.

Willie: We’re from North Carolina. We still have the farm. We gave it to our nephew.

Nannie: Tobacco, we raised. [We did] anything they asked us. If they needed us on the farm, we worked on the farm, if they needed us in the house, we worked in the house.

We’re both registered nurses. We were trained at Stuart Center Hospital. My husband [Arthur Wright] was a doctor. I did private duty, and I was night superintendent for a while, and she was on this one case for ten years.

Willie: Well, I stayed on one case for six years.

Nannie: Ten years, Willie! You were on it ten years.

Willie: Well, long enough ... I got off when I got married. I walked [to the patient’s house], but it wasn’t so far. We lived on the corner of Grace and Boulevard. She lived on Monument Avenue — you know a stone house on Monument Avenue, one story? That’s where I worked ’til I got married. I never missed a day. Snow and sleet too, but you went anyway.

Nannie: When you’re a nurse, you go.

We used to go everywhere, we all went downtown ...

Willie: Thalhimers was very, very popular. We would have lunch in the tearoom.

Nannie: They had a nice tearoom.

We lived close together. I was 63 when [my husband] Arthur died. I went to the funeral [of Willie’s husband, Berkley, 12 years later]. I came in that night and stayed with her, and we’ve been together ever since.

Nannie: We sit here. I just want to tell you, we’re always together.

Willie: Talking, sitting here.

Nannie: Sitting here on the sofa, with Willie. We’ll say, “Nancy [Baker, their niece], what we gonna do?” and she’ll say, “What we gonna do?” She’s been awfully good to us. She’s been with us three years.

Nancy Baker: We went to Washington, D.C. — not this year, but the year before when they were 99 and went to an ’NSYNC concert.

Nannie: It was loud. We had good seats right up there in the middle watching everything. It was a musical. It was very nice.

Willie: I enjoyed it just as much as she did. We generally like the same things.

Nannie: Just being together, what a good time. We’ve always enjoyed being together.

Willie: Just being together is enough. I’m happy with her.

We’ll just take day by day as it comes. We spent our lives well. We’re a hundred; we won’t live much longer. I mean, I’m convinced, but it doesn’t bother me the least bit. I’m ready to go when the Lord wants me.

Nannie: I say, if she goes, I hope I’m right behind her. — As told to Katie Zedler; photographed by Stephen Salpukas
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