Hello to all.
I’ve stopped into the Author’s Corner to share a new writing project with you.
CAMPBELL’S RAMBLES TRILLOGY:BOOK ONE HOW A SEEING EYE DOG RETRIEVED MY LIFE, BOOK TWO: THE RAW TRUTH, AND BOOK THREE: EDUCATING THE UNEDUCATED
Throughout the next few months from time to time I’ll be sharing little snippets of this work with you as well as the trials and triumphs that go along with undertaking such a fabulous task.
That having been said, I’d like to share the following work with you. Please take into consideration when reading that this is in no way the finished product and will be reworked probably a hundred times or so.
CHAPTER ONE: EPIPHANY
It was a nice spring afternoon in May of 2010. My good friend Phyllis and her guide dog Emmy, and I were out for the day. We’d been shopping and had gone to lunch in the mall. We were returning to the store where Phyllis had left her packages when I came to the realization that yes, I really did need a guide dog.
We had just left Ruby Tuesdays, and not 10 minutes before while finishing lunch, I’d asked her how we would stay together. She told me to simply listen for the bell on Emmy’s collar and to stay right behind her. I was cane traveling at the time and had no idea what was in store for me. I’d been around plenty of guide dogs and their handlers, but I’d had some sight then, and I’d never tried to follow a handler in a crowded area—and certainly not while cane traveling totally on my own. So I had no clue what was about to happen to me. I would come to see what happened next as a true epiphany.
We were going along quite well, when suddenly, we came to a very crowded area in the mall. Emmy found an opening in the crowd, and with Phyllis following along, took it. I was left eating their dust, saying, “Where the hell did they go?” I stood for a moment, letting what had just happened sink in, and then realized that I had not one clue how to get to where Emmy and Phyllis had been going. I’d never walked through this mall—or any mall, for that matter—alone, and so knew nothing of how it was laid out. So I was forced to ask for and accept help from someone who truly annoyed me. They had this “poor little blind girl” attitude that really gets under my skin.
Once Emmy, Phyllis, and I were back together again and outside waiting for the bus, I asked what had happened. She explained what Emmy had done and apologetically admitted that she hadn’t realized we’d been separated until Emmy and she had gotten where they were going. “You know?” She joked, “These things wouldn’t happen if you didn’t go round chasing a stick.”
I went home that night and gave what she had said some serious thought. The next day, I phoned her to ask how I would go about getting more information about applying for training at The Seeing Eye. I had wanted a guide dog for years, but somehow, something always seemed to be in the way.
I was a single mother, and when Polly, my daughter, was very young, my mother didn’t think it was a great idea for me to be away from her for so long. Then when she’d gotten old enough that she could have been left, I was not in a place that would have been safe for me to work a dog. Nor did I go anyplace where I could work one, because I’d ended up where there was no public transportation. I’d had an O&M instructor come to visit me once while living there and his opinion was that I simply was not in a good place for owning and handling a guide dog. I must say since having the whole guide dog experience I’ve often wondered how different mine and Polly’s lives might’ve been had I made the changes necessary in my life to make having a Guide Dog possible.
Eventually, in 2005, I moved to another apartment complex, where I lived until October of 2010. There, with my then Fiancé Donnie’s help, I rehabilitated myself a little.
Rehabilitating myself meant that I needed to relearn some of what I’d forgotten when I had ended up in an apartment where I had no public transportation. I needed to relearn some cane skills. I had to learn how to navigate the bus system and get reacquainted with doing things I’d always done but had forgotten over the years of living in isolation. It wasn’t until then that I began to seriously consider making the change from cane traveler to guide dog user.
Suddenly, I knew I could wait no longer. I knew in my heart that, without a doubt, it was time for me to take this step. I was also quite certain that The Seeing Eye was where I wanted to train.
Once realizing going to The Seeing Eye and getting a guide dog was what I truly wanted, there were a lot of things to do to make that happen. The first of those was applying for acceptance into the training program. I contacted Phyllis and asked her what I needed to do to apply. She gave me their phone number and the name of the lady in charge of Graduate Services, and I began the task.
