Beth Finke and Iliana Genkova

Recorded January 3, 2019 Archived January 3, 2019 42:47 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: chi002858


Iliana Genkova (47) interviews her memoir writing teacher Beth Finke (60) about how Beth became blind in her twenties, living with a disability, and her seeing eye dog.

Subject Log / Time Code

When Beth was 25-years-old she started seeing spots from diabetic retinopathy and eventually became blind. She got married at that time too.
Iliana asks what advice Beth has for people when going through early stages of trying to save their sight. Beth says she should have gone to Europe with her husband like they had planned but instead she kept having surgeries for naught and didn't go. She says not knowing what's going to happen during the surgeries was the worst part.
Beth talks about writing her memoir and learning only then about what it really felt like to learn there was no hope for her sight. She says she felt relief to give up.
Iliana asks if teaching senior citizens memoir writing is difficult knowing they could die. Beth says it happens. She keeps them alive through their stories. She says the essays they write in her class are often read at their memorial services.
Iliana asks what Beth would like Smartphones to do for blind people. Beth suggests a way to translate sheet music.
Beth says it's a gift she lived part of her life sighted because she can understand both pretty well. Beth says, "I feel watched a lot. I'm still me but I'm not me because I can't see anymore so it's hard to figure out sometimes how to act. I think getting older I quit worrying about it and I'm just me."


  • Beth Finke
  • Iliana Genkova

Recording Locations

Chicago Cultural Center

Venue / Recording Kit



StoryCorps uses Google Cloud Speech-to-Text and Natural Language API to provide machine-generated transcripts. Transcripts have not been checked for accuracy and may contain errors. Learn more about our FAQs through our Help Center or do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you have any questions.

00:04 My name is Lily on again and 46 years old. And today is January 3rd, Thursday 2019 where in the Chicago story Corp studio? And I'm student to my interview today bed frame King.

00:19 My name is Beth Finke. I am 60 years old we had today's date is January 3rd 2019. We are in Chicago and I am talking with Ileana who is a student in one of my Memoir writing classes.

00:39 So I my first question goes to the beginning. What can you tell us about your childhoods your parents siblings? And did you have a real person or a fictional character as a hero? Wow. Alright. What can I tell you? I am the youngest of seven children when I was born right before Christmas in 1958, my six brothers and sisters all put a name up put a rotor name that they wanted me to be called and put on piece of paper and put in a hat and one was chosen. So they all had names like Holly for Christmas Carol for Christmas Carol Noel, but Beth was chosen, so my name is not Elizabeth. It's best for best for him.

01:29 I grew up in I guess you would call it a middle-class home. We were a pretty average family until my third birthday. My father who was a sucker salesman came home sick from work and two weeks later. He died of a heart attack at home. So my mother who didn't end even finished high school had to sort out how she was going to take care of all of us my older brothers. My oldest sister was married by then. She's 20 years older than me and my brothers were out of high school but working and then there were still four of us at home girls all girls. So my childhood of that sounds oh my God, but it was it was really fun childhood. A lot of women. We figured out how to do things not always correctly, but we got things done. My mother got her GED and

02:29 At an office job and worked until she was 70 and paid off the mortgage on the house and raised us all.

02:37 Did I have a hero when I was a kid?

02:41 Not a superhero. I really liked the Winnie the Pooh books and I like their lifestyle and the Hundred Acre Wood Thousand Acre Woods. I think it was and could kind of connect with all those characters in one way or another. So I like that book, but did I ever hear I don't remember I don't remember having a hero.

02:59 Okay. I'm so I want to see him dad until age of 26 your life was pretty the usual. Yeah until you until I was twenty-six. I think my life was pretty typical of someone in that time. I graduate from high school in 1976 and everyone was wearing red white and blue and you know went to the Fourth of July parade. I was I did well enough in school that I was able to go to college. I went to the University of Illinois the state school. I didn't even consider going to any school out of state cuz it was in it back then it was much cheaper to go in state. I worked as a waitress and the summer to tell pay for my schooling.

03:46 I really enjoyed school. I enjoyed college so much that I didn't want it to end but and it did it ended in a recession. So it's hard to find work. But eventually they did find a job at the University and of Illinois and I stayed down there and worked in Shannon live in Champaign-Urbana and it was when I was wants to have to do I do the math here twenty-five that I started seeing spots in front of my eyes. I was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy. I've been diabetic since I was 7 years old and I had lots of laser surgery then eye surgeries to try to prevent blindness, but nothing worked and so I love by the 26th date lost my sight and I forgot the part. I got married when I was 25 to and I'm still married to the man.

04:41 I married back then all those years ago. And how do you think blood is affected your different relationships in your life. How do I think blindness affected?

04:54 When I first left my side I was 26 and most of my friends were that age and everybody was getting their lives started getting married having kids are getting their jobs and doing all that. And so and initially I lost friends. They weren't mean to me but they when you're 26, if you've had the feared kind of lived in every life, you really haven't been presented with something like that like a friend has a major disability. And so some of them just didn't know how to act they weren't at all but they just kind of dropped off the friends that stuck with me are dear friends to this day. So they strengthen those relationships my new relationships.

