Celebrating Women of Excellence #IntlWomensHistoryMonth, Day 1 @EmptySeatsNovel @NonnieJules @RRBC_Org @RRBC_RWISA @Tweets4RWISA #RRBC #RWISA
My friend once sent me a beautiful portrait that she had commissioned of my family. Along with that priceless gift, she sent me a text with the link to an old gospel song that contained the following lyrics:
“Give me my flowers right now. If you feel like I deserve anything, don’t wait until I’m dead and gone. If I’ve been nice to you or done something to make you happy along the way, then give me my flowers now while I can still see the beauty that they bring.”
She said to me that she wanted to gift me with something beautiful because I was the most generous and thoughtful person she’d ever met. She said she wanted me to know how much she appreciated me before one of us left this earth. I’ve never forgotten that generous gift, nor the fact that someone viewed me in such a beautiful way.
I never let an opportunity go by to celebrate and push those who deserve my support. During this month when we are celebrating the history of women, I’d like to celebrate and profile those women who are simply AMAZING in the way they support and push others. Throughout this week, I will shine a bright light each day on a woman who inspires me, and I hope you will join me as we learn more about each of them, while at the same time giving them their due praise and flowers… right now!
Today I am celebrating…
AUTHOR, WANDA A. FISCHER
NJ: Hi, Wanda, thanks for joining me today! First, a few questions to warm the atmosphere and for us to learn some things we probably don’t know about you. I’m short on time and I’m sure you are, too, so let’s make this a quick one. First question… when is your birthday?
Wanda: November 20
NJ: If you have siblings, which child are you (first, second, third, etc.)?
NJ: When did you begin writing?
Wanda: In the second grade–I started writing letters to the editor then and also letters to President Eisenhower
NJ: Why did you begin writing?
Wanda: I don’t really know. It just came naturally to me at a young age. I had something to say, so I said it.
NJ: Wanda, please put these in order of importance to you: Faith, Family, Friends, Loyalty, Honesty
Wanda: Family, Honesty, Friends, Faith, Loyalty (this is a tough one)
NJ: What is the one thing people who really know you might say about you to a stranger?
Wanda: That I would give my last dollar to make sure a hungry child was fed.
NJ: In three paragraphs or less, if you could, how would you change the world?
Wanda: The first thing I would do to change the world is to ensure that the massive income gap between the wealthiest people and the poorest people would shrink. I believe there is no reason that someone should have a multimillion-dollar salary when the only reason that salary lands in his/her bank account is that people who are the “worker bees” are making poverty wages. The wealthy should be paying their fair share of taxes, as they did during the Eisenhower administration, when they paid ninety percent in taxes as part of the graduated income tax and didn’t moan and groan about it.
Secondly, I would invest in housing for the homeless and veterans. These could be tiny houses in small village-like areas. A country like the one we live in should not have people living on the streets. If we can send people off to fight in wars, we should be responsible for taking care of them when they come home.
Finally, I would work with teachers in inner-city schools (after advocating to have their salaries raised) to ensure that they had the tools they need to teach properly, without having to spend their own money. I would encourage other retirees like me to participate in reading programs, like the one I volunteer in now, Reading is Fun, to go into elementary school classrooms and help lower-level readers learn to love reading. Such intergenerational programs benefit everyone involved and are an investment in society.
NJ: WOW! That’s a lot, but all good! Please describe yourself in one word
NJ: THREE words that others might use to describe you
Wanda: Generous, Honest, Thoughtful
NJ: What do you see when you look in the mirror?:
Wanda: Someone who’s worked for many years and has earned the lines on her face.
NJ: Who are three women that you admire – famous or otherwise, and what do you admire most about them?:
Wanda: Filmmaker Ava DuVernay because she has brought the issues of civils rights to the big screen and has shown these historical facts to many people who had no knowledge of them prior to her movies (e.g., Bloody Sunday crossing the Edmund Pettis Bridge, and others).
Late University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit, who passed away a few years ago after bringing that women’s team to many national basketball championships. She integrated the team in the south because she saw talents in women of all races and taught them how to work together as a team. When she became ill and had to stop coaching, I wrote her a letter telling her how much I’d admired her for so many decades. She answered my letter.
Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor, whom I met once at the New York State Governor’s Mansion. Her commitment to the law and to women of all backgrounds, as well as her having admitted to having diabetes and having written a children’s book about what it was like to have been a Type I diabetic when she was a child, has left a lasting impression on me.
NJ: What contributions, if any, have you made to society?
Wanda: My two children are solid citizens, both professionals, of whom I am proud. I was involved in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. I was also involved in the anti-war movement in the 1960s. I was a paid performing singer and performed at many weddings and funerals, including two funerals for people who died in 9/11. Through my radio shows (45 years worth of on-air presence), I have reached many people, especially during the pandemic, who looked to my shows for a “sense of normalcy” when the world was turned upside down.
NJ: What is the legacy you’d like to leave behind?
Wanda: I hope that people would remember that I was devoted to my family and community. I would also hope that people remember that I treated those whom I supervised when I was working were treated as my equals and not my subordinates. And I would also hope that people would know that I constantly worked to help society’s underdogs.
NJ: By the way, CONGRATULATIONS! You’re the newest RRBC member to be added to the RWISA roster! We’re excited to have you on the island. If at all, how has belonging to RRBC and RWISA helped you as a writer?
Wanda: I have learned a great deal about the publishing process from fellow writers. I have also learned that some of my struggles with beginning to write fiction at an advanced age were shared by others. I learned how not to be discouraged by criticism and to offer positive remarks to my fellow writers.
NJ: What has belonging to RRBC and RWISA brought to your life?
Wanda: Camaraderie, self confidence, and some of the best reading I’ve done throughout my life has come through these organizations. I know that I can contact one of my fellow members if I have questions or concerns. Members span all backgrounds and ages, and their insights are valuable as I continue writing.
NJ: Wanda, I am honored to know you. Please accept these flowers from my heart to yours.
At or after 12 Midnight CT tonight, please click HERE for Day 2 of my Women of Excellence Salute!
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