I contacted Graduate Services by email in late May of 2010, letting them know that I was interested. I was sent an application to fill out; soon, I was on my way toward achieving my goal. After completing a lot of paperwork, I waited to hear from them. It seemed to take forever, but I suppose, it didn’t take that long. I soon had an appointment set with one of their field reps. He was to come down and evaluate me to see if I qualified for training.
Finally that day arrived. When he came to my house, Emmy and Phyllis were with him. As she gave me a hug, Phyllis said, “Just here for support!” We talked for a while, and the rep asked me many questions. He asked me about my life, about things I normally did; I knew he was trying to get a better idea of my daily life so they could find a dog that would be the best possible match for me.
After a while we went outside, and he observed me cane traveling to and from the bus stop down the street from my apartment and back. Honestly, I was surprised he didn’t reject me out of hand without going any further. Truth is I really didn’t know my way to and from the stop all that well. Most times when I took the mass transit Donnie was with me and I walked sighted guide. But still, he continued, and we did a Juno Walk. During a Juno Walk, an instructor has you take the harness handle, which they’re holding, and walk with them to see how well you walk and how well you follow directions. This way, they can get an idea of your walking speed and how well you can sense direction. Once that was done, there was nothing to do but wait until they called.
They contacted me near the end of 2010 to tell me they had a class date for me. They wanted me to come in January of 2011, but I had work obligations that I simply could not turn over to anyone else, so I was forced to turn them down. A couple of days later, they called back to say that they could have me come on April 2, and did I think that would work for me. I told them I would make it work.
As we talked, I shared a brief update concerning my living arrangements. I explained that Donnie, and I had moved from the apartment complex where we’d been neighbors to a large, three–bedroom house with a second large, three–bedroom apartment up top, above the attached garage in which I lived.
I described the new neighborhood explaining that I was now living in more of a residential area, with houses, schools, churches, and even a neighborhood park. I told her there were multiple bus stops in the area for me to use, and I told her about the little corner market that Donnie and I walked to sometimes.
It excited me to think what great and wondrous adventures awaited me.
I went to my supervisor and spoke to him about my needing a month off to go to Morristown, New Jersey to The Seeing Eye. After much back and forth discussion between the two of us and a bit of strong encouragement from my coworker Dawn, we soon had an agreement. Donnie who was already volunteering as my assistant, would take my place while I was gone. This would not only assure that the job would be done well in my absence, but it would also allow us to maintain the income we needed to continue to live in our home.
Then the real fun began. I had to have clothes, shoes, and even luggage so that I could make the trip properly. Donnie and I went clothes and shoe shopping, and my father took me to buy luggage. He wanted me to have a new set, so that traveling would be easier for me.
Despite dad’s being concerned about my transitioning from a cane traveler to guide dog handler as was always his way he made certain I had all I needed to succeed.
3) PRE-TRAINING AND CONFLICT
Once clothing, shoes, and luggage were secure, the next thing I needed to do was try to get in better physical shape. Since training was going to involve a lot of walking, I decided that walking each day would be a great way to begin. So walk I did. I had to start out slowly—or I should say, Donnie and I had to start out slowly. I couldn’t walk anywhere much at all by myself with just my cane. Sure, I went places, but I went by myself only if those places were very close to the bus stop. So I needed Donnie to help with this portion of my pre–training.
Even though it seemed to me that we walked a lot, it turned out that I still didn’t have the stamina to walk long distances. I knew that training would involve quite a bit more walking, so I began to try to talk Donnie into increasing our activity. After a while, it began to get easier, and as time went along, I began to do better and better with how far I could go.
But then we hit a real cold snap that lasted almost all through February and into the first part of March; this slowed us down quite a bit. I became slightly discouraged and didn’t work as hard as I should have to continue what I had begun. Donnie didn’t really push me very much, either. He didn’t try to motivate me as much as he should have. Once I began training at the school, I would learn very quickly that this had been a mistake. It was not, however, one that I wouldn’t be able to overcome.
