Katharine met her future husband many years before at Oberlin College.
During the summers, Orville and Katharine took long vacations at their cottage on Lake Huron. Wilbur had died some years before that. When Katharine was in her 40s, it seems that Orville presumed she planned to spend the rest of her life living with him, like some old married couple.
Orville failed to notice the sparks flashing between his sister and Harry Haskell during the times Harry spent visiting the Wrights at their lake home. As “The Wright Sister” opens, Katharine describes Orville’s reaction when she announced her engagement, he flung a French porcelain pitcher at the wall.
Katharine is forced to concede that angry Orville might have some mental health issues. The author imagines how Katharine might have felt as she explored this exciting new experience of marriage and some of the obstacles she could have perceived. This fictional Katharine is troubled by photos of her husband's late wife that continue to adorn their walls. They make her feel jealous.
Orville Wright poses in front of a 1912 model C machine at Simms Station. This was one of the first 5 machines ordered by the Army.
Diary entries are interspersed with letters to Orville. She keeps hoping he will display more maturity and reconcile with her. All her entreaties are met with a stony silence from Brother Orv over in Dayton.
We get insights into Orville’s supposed state of mind after a war took place in which the Wright brothers’ invention was used to rain death down from the skies — it bothered him their wonderful flying machine had been transformed into an instrument of destruction.
Orville never relented. He didn't visit his sister until she was upon her deathbed. In "The Wright Sister" we soar to the heights of Katharine's liberation from Orville and then swoop down over and again through the pathos of her desperation over their separation.
Vick Mickunas of Yellow Springs interviews authors every Saturday at 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. on WYSO-FM (91.3). For more information, visit www.wyso.org/programs/book-nook. Contact him at email@example.com.