“Patti Leighton from the bank called me,” said Sandy Fisher of West Tisbury, “and when you get a call from the bank, you go, Oh boy, what have I done now.” Fisher needn’t have worried. “You knew this day was coming,” Leighton said. “Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank is holding its 110th Anniversary, and we want to tell everyone about your passbook savings account as part of our Customer Appreciation Week.”
Fisher’s parents, Muriel and Fred Fisher II, opened the account for Sandy with the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank (today known as the Martha’s Vineyard Bank) shortly after she was born in 1954. It was account No. 3.
“It’s always been special, having that account,” said Fisher, “although sometimes I’ll go in and, especially if there’s someone new, they’ll say, ‘Account No. 3 … can that be right?’ … and I’ll say, Just put some zeros in front of it and it’ll work.”
Muriel and Fred Fisher II owned Nip and Tuck Farm in West Tisbury, and her brother, Fred Fisher III, still lives on the family farm today. “They [originally] opened the account with egg money,” Fisher said, “so it would have been very little money.”
“I always kept the account, and I did save money,” Fisher said. “I tried to use that money for something pleasurable, not to pay bills. It’s a savings account, it should be used for a goal or a trip.” Back then she used to use it to save money up for the Fair. She added that one winter, her father had to borrow between $100 and $200 from her savings account to afford to buy hay, which he did pay back to her. “He always felt bad about that,” Fisher said. She also used some of her savings to help pay for her college tuition.
Fisher had been afraid that when the Dukes County Savings Bank and the Martha’s Vineyard Cooperative Bank merged in 2007 that she would lose her account, but she is grateful that she was able to keep it.
She also said that when her parents died, there had been an issue with their names being on the account, and that she again might have lost the account, but that did not happen. Fisher said that since then, she has put one of her children’s names on the account, so they “don’t lose it.”
Back when she was growing up, Fisher said, she would give her money to Mrs. Bardwell at the bank, who would hand-write in her deposits. Fisher credits her parents opening the savings account for her as a way to instill the positive, lifelong habit of saving money. She also opened savings accounts at the bank for her two daughters, Anya Toteanu and Constance Toteanu. “They’re all grown up, but they keep their accounts,” Fisher said. And Anya’s first job out of college was working at the Martha’s Vineyard Bank.
When Anya started working at Humphreys Bakery, “I made her bank her paycheck, and she could spend her tips,” Fisher said, who added that both of her children are “very good at saving money.”
Fisher also had a foster daughter, and she opened a savings account for her as well. In addition, her 6-month-old grandson, Riley, visited the Island on Feb. 16, and Fisher and Riley’s mother, Anya, opened a savings account for him as well, to keep the family savings tradition alive.