Welcome to this week’s Sunday interview and today we are going to get to know Patty Fletcher a little better. Patty and I have been connect for the last year and she very kindly shares many of my posts which is much appreciated. Patty and her dog King Campbell are also the authors of a number of books and we will find out more about those later.
In the meantime here is a little bit about Patty.
I’m a 49-year-old single mother with a beautiful daughter, of whom I am very proud. I have a great son-in-law and five beautiful grandchildren. Three girls, and two boys. I hope to be able to write more about them later on.
I own and handle a Black Labrador from The Seeing Eye™ named Campbell Lee–a.k.a. Bubba Lee or King Campbell, to give just a couple of his nicknames.
I was born on November 9, 1967 in Kingsport, Tenn., where I also grew up. I was born one and a half months premature. My blindness was caused by my being given too much oxygen in the incubator. I was partially sighted until 1991, at which time I lost my sight due to an infection after cataract surgery and high eye pressure. I used a cane for 31 years before making the change to a guide dog.
I wrote Campbell’s Rambles: How a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life to tell the story of how going to The Seeing Eye™ and getting Campbell, learning to love, handle, and work him, then coming home and adding him to my life, gave me true freedom. You can read more about Patty and Campbell on her blog Campbell’s World
And you can read excerpts from Patty’s books – My Books
Now time to find out which questions Patty has chosen to answer.
Hello Sally, I would just like to thank you for this opportunity and here are the answers to the questions I picked. Dang. It was hard picking.
Welcome Patty and can you describe the most embarrassing moment of your life?
I still cannot believe this happened. LOL! 😊
It was my first night at The Seeing Eye in Morristown, New Jersey. I probably hadn’t been there more than a couple of hours. I’d arrived late and was already feeling rather frazzled. So, it should be no surprise that I went down such a rabbit hole. My instructor and I had finished the tour of the main building of the school, and we were standing just outside my room door talking.
Now, just before I’d been accepted to the program I’d broken the tooth that was connected to my dental partial. A partial I might add of my three front teeth. I hadn’t been able to wear it, then we’d moved, and I’d lost it and could not afford to replace it. So, I had to go to a place where I knew no one and do one of the hardest things in my life I would ever do without my front teeth. I wouldn’t find out until much later that my EX had thrown the partial away while we were waiting for my mouth to heal so it could be put back. He’d thrown it away thinking I would not go to get a guide dog without them.
So, anyhow, I was standing there and suddenly I heard myself beginning to explain why I had no front teeth. My instructor had not asked me. Why would he. Furthermore, why on earth was I telling him. On and On I spun my yarn, and longer and longer it did unravel. Problem, once I got started talking I could find no way to shut up.I was in it to win it. I had to tell the whole darn story.I kept hoping he would interrupt me. Anything. But, no! He had to be polite and let me talk!
When I was done he cleared his throat and simply said…“It’s not all that noticeable.”
Then, he wished me a good night and walked away.
I wanted to crawl under the carpet there in that hall and slip on back to Tennessee where I felt such a stupid hick must belong. To this day I cringe and laugh at the same time when I think of it.
Which is the most important thing you ever lost, and did you ever find it?
I guess it’s not really a thing, but the most important thing I ever lost were my daughter and grandchildren. Due to many dreadful things happening during her childhood, and my continuing refusal a few years ago to get into and remain in therapy for my mental illness, my daughter felt it was simply best for she and I to no longer see one another nor to allow me access to my grandchildren.Though I am now in treatment and have made many changes in my life she and I are still estranged, and they now live in Wisconsin and are still lost to me.
What is the one ambition that you still have not achieved?
Though I have written and self-published two full length books, feature in two anthologies and am a decently accomplished blogger, I’m still not able to support myself one-hundred percent by my writing. I don’t necessarily wish riches and fame, although I would not refuse a listing on the New York Times bestseller’s list, I would very much like to be employed as a writer in some way so as to be completely self-sufficient. I love writing. It allows me to be just who and what I wish to be. When I write whether it is for work or pleasure it is joyful to me.
I have suffered some serious illness over the past year and find I have added to my list of disabilities. So, finding a job has been hard. Being out and about in large crowds no longer gives me pleasure and I enjoy a more solitary life. Writing as a job would most likely allow that to continue. I get panic attacks every-time I think about going back out into the public work-force as a phone customer service rep or something because I am aware of what my limitations are. If animals could talk which one would you have a conversation with?
If animals could truly talk I’d really like to talk to the birds.
I know…I know…! Everyone was expecting me to say I’d like to talk to King Campbell A.K.A Bubba my Super Seeing Eye Dog. But. I do that all the time and for the most part I know what he is saying. As far as what I don’t know, it’s probably just as well I don’t.
But. The birds can fly. They can see things we cannot. They know things we cannot know, and me being a writer and all, well I’m curious about those things they know that we do not, and I want to know and write of them.
Just yesterday I was sitting out on my back deck with Campbell and I said to him…
“Bubba if you listen to what those birds are saying you will learn things. If you can understand them and you ask nicely they will tell you wondrous stories of things no land-bound animal two or four legged could ever know.”
I think it would be most fascinating to interview an eagle or hawk. Or.
