A Retirement of Service with Barbara Fitzsimon


Whether you’re working or retired, few things feel better than impacting your community in a positive way. If you can put a smile on the faces of those around you, you’ll feel fulfilled and happy.

And you can do the same, no matter what your career is now or when you plan to retire. And in this episode, you’ll hear from Barbara Fitzsimon. After working in service of her community, she retired and still volunteers to help others out.

Want to hear how to serve your community even after you’re retired? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • How you could buy a ranch for retirement with nothing but patience and bonds. ([5:27])
  • Why helping people in your community makes you even happier than them ([11:42])
  • The simple way to know exactly when it’s time to retire ([15:08])
  • How to touch many people’s lives (even if you live in a tiny town) ([20:41])


DLP031 - A Retirement of Service with Barbara Fitzsimon



Do you want a wealthy retirement without worrying about money? Welcome to retire in Texas, where you will discover how to enjoy your faith, your family, and your freedom in the state of Texas. And now here’s your host financial advisor, author and all around good Texan, Darryll Lyons. 


([00:29]): Hey, this is Darryl Lyons CEO and co-founder of PAX financial group. Uh, you’re listening to retire in Texas. And before we get started, I need to share the disclosure with you. This information is general in nature. Only it is not intended to provide legal tax or specific financial advice. Please visit PAX financial group.com for more information because P’s financial group is the sponsor of this program. And so I do appreciate them doing that. And also, I wanna let you know that if you want to talk to an advisor in a complimentary, really non-threatening format, then just text 7 48 68 and put in Texas 7 48, 68, Texas. All right. Let’s get started. So I’m excited today because fellow Castroville resident. Yes. Yeah. So Barbara fit Simon’s here and, and we’re both from Castroville, but I’m not like homegrown Castroville. I moved there my senior year in high school, which is always kind of challenging, but Castroville, what I love about Castroville is the Alsation route. So are you Alsation? Yes. <laugh> you are, you are. Yes, we are. Yes. So like how far does that go back? Is that your, oh, I’m not exactly sure. It’s just, we’ve always just been Al yeah. All stations. Can you tell the audience they’re kinda like what’s out. Can you tell people what S it’s kind of French German, a French German mix. It’s an actual country, right? Yes. And is that, what’s the name of the country? Oh, gosh. Is it ALS say sine? I say Lorraine, is that the name of it? Yes. And so, or like their sister city is what they say in Castroville. Okay. And so I guess what happened is, is that group of people migrated to Castroville maybe Honda, are there ALS in Honda or no, nothing more, more Castroville yeah. Okay. And so they migrated there and they settled there and there’s people that still speak Alsation do you speak ALS? 


([02:10]): I do not have very few. My generation really didn’t do very much. We had a few that did, but, uh, mostly the older generation. So my generation does not very much. I do have a girlfriend that does, and I loved listening to her. She speaks at the south station. Yeah. Two of the girls and they do it together and it’s a lot of fun. And so when I moved from Harlan and to cashier bill, there were three things introduced to me, a ke of beer in the middle of nowhere, a big, the biggest bucket of chicken dumplings that you could possibly find in Parisa and Parisa yes. We just went to a family wedding in Missouri this weekend and we took jerky and Parisa. Can you tell the audience what Paris is? And then we’ll get into your story. Low cashable for it is hamburger meat. It is not cooked. Uh, it’s got onions and cheese in it, but it’s I guess kind like a pat. I hear people describe it as a pet Uhhuh. You eat it on crackers and it’s very good. People love it. I know it, but I’ve never been sick of it yet and I’ve been eating it all my life <laugh> so, yeah. So you do the big bucket of dumplings and yes, we definitely do. My husband makes the best chicken dumplings around. We have a Memorial dove hunt once a year for his brother. And that’s what he takes for the dove hunt. Huge thing. Did you grow up in Castroville born and raised in lacos Texas. LaCosta sister city, six miles away from Castroville. Okay. Population 674 at the time. So just so you know, I think officially I’m in Lacoss. I lived in that little trailer park right there. I don’t even know the road, but it’s lacos and then you take a hard, left it down. 


