ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – When Hillary didn’t get elected, it was time for me, Shirley Davidson Fisher, to go, and I did just that on July 17, 2019, at 96 years of age.
Sadly, I was predeceased by beloved daughter, Donna Schick, grandson Joel Carson and husband, Jack Fisher. I am survived by daughter, Suzanne (Robert) Davis and younger sister Blanche Fletcher, nieces, nephews and other relatives. Some will be mentioned.
My parents, Don and Mary Davidson raised me correctly, and I have tried to pass on the most important lessons. Come to the table when called and clean your plate, including all vegetables.
I am known for my abilities as a short order cook and like it or not, I hope you ate or drank something at my home. I’m sure I served you something. My pancakes weren’t the best, so if you stayed for a third day at my Bittersweet Bed & Breakfast in Morris and you got pancakes, I hope you didn’t get “spurted” with molten pancake batter when you poked them with a fork. My Swiss eggs and sausage casserole during days one and two were extraordinary.
As grandson Joel said, “You just never know about Grandma’s pancakes.” I enjoyed my guests at the B & B and I think they felt at home, because many returned.
Before the B&B, I was an educator for more than 30 years. SUNY Oneonta prepared me well for a career I loved. I used to make home visits to my future kindergartners over the summer. Teaching with the name “Schick” meant homework before classes even began. For science class, we made maple syrup in the spring, had a live chicken sit on eggs and I handled any number of “critters” to teach hands-on biology. My classroom days were both my hobby and my work.
One fun moment was when my younger daughter Donna came to my classroom to get lunch money. I tossed the class’s beloved pet rat to her and she had to catch it … gently. There were 25-plus scared little faces staring at her. The kids loved the rat, and teenage Donna didn’t even want to pass its cage.
I have a million fun memories, and I was dedicated to my students. The one thing every principal wants is for each teacher to have an on-time perfect attendance record. I have to brag that I was at work, almost on time, even on the day I flipped my car on a patch of ice on the way to Otego, the town where I ended my long career.
Even though people labeled me a master teacher, and parents often requested their children be in my classroom, I was less successful at home instruction. While trying to convince elder daughter, Suzanne, that Ginger was a wonderful pony, it would have been a better lesson if Ginger hadn’t been simultaneously standing on my left foot and biting my left hand when I explained he was really just like the horse she loved in her favorite book, “Black Beauty.”
Another short coming was baking. The church used to say, “Shirley, just give .00 for the bake sale. You don’t need to make a pie.” I know my daughters thought everyone just ate cookie tops, as the bottoms were supposed to be burned on the pans.
I married a wonderful man named Jack Fisher after retirement, and he had grown children, Marianne (Eric) Fisher-Craig , Kathie (Jeff) Poling, and Ken, plus grandchildren Matt, Sean, Kayla, Rowan and later great-grandchildren. They all enriched my life, and I hope I made a difference in theirs.
I’m quite certain they learned that the word “compromise” means we do it my way. And, as a couple, Jack and I taught all our heirs that a borderline socialist and a staunch Republican can make a marriage work.
When I was 90, I could still clean a floor on my hands and knees. I had traveled everywhere I wanted to go and I hope I said “happy day” to everyone I cared about, because it was my way of saying, “I love you.” I never lacked for anything I needed in life, because I knew how to wash and reuse aluminum foil, among many other frugal habits. I also knew how to be generous; wait staff loved to see me enter a restaurant.
I want to thank all the special friends who helped me stay in my home until I reached age 96. There are many who live at Quail Hollow who helped me, but of special note are Cookie Adams, Noralyn and Carey Jones, John Mankey, the Cottrells and Beverly Barnard. Grandson Nathan Dorante made what seems like a zillion trips from Charlotte, N.C., to St. Augustine to be sure all my needs were being met, and his two daughters, my cherished great- granddaughters Ciara and Lauryn, had infinite patience and kindness for this old lady, who made them learn to clean mini blinds with socks on their hands, among other house keeping tasks.
It could have been worse; I used to quilt, crochet, do all manner of crafts, grow vegetables, mow an acre of lawn, and weed the myrtle by the hour. I did teach Nathan and Joel, as 5-year-olds, one of their lifelong passions, fishing, because they often visited me in the country in New York State, and options were, well, limited.
I was ready to go, so don’t be sad. I had a good life, partly because I’ve always worn rose colored glasses, which it is not a bad way to live. I recommend it.
I don’t need flowers. To honor me, if you wish, please just read a book, do an unexpected kindness for someone else, go out to dinner, or give to a charity of your choice. I have instructed the family to have a small graveside service at their convenience, but, who knows? I’m not in charge anymore.