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Shipyard Sam 12-15-2006 01:21 PM

Happy Birthday Fish!
 
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Please join me in wishing Deborah "The Fish" Fischbeck a very happy birthday, today. Fish was a maid on the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN in 1978, and remains one of the most delightful people I ever met on the river... or elsewhere for that matter.

Shipyard Sam 12-16-2006 09:04 AM

From the Fish
 
Just so you know, I was on the MQ from 77 to 79 and I was also the relief galley supervisor. Had to do the maid thing to make some actual money, with not many hours. I was terrible at it but kept my passengers entertained. I really enjoyed working in that galley, work wise it was grueling (pun), but it was some of the best situation comedy I've ever experienced. Still have Chef Silver's philosophical missives...

[I](Yea, "terrible at it." What I remember is a flame-tressed dynamo who could make forty beds an hour helping other gals, and on change-over days she hired an additional "linen boy", from ashore, to keep her supplied with towels, sheets and stuff, and kept both him and the regular boy running. SS)[/I]

Shipyard Sam 12-15-2007 11:33 AM

A Girl of Such Rareness...
 
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What a difference a year brings. Fish would have been 52 today. At 1041 hrs., today, the NEW DAY was officially rechristened, SUN*FISH, combining our signs, my Yellow Star and, of course, her Fish. God bless the Fish, and may her memory never fade from the minds of those fortunate-enough that their lives touched her's.

[I]On the old Mississippi
a girl with red tresses,
One's that a beauty-
She's stolen my heart.

To dared to have loved a girl of such rareness,
So fair and so perfect,
She's nature's fine art.

On the ole Mississippi
is the girl of my vision,
On the ole Mississippi,
She's stolen my heart.[/I]

Thank you, John Hartford.

Shipyard Sam 12-14-2008 11:13 PM

A Special Day
 
Today is the Fish's 53rd birthday. Her birthdays were always special... and still are.

Tom Schiffer 12-15-2008 05:22 AM

Sam: How 'bout a recent pitcher of the Sun+Fish? Cap'n Walnut.

Mary Sward Charlton 12-15-2008 06:48 AM

Willie, my heart is with you. SBM

mel hartsough 12-15-2008 09:47 AM

Thats just the way I remember her Sam. She was always a good friend and I too shall never for get her.

Shipyard Sam 12-14-2009 11:35 PM

HBD Deborah- 2009
 
Today, December the 15th, would have been the Fish's 54th birthday. It seems odd that she would have been that old so soon, considering she was just 23 when I first saw her standing by the door to the cabins she attended as a maid on the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN all decked-out in her candy-striped outfit the girls wore on 'leavin' day'. If I hadn't known better, I would have sworn she was 14, but she had to have been at least 18 to work on the boat. The Fish, as I discovered later, had recently graduated with honors from [I]"a small college in Maryland", [/I]as she was fond of saying, on a full academic scholarship, and without waiting to collect her diploma, hurried to New Orleans and landed a job on the new steamboat on the Mississippi River.

To say it was love at first sight, would be an understatement, but that's the way it was, and as soon as it happened, and before I actually met her, I began an investigation into finding what I could about the shy, elusive flame-haired beauty, and I was told that she was[I] "different", "loved the water", [/I]and was "[I]unique"[/I]', so I borrowed a small row boat from the MQ and asked her to take a ride with me on the Yazoo, and she did, and we were, as she once described, [I]inseparable[/I]... but for only a couple of years until circumstances separated us for nineteen agonizing years until I found her again through a 'friend-finder' website. We stayed in constant contact until she died on 2 April 2007-- her Mother's, Sara, 90th birthday.

Fish craved adventure. Besides serving on the MQ for four years, she sailed a giant square-rigger back to Europe after the famous "Tall Ships" exhibition in New York harbor; she braved a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico that ripped her foul weather gear apart as she stood wheel watch on an open-decked schooner, and delighted in the telling of it; for several years she was a deckhand on a tanker crossing the Atlantic into the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas until she fell into an open hatch and had to give up working on the ships.

It is still hard to fathom that such a miraculous creature could have been taken all too soon and so quickly, and there isn't a day that goes by that I fail to fondly remember the most nautical person, man or woman, I ever met. She was, I sincerely believe, [I]Neptune's daughter.[/I]

Later today I will call Sara and thank her for bringing such a daughter, as Deborah, into the world. And I will count myself as one of the most fortunate persons in the world that I met the Fish aboard the MISSISSIPPI QUEEN and that I shared a very special loving relationship with her.

mel hartsough 12-15-2009 01:16 AM

Anyone that ever knew the Fish would never forget her. I can still remember her voice as though it was yesterday, her lithe little body and wild as the wind red hair. Her nights in a sleeping bag behind the pilot house and how I had to be careful not to step on her as I made my rounds as a watchman checking on her each half hour and seeing her sitting up bleary eyed with that wild hair at daybreak. Yeah Deb was the model of cool. Happy Birthday Debra Fishbeck.

Shipyard Sam 12-15-2009 10:32 PM

Mel- What a grand recollection. I read it to Sara, Fish's mom, today, and she chuckled when I came to the [I]"wild as the wind red hair"[/I] part. Sara was delighted that her daughter meant so much to those of us who knew, cared for, and loved her Deborah.


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