([03:36]): That lacos road off. I am 90. So anyways, I, yeah, I guess officially I lived in that super lane, I guess. I think that’s what it is. Yeah. Super lane. Yeah. And so, yeah, I lived, uh, lived there, so I guess officially I’m from lacos too. There you go. So you grew up in lacos born and raised 18 years. Same house. Not many people live in LACO. There’s a train track there. Yes. We started out in a small house and then my mom and dad would save up money, add another room, save up money, add another room. We always joke that we wouldn’t have Blackland. We’d have white lung from all the sheetrock all the time. That’s funny. So, and so what did your parents do? My dad worked at Kelly field. He was involved with a aircraft production planning with the B 50 twos. It’s what my pop did. And my mom is a stay-at-home mom until the last kiddo was out. And then she and my aunt, uh, went to beauty school and they became beauticians. And, uh, so our houses were side by side with a garden in the middle. So they got rid of the garden, built a beauty shop. So although our moms were at work, they were still right next door. That’s really cool. Yeah. And so Kelly, if your dad was in aerospace mechanics, kind of stuff, Kelly, for those that are listening is now port San Antonio. There you go. And, uh, Kelly was an important base for many years and it got reassigned and redeveloped. It’s really an important part of our San Antonio economy. And so the commute was just down 90. It wasn’t too bad from LA cost specifically. And so if you describe that profile, it sounds like you’re kind of middle class. 


([05:02]): Is that right? Yes. I would say middle class. Yeah. And so did you have brothers and sisters? I did. I had an older sister and an older brother and then there was myself and then my younger brother. Okay. It’s four of y’all four, two boys, boys, two girls, two boys. Did your parents ever sit down and talk to you about money? Or how did you learn about that? I mean, just through observation, anything you caught, I guess a lot through observation, but something that sticks in my mind is that every other week my dad would on Friday would get a bond in the mail. And so they stacked those bonds up, stacked them up. And then when he retired, they bought a ranch with all those bonds, 55 acres out in divine, which is, you know, another neighbor’s place out in the country. And so that was kind of why I learned about saving through bonds, through bonds. That’s what, that’s what they did back in the day, I guess. Yeah. So when I worked at Bank of America, that’s how I paid my way through college. People would come in with these bonds all the time. Right. And on the bond, it would say like, I don’t know, I’m making this up $50. And people thought they were getting $50 mm-hmm <affirmative> but they were, when they were redeeming it before it had matured, it was a fraction of that. So I was like, I’m sorry, ma’am, it’s only worth $20 cuz you’re redeeming it early. But apparently what your dad did very insightfully is he bought him and then just let him sit there. Absolutely. Through his whole career. My dad was from divine. My mom was from lacos. So we lived in lacos when we were growing up, but he always wanted to get back and farm again, have a little bit of cattle, a little bit of this, a little bit of that tractor, that kind of thing. 


([06:26]): And so he just left him there. They all matured and cashed him in and bought his place. That is so cool. He passed away about 12 years ago, but my mom still lives there. Wow. Now the risk is of course, if your house burned down, those bonds would have been gone almost forever. I mean, I guess you could track ’em down and today people don’t buy bonds like that. Right. It’s all done electronically, but it’s still pretty amazing. In fact, it depends on when you’re listening to this, but the day we’re producing it, the IBOs are really popular. And right now they’re paying like 9%. So there’s, there’s still people buying some bonds out there, you know, growing up middle class, your mom wasn’t working most of the time. Right? Most of the time, not. So were there any low points financially or you just kind of a steady Eddie and you go to school and do your thing and probably participated in sports and yep. And did all that kind of thing. Yeah. Oh yeah. They ran everywhere after all of us, we were all involved in everything. They ran after us and all, so yeah. We didn’t have a whole lot, well, we had what we needed. We didn’t necessarily have what we wanted. Yeah. And what I found wanting for stuff I think was actually better than after when I really got it. Right. They want it. I know that might sound crazy, but that’s just how it is. The wanting for things seemed better than when I actually got it. So then you get it and you’re like, eh, yeah. Wouldn’t that be a deal after all? Yeah. I really want those new shoes and then you get them. You’re like, eh, it’s kind of, it’s a really, really good point. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and just what a beautiful community too. Because everyone knew each other. 


