A Day in My Life, March 22, 2024 — Ramblin’ ‘Round My City

Mar 22, 2024 | Day in the Life, Life Experiences, Radio, Remembrance, Uncategorized | 6 comments

Wow, my fellow Rave Reviews Book Club and I have been at this since March 1, 2024. So far, we have taken each other on trips all over the place, learned new things about one another, and had fun.

Today, I couldn’t think of any special “day” to commemorate, so I’ll do what Woody Guthrie talked about: ramblin’ ’round my city, ramblin’ ’round my town…

Schenectady, New York. I’ve lived here since 1979, when my husband became a resident in the family practice program at St. Clare’s Hospital. When medical students are just about to finish medical school, they participate in “the match”–i.e., they travel to various residency programs to interview, check out the area, and then sit down after it’s over, and fill out a “match” form. The hospitals, in turn, fill out their own match forms. A genius computer then matches the applicants with his or her top choices, vis-a-vis the hospital’s top choices.

Schenectady wasn’t our first choice; Providence, Rhode Island was. I wanted to stay as close to my hometown of Boston/Weymouth, Massachusetts as possible. I just couldn’t fathom being too far away from my parents and other family members. Schenectady is a four-hour drive from where I grew up. When we moved here, we had a six-month-old baby, knew no one, had very little money, and, with a small child, I had few, if any, prospects of getting a job.

To say I was distraught would be an understatement. We had left our network of friends in music, broadcasting, everything, in Worcester, Massachusetts, where my husband had gone to medical school, to move to a town called Schenectady.

What a strange name, Schenectady.

We learned it was settled by the Dutch and was important to the fur trade originally. It evolved as the Erie Canal did as a trading post. It’s the home to Union College and Proctors Theatre, which was an important stop on the vaudeville circuit in the 1920s and ’30s. Schenectady also played a huge role in the development of the General Electric Company, thanks to Thomas Edison and George Steinmetz, who selected it as the place to begin manufacturing electric goods, due to its proximity to the railroads. Schenectady was also the site of the first television broadcast of any long distance, as well as the site of a clear channel radio station (WRGB).

grayscale photo of UNK building

My husband was working so many hours, though, that I rarely saw him. When he was home, he was exhausted. (Don’t believe what you see on “Gray’s Anatomy”; medical residents are not as energetic as they are on TV.)

After awhile, though, we settled in. We had planned to return to Massachusetts when his residency was finished. However, that’s when I was offered a radio show at a major National Public Radio affiliate, WAMC. We decided to stay. We figured that a physician could get a job anywhere. But a folk music DJ?

If we had gone to Providence instead of Schenectady, that wouldn’t have happened. And my work at WAMC wouldn’t have happened, either.

Since we’ve arrived here, the area has undergone a renaissance of sorts. The downtown area has been revitalized, many arts venues have been restored, new businesses have sprung up (and survived the pandemic). Other negative things have happened. We’ve lost many churches and civic organizations that have merged with others. But on the whole, Schenectady and the other cities in New York’s Capital Region (Albany and Troy) have become a nice place to live.

Both of our children graduated from Schenectady High School and gone on to college and graduate schools. Both played sports for the high school. Both are proud that they call Schenectady home.

We just never know what will happen when we’re sent somewhere we don’t choose. If we stick to the new location and work at it, we might find that there’s a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow. I think I did when the medical “match” sent us here.

But hey, we’re expecting some snow tonight. Who said it might be spring?


  1. Pat Garcia

    Hi, Wanda,
    I am glad you all didn’t move. You never know what God has in store for you. If you had moved away, you would have missed one chance in a lifetime, and who knows if that chance would ever come your way again.
    Take care, and that’s a nice picture of you.
    Shalom shalom

    • Wanda Fischer

      Hi Pat–I am, too. As you say, it’s not what you want, it’s what HE wants. Once I came to accept that, things began happening for me and my family.

  2. john Podlaski

    Wanda, relocating was always a fear that I carried while working for TRW for the first twenty years of my manufacturing management career. They were opening up plants in other states and transferring managers to the new facility to start up and manage its future. I, too, didn’t want to be far from our family and have to start all over again with a ten-year-old daughter who also had her group of friends. Thank goodness, I wasn’t transferred. However, after twenty years, the company restructured and sent all our products to the new facilities. I was let go and unemployed for six months. At that time, I would have accepted work anywhere and did interview ‘out of state’. I did land another job within thirty miles and didn’t have to relocate. This happened four more times during my career, but luckily, our roots were allowed to grow.

  3. Patty Perrin

    Hi, Wanda,

    Thank you for sharing your town with us! You’ve had a rich, rewarding life there.

    As a military Brat, I relocated often with my parents and siblings, and didn’t have a chance to grow roots. Like tumbleweeds. As a result, I was able to enjoy different cultures, learn new languages, and see different parts of our beautiful world. I’m grateful to my parents for the lifestyle they gave us.

    Since I married Bill, we’ve spent our last thirty years in Florida. Our most recent move landed us half an hour from our last address. It took time for me to get used to staying in one place, but God has blessed us in incredible ways since we’ve been here. I have no complaints about either lifestyle.


  4. Mrs Joy Gerken

    I well recall my fear when I thought my husband was to be moved to another district.For all the reasons you talk about. He was an electrical engineer and it was highly likely that a move would happen.
    At age 55years He decided to retire, his health was not so good and he knew the financial package would enable us to survive.
    That’s how we avoided a move.

  5. Shirley Harris-Slaughter

    Wanda, its nice that you and your husband were able to settle in to that town with the strange name. You married well. I got that part right the second time around. I’m glad you were able to find work doing what you love.

    Thank you for sharing your interesting life with us. I love your stories which was like learning something new everytime I hit your page.


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