Corrections or additions?

This article by Jamie Saxon was prepared for the May 25, 2005

issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Kids, There’s a Man in My Life

When Ellie Slott Fisher’s first husband, an attorney in Philadelphia,

died suddenly of an undiagnosed heart condition, she was in her late

30s and her two children were just five and nine. "I would speak about

my husband’s condition and give lectures at private schools and

synagogues to parents. But at the end, people were more curious about

how I was surviving socially. More than one said, you have to write a

book."

Fisher, who grew up on the Main Line, Philadelphia, the daughter of a

builder and a stay-at-home mom, says that after her husband died, "it

took me a while before I felt any interest and courage in dating

again. Then I made all the mistakes you can make. I was a great mom

but I didn’t know what I was doing when I started dating again. I met

someone, got swept off my feet, and let the relationship go too fast

without being aware that my children weren’t traveling along with me.

Then I married this person. I divorced after two and a half years. By

that time, my daughter was 16, my son 12. When I resumed dating, I was

a lot wiser. And throughout this whole period, I’ve always been

approached by single moms asking, how do I date?"

She did write the book, "Mom, There’s A Man in the Kitchen and He’s

Wearing Your Robe: The Single Mother’s Guide to Dating Well Without

Parenting Poorly" (Da Capo Lifelong Books, February, 2005). Fisher

gives a book signing at Barnes & Noble MarketFair on Wednesday, June

1. The book has already gone into a second printing, and sold more

than 10,000 copies.

"It’s a humorous, honest approach to dating as a single parent, based

on my own experiences, and interviews with single moms, the children

of single moms, the men who date single moms, and a few

psychologists," says Fisher. "It’s meant to be a very down-to-earth

candid view written by a woman who’s been there."

Fisher earned a bachelors in journalism from Temple University in

1973, then married her first husband, whom she met in school, in 1975.

She became a reporter, then bureau chief of the state house in

Trenton, then New Jersey state editor for UPI. When her daughter was

young and she was pregnant with her son, she went back to Temple to a

three-year program in landscape design, and earned her degree in 1987.

But even in her new profession, writing would beckon and Fisher turned

an industry newsletter of the APLD (Association for Professional

Landscape Designers) into a full-fledged trade journal.

Determined to pursue her two dreams of becoming a magazine writer and

writing her own book, Fisher went back to school again, this time

earning a masters in English and publishing from Rosemont College

(near Bryn Mawr). In 2003 she graduated, the same year her daughter

graduated from Johns Hopkins, and her son graduated from the

Lawrenceville School. She prepared a nonfiction book proposal and

sample chapter and was able to get an agent. "Once I had an agent, I

knew it was just a matter of time (before the book sold)," she says.

She was given six months to write the book, all the while keeping up

her freelance work, as a feature writer for Main Line Today magazine.

She has also written for Child magazine.

Following are five tips Fisher says she likes to share from "Mom,

There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe:"

Date when you’re ready and not when others think you should be. Ignore

the comments of well-meaning family and friends and nosy neighbors who

will judge that you’re dating too soon or not soon enough. You’ll know

when you have the desire to be held again, to have sex, to have a man

to flirt with and to confide in.

Feel good in your own skin. Too many

people aren’t healed after a bad marriage, and they go out there

making their own mistakes. You need to like who you are before

starting another relationship.

Be honest with your children from the outset. Too many people say,

I’ll tell my kids when I’m in love, but by the time that happens,

their children don’t even know they’ve been dating.

Lose the guilt. You are entitled to have a social life.

Save your unbridled passion for behind locked doors. We do not realize

how much passion will play when we resume dating, particularly if

we’ve been in a sexless marriage. Hence the title of the book. Women

get caught all the time.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 6, "And You thought Sex was a Thing of

the Past":

"Maribeth judged the mothers who got caught in inappropriate moments

as being reckless. That was before she met Wally. After a few dates, a

physical affection began to develop between them, taking on a life of

its own, a breathless, out-of-control, God what have I been missing?’

quality. Self-control gave way to lust.

One evening, Wally, confident Maribeth’s children were safely squared

away in bed, lifted her onto the top of the washing machine. In their

hot-blooded, libidinous excitement, Maribeth’s very naked butt hit the

timer on the machine, discharging an excruciatingly loud buzzer into

the quiet of the night.

A moment later a little voice said, ‘Mom?’"

Fisher might as well add, "Believe in happy endings" to her list. She

has been dating a man who lives in Princeton for three years, who she

actually met 10 years ago, at a funeral of a close friend’s parent.

But, recently widowed, Fisher felt it was too soon to date. Over the

next seven years, they came in and out of each other’s lives, with one

being available when the other was not. Three years ago, the close

friend’s husband had a heart attack and went into a coma. Fisher and

her new love seemed to always be at the hospital at the same time.

Fisher says: "He finally said, maybe we should get together out of the

hospital." And how are her kids taking it? "They have grown to be

very, very fond of this man. And here’s another coincidence: he’s a

graduate of Hamilton College, just like my son." Go figure.

– Jamie Saxon

"Mom, There’s a Man in the Kitchen and He’s Wearing Your Robe," book

talk and signing by Ellie Slott Fisher, Wednesday, June 1, 7 p.m.,

Barnes & Noble MarketFair. 609-716-1570.


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