([07:48]): Right? Oh my gosh. It was so great. We had so many kids. I mean, this is back in the time where we had the run of Lacot. We could just go play as long as you’re home by dark. Yeah. Then you go home and eat supper. Will you go home, eat supper? Which we always call supper. I guess it’s dinner these days. Yeah. But we go home and have supper and then we’d run out and play again. Just as long as you’re home by dark. That’s good. I’ll make sure all your chores are done. Did you tip any cows? <laugh> no cow. Tiffany? No, no, no. Well, if the police, if the local police saw you, knew you, they would just tell you to go home. Right? Absolutely. It was like just one policeman. Yeah. Like I say, it was very small. I think of the population, like I was thinking 674. Tell me the time period. More or less? Uh, I was born in 57, so kind of our running around time would be in the sixties. Yeah. And then I graduated high school in 75. That’s great. So the sixties and the seventies. That’s very cool. Did you, were you there when your, uh, mom started her business? Yes. Or was that after? Nope, I sure was. I sure was. And it was great cuz she, like I say, was right next door. She could come home, throw something from the washer to the dryer, stick something to the crockpot. Like I say, even though she wasn’t there, she was there. Yeah. Even though she was working now, she was still next door and that’s, I think it’s kind of come full circle with today’s economy where people are now able to work at home mm-hmm <affirmative> and you know, throw something in the crockpot, do some laundry while they’re working. 


([09:04]): So it’s kind of coming around again. Mm-hmm <affirmative> so it’s, it’s really, it’s really cool to hear that. So then from LA coast and Castroville what career were you in professionally? Kind of jumping ahead here. Okay. No problem at all. For 36 years, I worked with people with disabilities. Mm-hmm <affirmative> I worked for MH D D mental health, developmental disabilities. Is that a government agency? When I first started working at a state agency. Okay. And they eventually privatized, but when I first started working, it was with the state. Okay. Yeah. So how did you get there? <laugh> uh, I worked in high school at LACO cafe. Okay. There were only about five businesses in all of LaCosta and one of ’em happened to be the cafe. Yeah. And that’s where all my brothers and sisters worked. I can imagine. So anyway, we all worked through high school and so there was a gentleman in there and he told me about his daughter who worked at Travis state school in Austin Uhhuh. And so I ended up going to Travis and working there and then I married and moved to San Antonio and worked at San Antonio state school. And then eventually I ended up in divine at a sheltered workshop called tech spice, huh. Uh Huh. And that’s where, uh, the people we serve had different jobs, they packaged spices and uh, it was just a, um, assembly line. Yeah. Yeah. Which person had their job on the line until it was all packed up and ready to send out. And that was for the folks that could do that. Some folks, uh, were paraplegic, so they couldn’t work with their feet yeah. In food. And so they worked at the recycling department and uh, actually used their feet were like their hands, their interesting clothes were like their fingers and they could separate that paper cuz you didn’t wanna put too much paper in the shredder at a time or you’d break. 


([10:40]): The shredder could absolutely just get it and get a piece and put it in there. And we had so many different programs. There was like, we did, uh, we found jobs for folks in the community. We did job training. Oh. We just had lots of fun focused on those with disabilities. All that’s what all it was. Yeah. Everybody, everybody had disabilities that I worked with everybody. Wow. And so was there a lot of active duty or retired or people who had disabilities from Missy? You know, that could have been Vietnam or whatever else? No. No. Most people I would say were born that way. Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. That’s the type of thing. A mental disability, some physical, some mental, some mental, mostly, mostly mental, mostly mental. Okay. What we would consider retardation. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and so you’d find them work so that, you know, I think people understate, I always say, I think in heaven we might actually work because the character building opportunity, when you give somebody a job and the pride they have of, of getting it done, did you see that? 


([11:34]): Absolutely. Every single day. And they were happy when you said, Hey, great job. And they, you could probably see their smile, your ear. Absolutely. <laugh> every single day. It was wonderful. And the best part was my smile. I love that so much teaching people to do things might take months to teach one single thing, but they learned it and it was so great. You just had to be patient with them. Absolutely. Patience is the thing. Yeah. You would teach them something. And I maybe put an example in your brain or in your mouth, but so correct me if I’m wrong, you would teach them something and maybe they had a cognitive disability and, and they were like, I get it. And then they would make a mistake, right? Yes. Yes. Oh gosh. I guess I would have one example. When I worked at Travis state school in Austin, I had a gentleman and he just walked very, very slowly. He was smaller in stature and to teach him to leave where his group area was and to go over to the fountain and go up the two steps to push the button, to put his mouth in the correct place. Let the button go, come back down from the steps and walk back to where he was. That probably took months for him to learn how to do that independently on his own. Oh wow. Mm-hmm <affirmative> and so this organization was a nonprofit. No, no. Well, or did they make money doing something? No. No. Um, the actual people who worked. Yes. Yeah, yeah. The people who worked. Yes. They made money and oh, I’m trying now I’ve been outta the business a little while. No. Cause you were there. How, remember you were there? How long over at tech spice. I was there for about uh, 25 years I would say. 