Maybe an owl because they are out at night and as we know there is a whole other world that lives when the sun goes down and the moon shines.
Would it not be just the most spectacular thing ever to talk to the birds? That’s a story the New York Times would surely publish.
If you were given a million dollars what would you do with it?
WOW! If I were given a million dollars the first thing to be done would be to call the EMTS to revive me from having fainted.
Once I was back to myself the fun would begin.
I would first donate a portion of my new found money to the best organization in this world. The Seeing Eye. THE SEEING EYE® and SEEING EYE® are registered trademarks of The
Seeing Eye: http://www.seeingeye.org/ The Seeing Eye is the largest and oldest guide dog school in the world and I meant it when I said…“a Seeing Eye Dog Retrieved My Life.”
Sally here: I have found a video talking about the history of The Seeing Eye organsation courtesy of CBS Sunday Morning
Once that was squared away I would make certain to set something aside for my daughter son-in-law and grands. Not that they need my help, it’s just something I’d really love to do.
I would, with the help of someone knowledgeable in such things, invest it in such a way that it would grow that way they would have it when they needed or wanted it. There would be no strings. I simply would love to do something for my family.
I would have a home built to my exact specifications and it would have every possible visual aid. There would be a totally fenced yard, a pool for me and one for my dogs. Yes, I said dogs. If I had that much money I’d want more than one. Campbell used to love having a play-mate.There would be awesome shade trees in the front and back yard.
Then I would open my own business. I’ve always wanted a book cafe. I want to serve specialty coffees, teas, and the finest wines and beers. Wonderfully delicious snacks, and there would be books…books…books… and did I happen to mention books?
I would have authors of all descriptions do readings and book signings and the money I made would go to not only grow that business but to assist with the continuation of The National Library Services For the Blind and Physically Handicap so that the Talking-Book program could last forever and beyond. https://www.loc.gov/nls/
I would then be able to write to my heart’s content and no longer would I struggle.
Once my money had begun to grow from all the most awesome works I would be doing I would then set up a scholarship fund for disabled writers who want to publish books that simply do not have the money to do it.
They would have to work for it, because I feel something worked for holds much more value than what is simply handed out. So, they’d have to prove themselves in some way. I believe that the majority of those in need would much rather have a hand-up, than a hand-out.
I would like it to be so that I were able to help many others like myself become the very best they could be. I have so many dreams that I may never make into reality due to my financial situation so, should I ever find myself in a position to help others it would give me immense pleasure to help those like me reach their goals and beyond.
Patty also wanted to share one of her favourite songs. The Power of Love.. there are a number of versions but this one by Jennifer Rush is one of my most listened to.
Now let’s look at Patty’s books
About Campbell’s Rambles
This is the story of how the author obtained her first guide dog, Campbell, from The Seeing Eye™ in Morristown, New Jersey: what motivated her, the extensive training she had, the special relationship she developed with her trainer, and the good friends she made.
Once she returned home to Tennessee, there were many new challenges to be met and overcome, including domestic abuse. All that was in addition to her chronic conditions of bipolar disorder and fibromyalgia.
With honesty, courage, and humor, Patty Fletcher tells a remarkable story of personal development that is sure to inform, entertain, and inspire others, both blind and sighted.
One of the reviews for the book
I really enjoyed this book! Patty Fletcher is a great writer. She shares in a vulnerable and authentic voice about not only getting her seeing eye dog, Campbell, but about her life. I really love her dog, Campbell. He is so smart and protective. You can feel his love for Patty in the story. I’m sorry for all she has gone through but she shows in her story that she is strong and is an over-comer. Her story will surely inspire others in similar situations. I highly recommend this book!
About Bubba Tails
In this magical and love filled tail, King Campbell AKA Bubba travels to the puppy nursery at The Seeing Eye to help ready a group of puppies who are just about to embark on the fabulous journey of learning to become Seeing Eye dogs. Just as he is about to finish his tail, a wee pup becomes very frightened of all that lies ahead, and one frightfully stormy night she runs away! Will King Campbell hear the urgent call from the puppy nursery in time? Will they find her and save her so she can fulfill her destiny? The use of Tail instead of Tale for story and Magik instead of Magic is intended for these short stories. A great play on words from King Campbell
One of the reviews for the book
Wow! I loved reading this! What an amazing story about an incredible journey. This is about a journey from The Seeing Eye, Inc. in New Jersey to Kingsport Tennessee, but is also about the journey of a loving owner, and her special canine companion. I loved reading the story through King Campbell’s point of view, and how he is talking to the next litter of pups about to train as Seeing Eye Dogs. This is something the has always fascinated me and was the first time I was really allowed a look at some of what goes into training these special dogs. The book is made all the more exciting because the author and her dog Campbell went through this journey years ago. Such a creative way to share their story, and I can’t wait to read more of King Campbell’s Bubba Tails!
Both books can be found on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Campbells-Rambles-Seeing-Retrieved-Life-ebook/dp/B00MAVYBHK
And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Patty-L.-Fletcher/e/B00Q9I7RWG/
Connect to Patty
Thank you for dropping in today and Patty would love to receive your comments and questions.. Thanks Sally