Long-evity; Zelda Long Fischer

Zelda surrounded by family at her 104th birthday.
Zelda surrounded by family at her 104th birthday.

Zelda Long, named after the wife of writer F. Scott’s Fitzgerald, was born in Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania 105 years ago. Zelda, the firstborn, grew up in a loving home with her father, mother, two brothers and two sisters, and experienced “a lot of good food, fun and laughter.”

Zelda attended school in a one-room schoolhouse heated by a potbelly stove, strategically placed in the center of the room for maximum warmth. When thirsty, students drank water from a bucket with a long-handled dipper. After graduating from the eighth grade, she passed the county eighth grade exam and entered high school.

For the next three years she lived in Kingston, Pennsylvania with her aunt and uncle and attended Kingston High School. Hunlock Township had no high school; therefore, it paid Kingston her high school tuition each year until her graduation in 1928.

Continuing her education, Zelda entered Nanticoke State General Hospital Nursing Program, which included obstetrical training at the Elizabeth Steel-Magee Hospital in Pittsburgh. In September 1931 she passed the state boards and began working as a registered nurse (RN).

About one year later, she began post-graduate studies in surgical and operating room nursing at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. She returned to Nanticoke State Hospital in March 1933 where her promised nurse supervisory job was on hold and stayed until January 1934.

A fellow nurse suggested Zelda date her brother, Wilbur G. Fischer. “She thought Wilbur and I would hit it off and she was right,” reflected Zelda. They m

They married in August 1933 and lived in Glen Lyon for 42 years. They had one child, a daughter, Lorna.

Wilbur taught English and Social Studies at Pulaski Junior High School in Glen Lyon, Pennsylvania. Zelda and Wilbur had strong Christian roots and were active in their community and church. Wilbur was a Mason and Zelda belonged to the Order of the Eastern Star. He passed away shortly before their 50-year wedding anniversary.

Prior to retiring, she worked as a surgical and operating room supervisor. Zelda has lived at Pitman Manor since July 1998. Her Christian love, willingness to help others, and outgoing personality led to many wonderful friendships.

As a teacher and as a student of the Bible, Zelda has shown tremendous insight about the Bible and the Holy Land. Reflecting on her trip to Israel, Jordan and Egypt, Zelda said, “It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Where else would I ride a camel?”

She is intensely proud of her family’s accomplishments. Her daughter Lorna Manahan-Palma, a retired music teacher and United Methodist Communities Foundation trustee, frequently visits United Methodist Communities at Pitman. Zelda has one grandson and two great-grandchildren.

Speaking about life at Pitman, Zelda affirms, “Everybody is so nice. If you enjoy the people and the activities here, you are sure to be happy.”