New York Times Portraits of Grief
It is not easy to prepare an entire Thanksgiving meal, from turkey to pies, over an open fire. But every year, Margaret Quinn Orloske made it look easy. Using only cast iron pots, trivets and a brick oven, Mrs. Orloske and her husband, Duane, cooked their Thanksgiving dinner — and many other meals — in the cooking hearth of their home, a reproduction of an 18th-century house with period details but modern appliances.
A lifelong American history buff, Mrs. Orloske was transported daily from the world of five-count ovens and antique woodwork to one of electronic networks and information management, as she traveled two and a half hours each way to her job as a vice president at Marsh & McLennan.
Mrs. Orloske enjoyed her work enough to make the commute, but she also loved returning to her dream home in Windsor, Conn. "I think the 18th century was her refuge," Mr. Orloske said. "It was such a contrast to what her everyday life was like."
A former librarian, Mrs. Orloske, 50, was a born organizer. The details of an annual trip in December were worked out by Labor Day.
"We even knew during the summer where we were going to eat every night," said her friend Jean Mayhew, who, with her husband, often visited historic places with the Orloskes and their son, Stephen, 19. "She was a most unusual woman," Mrs. Mayhew added. "No matter what she did, she did it well."
In December, Mrs. Orloske's former boss, Tim Brady, and his wife, Bernadette, had a daughter. They named her Margaret. As a gift, Mr. Orloske presented the couple with a quilt his wife, ever the planner, had picked out for them months before. "It's something she'll always be able to have," said Mr. Brady. "From a woman she'll never be able to meet."