([13:02]): Wow. 25 years over at tech spice, but all in, all done from Travis state school, San Antonio state school and uh, tech spice, sheltered work center. 36 years. So 36 years of your life, you’ve been serving people. Adults. Yes. With disabilities. Yes. Oh my goodness. Yes. Well, thank you. Thank you for doing that. Yeah. And so when did you officially retire? Okay. So after they privatized, they were no longer state. So then they privatized and things just weren’t the same anymore as sometimes. That’s just how it goes. Yeah. And so just at that time, our church St. Louis Catholic church in Castville was looking for a business manager, Uhhuh <affirmative>. And so I interviewed for that and I got that. So my last five years of work were actually at St. Louis Church as a business manager. And so I retired in 1997. Okay. So I’ve been, September will be five years. I’m retired now. Okay. And now for those that are listening, just tuning in, we’re talking with Barbara fit Simon. She is an Alsation from cash bill lacrosse, sexes. And you’re listening to retire in Texas. And for those that are interested in meeting with a financial advisor, just for a 15 minute consult, no cost, no pressure. Just text Texas to the number 7 48, 68, that’s Texas 70 48, 68. And that’s just my kind of nudge to get you in our community. Okay. So when you were working at the church in Castroville, you were responsible and I’m guessing for this big event, the fundraiser event each year, was that your job? Yes. Part of it, we do have a committee of like, oh, about eight people that each one of the person on the committee is in charge of probably, oh, I’m gosh, I say five or six booths themselves getting it together with all of those people and all, but yes, I guess I was, had to take care of all the other stuff that overall them, I guess. 


([14:48]): Yeah. And what did that money Buse? What did the money go to? It’s just a part of our budget. It’s a part of the church’s budget. Okay. I know there’s some scholarships that they give out and some other things. Okay. So now that would actually be our St. Louis society. Okay. Out of St. Anne’s society or Gulu pondas, people like that, but not the actual church. It was actually part of our budget. Okay. Yeah. Makes sense. So when you retired, what was one of the trickier decisions? Because, okay, so you had 36 years helping adults with disabilities, have the character building opportunity to learn about how to do things in life, which is, uh, fascinating to me. I could talk about that all day. And then you have five years at the church and then you officially retire. What was one of the trickier decisions when you had to make the transition into well, air quotes, retirement, right. It’s so funny how they say when, you know, you know, and I knew, and that gave a two weeks notice and that was that I don’t know. It just decided it was time. And I think the thing is making sure your days are full, you know, having activities and things to do money wise. We were set, we had taken the day Ramsey course. Okay. Yeah. Years before. So when we retired, we had no debt. We owed nobody, anything. And that is the way we could retire. We had no payments except of course cell phone utilities, things like that. But that’s how you were raised. Right. Not take a lot of debt. Absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Absolutely. That’s how we were raised. Right. So I think the filling up your days to make sure that you’re, you know, have things to do. So my husband and I both, we do a lot of volunteer services as our friends say, we work for God now. 


([16:09]): So tell me about what that is. What’s the volunteer services. Okay. Well, we work on our, the bereavement committee. So that of course is when someone passes away, we make the food for the family and friends and whoever would wanna come stay for the meal. Afterwards, I work with our St. Vincent DEPA. I’m our treasurer, the treasurer of our St. Vincent DePaul. I give communion to shut-ins. So I just did that yesterday, which is awesome. That just people cannot get to church anymore. So a parish nurse goes with us, goes with the communion minister. And of course she does her little assessment each time. And then we give the communion, say some prayers, things like that. And just this morning, I let a rosary. I do that for the funeral. Home led a rosary this morning. Oh my gosh. Yeah. We count, uh, you know how in church, they take up the offertory on Monday mornings, my husband and I both, we are the money counters. Get the money together, get it. The deposit slips made, get ’em over to the bank. I, I don’t know. I, uh, well, this is now all that. Now there’s a rumor that you hug babies too. Oh my gosh. Yes. Now that’s my, besides being a grandparent. That’s my second favorite thing. <laugh> okay. So I need to make this, I need to put context here. So first of all, I’m blown away because you know, many of us are like, okay, we check the box. We are retired now. It’s box news and flower beds. We’re good. And what I’m hearing you saying is you’ve mustered up and you, haven’t no excuses. You’ve mustered up the energy in time to say, I’m gonna give back. And not only are you giving back, but you’re doing it in a way that it’s enjoyable. I mean, you’re having fun. You’re smiling. 


