In his new release, “Little Sam Mountain — Living Their Dream,” Charles C. Fletcher writes from his own experiences of living in the mountains of western North Carolina. The historical fiction novel springs from the memories he had of growing up in the shadow of Little Sam Mountain.
Fletcher said he wrote with two handicaps — his age, 92, and the stroke he suffered before beginning the book. Although he said his age is not a problem, “it has been a struggle to overcome my problem of speech and getting the words together as I once did.”
But he said his memory was not affected by the stroke and all events and locations are written “as I remember them,” with apologies for spelling or grammar mistakes.
This is the third in a trilogy of “Little Sam Mountain” stories. From the first “Little Sam Mountain” and “Little Sam Mountain — The Journey,” “Little Sam Mountain — Living Their Dream” completes the saga of Sarah Smith, a 14-year-old girl, and John Dowdy, a 17-year-old boy, who overcame and escaped hardships to settle on Little Sam Mountain.
Each of the three books tells a separate story, but the writer said reading them in sequence gives the reader a better understanding of the full life the young couple experienced prior to the third publication, which covers them living their dreams on Little Sam Mountain.
“Little Sam Mountain — Living Their Dream” continues the story of John and Sarah from their teen years in the first book to retirement. Building their home was the first thing on the agenda when the couple reunited and went back to Little Sam Mountain. John embraced his ready-made family — Sarah and her son from her first marriage. Her first husband was deceased and John became the father of John Jr. — the only father Little John knew and loved.
In the years to follow, many events took place to establish their roots in their mountain home. Two more children were born — Brad and Betty Sue — before Sarah was given the news she could have no more children. Brad was named after John’s army sergeant (read his story in “Little Sam Mountain — The Journey”).
About the time Brad was born, another member was added to the little family — Fred, the blue-tick hound, named after the farmer who gave the puppy to Little John. Fred was a faithful friend until his death long after the children were grown.
And then there was the family reunion. The breach between the two families had begun in the first Little Sam Mountain book and years had gone by without contact. John’s in-laws had never even met their grandchildren. But the day came when the two families came together happily as friendships and relationships were restored.
Also, John’s and Sarah’s story completed a circle as John’s friends from the military — a nurse and doctor — decided to make Little Sam Mountain their home. It was meant to be, they felt.
Through all the trials — through all the joys — through all the troubles, John and Sarah strengthened their marriage and carved out their lives. Their dreams from their teenage years had been fulfilled — even beyond their expectations.
So, as they had done through the years, the two sat in their rocking chairs on the front porch, looking over the lights of the town below. They had been doing this since they were married. This was where they would talk about their children, what happened during the day and their plans for the future.
“We have been blessed,” John began. “We have three good children who have made us proud. We have good health, good friends and good parents. We are old now, and in another few years, we will be gone. But, we have a lot to be thankful for. We can say, ‘We lived our dream on Little Sam Mountain.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Other books by Charles C. Fletcher include “Out West and Back,” “The Panther on Cold Mountain and Other Stories,” “Little Sam Mountain,” “The Sheriff,” and “Grassy Top Mountain.” Watch for the date of a book signing at the Museum Center at Five Points. Books will be available at the museum, online at Ingram, Amazon.com, Baker & Taylor and Barnes & Noble; they can also be bought from the author at 210 Harris Circle, N.W., Cleveland, TN 37311. For more information, call Fletcher at 476-6835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.