Donnie and I had some personal issues. One of many was that he felt that I wouldn’t need him anymore once I got home with my new guide dog. I was concerned about how he felt, but I couldn’t really understand, so I called the school and spoke to someone in the training department about this. I learned that this was a common belief among blind people’s partners, family members, and friends: those who had always had an active role in assisting their blind loved ones. I was encouraged to continue to assure Donnie that this would not be the case, but I was also encouraged to not let this cause me to change my mind.
In fact, on several occasions due to extremely volatile arguments between the two of us concerning the fact that he simply did not see why I “Needed a dog when I had him” I had almost done just that, but I finally realized that I absolutely had to go. I was tired of being a cane traveler, tired of always finding myself needing someone to help me get here or there, someplace that just wasn’t cane accessible. I wanted the same independence that Phyllis had shown me while losing me in that mall. I was absolutely determined to make this happen—with or without Donnie’s support.
Now, looking back on that time I realize that in truth it wasn’t that Donnie was feeling like I wouldn’t need him anymore, but rather He was frightened of losing control of me. Unfortunately it would be a long time before I would even allow myself to glimpse that reality.
More about Patty L. Fletcher and her Super Seeing Eye Dog…
Welcome to my Media Kit King Campbell and I are pleased to present some wondrous stories and art work to you all. Enjoy.
Bubba Tails from the Puppy Nursery at The Seeing Eye Written by Patty L. Fletcher Told by, King Campbell Lee – The Seeing Eye Dog AKA Bubba
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
Patty Lyne Fletcher in her own words (October 2017
About me and my crew
I’m a 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.
About my blindness
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.
Where I live and work
Currently, I live and work in Kingsport, Tenn. I used to work for CONTACT-CONCERN of Northeast Tennessee, Inc. I left that position in order to spend time with family and pursue my writing full time.
Why I write.
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. I tell of how changing from being a 31-year cane user to being a guide dog handler taught me things about myself I had never known before. I tell of the wonderment I experienced when I finally took that chance.
A major goal of mine is to help others who find themselves in domestic violence situations. I also want to help others learn more about mental illnesses and how different situations and environments can drastically affect those with such challenges. I tell how training affected me physically as a result of the fibromyalgia I deal with, along with the side effects of the medications I take. I focus on bipolar disorder, on how it can go horribly wrong and cause a person to behave in ways they normally would not.
Another thing I have attempted to show is how, in certain institutional settings, attachments can develop—and how those attachments can become unhealthy for all concerned if they are not handled correctly. Most simply, I want others to know more about me.
In Bubba Tails From the Puppy Nursery At The Seeing Eye, it is King Campbell Super Seeing Eye Dog A.K.A Bubba’s turn to tell his tale.
While helping to ready a group of pups to go and meet their puppy raiser families, so they too, might one-day become Seeing Eye dogs, he tells of what it was like for him, to grow up and become a Seeing Eye dog.
My hobbies include reading, writing, music, and standup comedy. I also like nature walks, light hiking, tent camping, and fishing. No, I am not afraid to bait a hook.
Music I enjoy
My favorite types of music are classic rock, rhythm and blues, and classic country, as well as some present-day country music. I also like meditation music.
My favorite books and authors
I enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and books about the supernatural. I love the books by Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and many more. My favorite books include
Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series.
My spiritual faith
I am a spiritual walker. I claim no particular faith, either Christian or pagan. I simply know that there is God and Goddess, or Mother Father God, as some call her/him. I lean toward the natural approach, or Druidism (Druidry), as it promotes harmony and respect for all beings, including the environment. I am also very interested in herbs and their healing properties.
Corner the Comfort Zone.
Patty & Pals
Bob Cat And Friends
A most excellent interview
USE WHAT YOU WISH…IF YOU ARE SENT AN EBOOK PLEASE LEAVE A REVIEW ON AMAZON …OR GOODREADS ETC AND SEND THE LINK TO:
My Anthology Links
December Awethology Light https://www.books2read.com/u/3yPZvB
A Treasure Chest of Children’s Tales https://www.books2read.com/u/bzaAML
Legal Notes THE SEEING EYE® and SEEING EYE® are registered trademarks of The
Seeing Eye, Inc.See: www.SeeingEye.org