([17:35]): You’re giving back and you raised how many kids, three, all boys, all boys. And they’re amazing. And, uh, I know you’re proud of them and your grand babies, but you said it outside of them. What’s your second, most favorite thing to do? My second, most favorite thing to do is cuddle babies at the NICU. That’s one thing I just, I love kids and I love babies. And so that was just something that I saw as a need. I had a girlfriend whose grandbaby was born with issues and needed to be in the NICU for a while. And so she was telling me about the cuddling program. So I went and of course, there’s a little, of course you have to take, you have to have different immunizations, different things. These babies are compromised already. Sure. So you have to, you know, so the sad part though, is when COVID hit, we have not gone back yet to doing it. So that is what I’m waiting for. I talked to the lady in charge about a month ago and she said, she feels pretty soon, but you know, these kiddos are compromised. So we just don’t wanna be taking them many, any risk ger or any, any risks. Let me go back a little bit real quick. So where is it? St. Luke’s hospital here in San Antonio. In the medical center. Okay. So that’s in San Antonio, so St. Luke’s hospital. So what I’m hearing is there’s a program where the babies that are in NICU need to be cuddled. Well, we’re called cuddlers. And what it is is like, let’s say this baby is born early, or maybe this baby has issues or different kinds of things. But the thing is the parents work. They have other children. Yeah. You know, things like that. 


([19:06]): So they cannot spend 24, 7 at the hospital. And so we cuddlers are in different ships or shifts where we try to have someone there most of the time. Because each one of the nurses is in charge of a pod. So that’s four babies. They’ve got, they’ve got to feed, they’ve got to do everything too. They might be bringing someone in. They may be discharging someone. Yeah. They may be, uh, running the parents through the classes of everything CPR or how do you put your car seat in your car? All those different kinds of things. Yeah. That they have to do, you know? So they are busy. And so when you get there, they’re like, pick me, pick me cuz there’s different pods. I see there. I see. So they’re just like pick me, pick me. They want, they want help. Yeah. So we just go in and help and, and, and so you just cuddle the babies, you just cuddle the babies, you just love ’em you just hug them and love them. Yeah. And they love it. They love it. They love it. Wow. Yes. It’s very, it’s very important. The cuddling and how many people do this at St. Luke’s? I would say we probably had close to 20. Wow. That’s at the time when yeah. Yeah. And everybody has their certain days. They do their best at certain times. And so, so you lived your life raising these boys who became really exceptional people. And throughout the time, serving people with disabilities, helping them have character, building opportunities of learning new tasks. And now you’re a cuddler. I am. That’s a pretty cool story. Well done. It’s a service. That’s what my parents taught us to serve. They did service to others, and now we do service to others. So what are you gonna do in the next chapter of your life? Same thing. Just keep on doing it. Love to travel. Um, just, uh, play with grandkids. 


([20:34]): I love it. That’s so cool. It’s really encouraging and inspiring. And those that have just caught the show, Barbara fit Simon, you have to think about her life in, in the context of little Lacot Texas, and now all the lives that you’ve touched. Ah, thank you. And we often think, well, you know, we’ve left a legacy with our kids and our kids, kids, and that’s of course important, but the legacy you’ve left through the lives of people. Who’ve had mental and physical disabilities and now you’ll never know the impact that you had on cuddling a baby. Right. But Nope, not on this side of heaven at least, but wow. It’s pretty fascinating. And all the wild never died from Parisa no, no. Never died from Parisa <laugh> so yeah, this is great now. Okay. So there’s so much I could ask. I really wanted to dive into some certain things and hear a few stories, but obviously, you know, we try to keep this show in about 20 minutes, but I do have one final question. Yes, sir. What’s your favorite salsa van hot sauce because they grew up right down the road from us, but now they actually are San Antonio farms. They have sold now. And so it’s San Antonio farms and I think it’s an HEB, I think. Okay. That’s a good plug for them. I’ll have to try that out. Nobody said that one yet. Do you like it spicy or? I am medium. Medium. Okay. Good. Good. Well, thank you so much for hanging out. You’re welcome. This has been great. And again, you’re listening to retire in Texas. If you’re interested in talking with a financial advisor, just no, no cost, no pressure. Text 7 48 68 and put in the word Texas. And I wanna remind everyone one more time. You think different when you think long term, 

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