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Letters to the editor

A lifetime of memories and opinions

"Is it too late for me to join a charm school?"

Myra Fisher with her collection of letters to the editor.
Myra Fisher with her collection of letters to the editor

Myra Fisher, a self-proclaimed ten-pound Pom from Whitechapel, London, is a cockney with a cheeky smile and a comment on just about anything. “It all started about 50 years ago; I always felt I had something to say,” she said. “I’m not an expert, I left school at 15. What do I know about politics and corruption? I read the paper and think that’s not right, so I write to The Age and tell them.

“I only write to The Age, The Women’s Weekly, and The Australian Jewish News. I like to have my 10 pennies’ worth, and people write back to me.” All her letters to the papers and any responses have been photocopied, laminated and filed in large binders by her son David.

After reading in The Age that Princess Diana and Catherine Princess of Wales had attended charm school, Fisher emailed the paper asking, “Is it too late for me to join a charm school?” The Age printed two letters the next day. “Ryan said, you don’t need to go to charm school, you are absolutely charming while another one said, you don’t need to go to charm school, your letters charm us every day.”

She agrees that she is opinionated and goes on to say, “I’m aware of other people’s needs and opinions and I don’t try and talk over anybody. All my children and grandchildren think I’m bonkers, and I like that because I don’t want to be remembered for chicken soup or apple pie.”

She was born in 1931 during the Great Depression. Her father lost his job, so her mother took on the role of breadwinner becoming a fantastic saleswoman. “I think that’s where I got it, my mother used to sweet-talk people.”

At 92 years of age, Fisher is a sprightly woman who not only writes letters to The Age but has written her biography Cossacks, Cockneys & Colonials, a family saga through the generations. “I was born in Mother Levy’s Jewish home for Mothers and Babies in Whitechapel so by birth I am a cockney,” she said.

It sits proudly on her bookshelf together with the Bible she was given when her family became naturalised. “I came here when I was 17 and we just love this country,” she proclaimed. “It has been kind to us. It’s given us a life and safety and, it’s given us pride. I have been back to London four times. The last time we got on the plane my husband said that’s it, not going back to England anymore.”

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