People love to see places and things they have not visited or seen and I love to provide, to some small degree, that happiness.” - Eda Fisher
Autobiography – Eda Fisher
"The Joy-Ride Through My Life: The Ups and the Downs"
It was the 24th of April, 1946 when I ventured out of my mother’s womb into this big old world. Our family consisted of my Mother, Father an elderly spinster aunt and myself I was an only child.
I was raised very differently to the ‘then-day’ norms. That caused concern amongst some of the family friends. Terrible Sin: I was taught to have opinions, and to be MYSELF. The theory of ‘children should be seen and not heard’ didn’t apply. I was expected to behave with dignity and to be a productive, reliable, thinking family member. Obviously there were repercussions if I failed and stepped out of line. I was guided and shown by example rather than being brought up with lectures and hidings.
I was born in Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. We lived there for only a few years. I have only very hazy recollections of these first years.
Then we moved to Pinetown, in those days, only a small country town. I was about five. My Dad and Aunt, as we all called her, taught at the primary school which was conveniently right next door. Mum ran the home and looked after me. It is here that my deep love of music was born. Beautiful classical music that I insisted I could float on.
My Dad had a huge woodwork workshop. At the age of about seven I was allowed to use some of the more dangerous woodworking machines. Yippie, I had graduated from the ‘sandpapering only’ level. I helped build the rabbit hutches and bee hives which we needed for our enterprises and was involved in any other woodworking projects being done.
Sunny days working in the garden, learning to grow and tend flowers and vegetables bring back tender, happy memories.
There were lots of family caravan holidays just being a family, seeing new places, learning interesting things, taking photos, fishing, bird watching etc. These were the formative years that laid a solid foundation for my adult life and made me the person I am.
We stayed in Pinetown until just after my eighth birthday. Then we of Kloof. It was a small-holding called Mollington and we all loved it. There was plenty of land to till, a huge veggie garden and even a thicket with a stream running through it. Wonderful for bird watching. It was like heaven.
Sadly, when I was about eleven Mum became very ill and after a long illness succumbed to cancer. I had watched her suffer for so long that when the end came I felt only a great relief rather than grief. Life soon returned to normal with one exception. I would have to attend a normal school. The idea horrified me, but it had to be. I had never attended school before. I had been taught by Mum and Aunt. My mother disagreed with the schooling system and though it resulted in ‘matches in a matchbox’ rather than individuals.
Well, school it was. I started off in my Aunts class. She taught Std. four. (Grade 6 today.} The experience was not as bad as I had thought it would be. I made a few passing friends. I also joined Girl Guides. Even today I Endeavour to keep my honor bright, be true to my Promise and obey the Guide Laws as given by Lord Baden Powell. I also took up Judo.
My first two high school years were at a Convent. Poor nuns!!!. I hated the place suppressive, narrow minded, too many dos and don’ts’, I could go on forever. Oh Boy!!! Aunty dear had thought the experience would maybe add a touch of refinement. Well, it didn’t work. After two years of struggling I was allowed to go to the normal government school. Relief at last! Except that I disliked sport, mainly because it interfered with my home time, my high school days were fun. By this time we had moved again. This time to a rambling, old place with lots of character, also in Kloof.
During these high school years I collected even more hobbies. I had layers and sold eggs, made scrap books for children’s hospitals and made and collected toys, reconditioning some, for Christmas parties for the underprivileged. Now it was time to choose a career.
I wanted to be a farmer so wanted to go to agricultural college. That was out of the question. There were none that accepted girls.
My salvation came when a team of people came to school canvassing for students to become teachers. I listened with interest to their talk and I realized I had found my vocation. Dad and Aunt were happy so in 1965 I started my three year teaching diploma.
Life became less fun when Dad married a lady-fiend. Pardon, I should have written friend. She had just jumped out of the pages of Hansel and Gretel. Slight exaggeration! She brought her three unruly kids with her and I was grateful to be away from home studying. Had he adopted them I would have changed my surname to my Mum’s, maiden name.
Having led such a sheltered life I was extremely shy. A handicap when one would like to be more out-going like one’s peers. I was a square peg in a round hole, and didn’t fit into city life at all. The few men I dated were just dates. I was waiting for someone very special and very right to walk into my life.
One rainy weekend I was sitting with a group of my real friends at Training College. They were all reading Personality, etc, etc while I was looking at the Farmers’ Weekly. One of them borrowed my magazine and she found the ‘Hitching Post’. It is a friendship column. Many years ago it was very respectable. Well, WE wrote to this fellow. He answered and WE wrote more letters to him. He lived near Pietermaritzburg in the midlands of KwaZulu-Natal.
I liked the sound of this fellow so wrote my own letter saying I would be visiting one of my other Aunts in Pietermaritzburg and if he would like to meet me he could come and visit me there. Well, he came up in my estimation another notch. The reply to that was no, he would prefer to meet me at my parents home and he would arrange it.
Well he did. Even Gloria (Step-Mother) approved of him. As our friendship strengthened and deepened I realized that I had found the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We were married about a year later. I became. Mrs. Noel Fisher. It was a very deeply spiritually and emotional moment when I said, ‘I Do’. And so began the Bliss and Blisters of married life.
Our lives were full and fun-filled. We made life into a game. Noel was a fitter and Turner and a dab hand at anything and everything. He loved the out-doors, farming and fishing. We were made for each other. I continued teaching finding it very rewarding.
Over the following eight years we had four precious children. Each one so very different, very special and precious. We inherited two more. First my half sister and then my youngest brother-in-law. By this time we had our own farm in Muden which is a beautiful farming district in KZN. After Gloria’s death Dad came to stay with us as well. The family all worked together like clock-work. It was all of ours farm and each of us had responsibilities. When the kids were a little older they went to weekly boarding school. Most of them wanted to play sport and the running around, fetching and carrying kids became just too much.
During these years my life was just plain hectic, but rewarding in the extreme. We farmed pecan nuts, oranges, vegetables and sundry cash crops. The kids were always an integral part of the operation.
Holidays away from the farm were not as frequent as we would have liked but when we found the time they were fun. Dad usually held the fort for us.
We were stable terminals to many children who had difficulties at home and the hostel matron learnt quickly that kids in less happy circumstances were always welcome for weekends etc.
Our kids left home one by one and we sold the farm and moved to Howick. Here Noel started a fencing business and I resumed teaching. This time in the rural schools. I wanted to leave my mark there and help do something about the poor standard of education. It was an eye-opener.
In 2001 I took over a precast Walling company and joined the fencing brigade. Now that was really different and a challenge. A different ball game altogether. I got known in this different world and made a success of the venture for almost ten years. Unfortunately the material costs rose drastically so I had to close the doors.
After the fencing game we moved to Underberg and ran a huge mixed farm for just over five years. Noel did the farming and I worked in the office doing everything that needed to be recorded. I also helped on the farm where I could.
I still have a long list on my bucket list but there is one thing that is NOT on it. I DON’T intend to kick that bucket any time soon.