I met Mike Fisch when I was working for the ABC affiliate in Lynchburg, Virginia. If you have never been to the Hill City it is a gem of a town, but it is this epitome of a small town. There are more churches than 7-Elevens, no one stayed out past 2 a.m., and every conversation started with, “Do you have a church home?” I found it endearing but also very restricting. I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia, home to HUGE naval bases, diverse cultures, fast cars, music, clubs, crime, grit, and a hodge podge of American life. Lynchburg seemed to slow for me. Then, I met Mike Fisch.
When I heard him speak I instantly knew he wasn’t from Lynchburg. He’s from Illinois, but he had this street almost urban way of talking. I liked it. He felt like my kind of guy. Fisch was a photographer at the station, and always one of my favorite ones to work with. He always worked as hard as I did, and always had fun in the process. One of my favorite memories is the time we ate Thanksgiving or Christmas ( I can never remember the exact holiday but I know it was winter one of them because Christmas trees were up) dinner at Sheetz.
“Compton , what did you get?” Fisch asked peeking at my sandwich tightly wrapped in Sheetz paper. Boy they wrap those things tight. We were in the news van, eating dinner. We had just finished doing a sad story about a family whose Christmas tree caught fire. No one was hurt but their living room and several other rooms were destroyed. I remember feeling so bad. The family didn’t have a lot of money and their gifts were torched. My heart was heavy as we ate our Christmas dinner.
“Ahh, you know Fisch a little chicken sandwich,” I replied.
“Aight! ! Man we’re probably the only ones eating Christmas dinner like this,” he said laughing. Fisch has a great laugh; it’s loud just like mine. It felt like we were two sad folks with no inn to take cover, but the truth is a lot of news people spend holidays like this. We continued to talk about our family traditions of the holiday. It made me feel at home, even though my family was miles away in Virginia Beach. Moments like these exemplify why reporters and photographers get so close. We do become each other’s family.
Fast forward a few months later. Fisch and I ( we call each other by our last names) were talking towards Lynchburg College for a story. I was upset because my boyfriend Mr. GQ (he’s in other blogs) stayed out all night clubbing.
“Well, Compton look at this way, you are doing your thing with news and everything. You’re off weekends now, and you’ve made friends. Just enjoy yourself. He’ll come around,” Fisch said. Gosh he was so wise. I was in my mid-twenties when I reported in Lynchburg. I did need to “do me “ for a while. I needed to work hard, meet new people, and see the world. I didn’t need to be tied down to a man that obviously wasn’t ready for commitment.
“Fisch you’re right. I’m so tired of trying to make him do what I want him to do. Ugh, men are so stupid.”
“Hey, Compton! Hey! Come on I am standing right here. You know I’ve got you’re back,” Fisch said.
Then he gave me a hug. We went and did the story, the live shot, and went home. But he was more than a good co-worker that day he was a good friend. I’ve got you’re back too Fisch.
When I started to climb out of my depression I reconnected with Fisch on Facebook. He had the same number, but has started a production company. I knew I needed some new YouTube videos but wasn’t sure if my camera skills were good enough to shoot them on my own. I reached out to Fisch. He not only shot my promotional videos; he wrote them, directed them, and then hugged me when I cried during them. He stopped the camera, and said, “Compton you ok? Can you do this? Depression sucks, but look at you. You’re doing so good.”
“I’m good Fisch. Let’s go. We’ll do it LIVE!” I said. I have to put this clip in because it's hilarious. It brings me joy and I'm pretty sure this acutally happened Bill O'Reilly worked for Inside Edition. Now a lot of news reporters say this jokingly when we are fustrated. OMG I love it, Oh God now I'm having a laughing fit I can't stop.
It’s an old news joke. And we did. We shot the first promo at a Charlottesville rest stop with cars whizzing by, under a dark sky. And, that night was the first of many nights I began to break free of the clutches of mental illness. Fisch was more than a friend that night. God sent an angel to help me tell my story, give me a voice again, and then show the world they can use theirs too.
“I have a story to tell……” is my main motto--- Fisch created that after talking to me about my business Good Girl Chronicles. We used the same motto on my second promo and it will be the thread linking all my stories from here on out.
Thank Fisch for sharpening me. I only hope I have sharpened you. Love You to the Moon and Back