05:44 Are different. I hope that when I could see I didn't judge people by what they look like, but I'm sure I did that's one way you judge people but I couldn't anymore and so I was drawn. I feel like I was drawn to the same people, but I really enjoy people who have a positive outlook a lot of energy that like to laugh but can also listen well and I don't really care what they look like or where they come from or anything if they have that spirit and I'm attracted to that.

06:20 What would you tell people who my to go through the same experience especially if they don't know yet? What's going to happen that happen if they still have hope that surgery will help I think I would be honest with them. I tell him with me the worst part was there were I think it went about I have to think about this. I started seeing spots in October you were about seven months when I was going going having surgeries coming back home having surgery is going to and every morning I wake up and open my eyes to and I wouldn't know how well I be able to see that day and that to me was the worst so

07:04 You asked me about people that are going through but they don't know what's going to happen yet. I think I tell them this Parts the worst part because it's just you don't know or at least I know I wouldn't say that way for me.

07:16 What you're going through right now is the worst part because you don't know your what's going to happen. You don't know if you'll be able to see you don't you know, it's confusing then Mike and I my husband Mike and I had an opportunity to my work to go to Europe for a trip and we decided to stay home instead and keep having the treatments in hopes. It would save my eyesight well in retrospect we should have gone because you don't live everyday thinking that but those are the kind of decisions you're making at that time and when they finally told me it when they finally took the pack eye patches off and so there's nothing else they could do this tried everything and I will not be able to see again. I was surprised

07:58 To realize that I felt relieved and as my student my writing student Ileana, let me tell you I didn't really know that I felt relieved until I wrote started writing my Memoir and I got to that part and an editor the part where they told me I never see again. And editor what I wrote was and then you know, Mike was in the office. We went there. They took the patches off. I couldn't see the doctor told us we never be able to see that I would not be able to see you again. And so

08:32 We went we got in the car and we drove started driving home and went by White Sox Park and there was a game and so we stopped and went to the baseball game that I think that's what I wrote the first time he had her said you have got to tell your readers how you felt and what did you what was your reaction? So in being asked to write about that I had to really think hard about it. And if you're writing something down you feel the sense that you have to be as honest as you can so I really thought it was I

09:00 Angry afraid disappointed. I went through each reaction. I could have had and I finally decided that I was relieved because finally that whole part was over there and even though I couldn't see I knew what I had to do. Now. I had to learn how to get around by myself. Learn how to how much is it going to dress. How is it going to feed myself out and all that stuff. So it was I had a lot to do rather than sit around and wonder what was going to happen that I had to start marching and I was wondering

09:39 I has been a writer helped you deal with some of your life challenges not only losing your side, but I'll losing your job soon after the open heart surgery to be that was super scary. And when your rights do you try to protect the people you're right about the ones in your life or you your brother put the details out there? I think when I'm writing it first, I put the details out and I use their names and for my own purposes I do that. But when I think it might be rather is publishing a book. I keep a Blog weather if I'm going to put it on a Blog I do consider the people sometimes I don't

10:24 Name the my name and tell them people who read my blog who know me know who they are, but and that's okay cuz that's people that but I don't give their full name, but when I'm writing for myself, I definitely put it all out there I learned.

10:41 By writing these books and also just just by riding a roller I didn't

10:48 Well we can get to that later but

10:51 That writing it down really does help you get through it at helps you make decisions. If I have to have a big decision to make I right about it. Not a list. I know some people put a listed positive negative but I write I say Whitney just turned nine and usually sing at a retirement or 10 so I should start thinking about whether she's going to retire this summer and I don't really want to retire by writing it like that. It kind of just getting it out there rather than just spinning in my brain. I think the next time I start worrying about it I go you don't have to worry about that. You have it all written down. So we agree riding has a therapeutic effect. Definitely for me it does.

11:35 First book which is the third book. I think yes, and I didn't choose to to read the first two before interviewing you because I might I know what answers there and I want to do it a lot of what I'm saying is in there the first couple books and stories about life and about the students in classes and it's a big world out there from the book, but I thought that would be tricky. So I left it ask I didn't realize when I was writing it and it didn't have this as a goal but when we put it all together, and I read it I said, it's a really I think it's a Chicago book, don't you think? Yes it is. Yeah. It's really Chicago is a major.

12:35 Play r i mean my neighborhood Printers Row is in major player, but I was really tickled that how much Chicago is in the how it the way it's kind of a pretty town and you got to kind of make it a tall. It's not especially easy but people are so friendly and kind and open. I don't know. I just really

12:58 Yeah, I like that about the book. It's fun. I think a lot of times when you write something surprises. You didn't mean don't you find that when you're writing essays for class? Sometimes he went in going. I'm going to write about this and then it turns to be yeah. Yeah that changed my ideas at least twice. Yes, and yes, I learned a lot about Chicago's history. And there's a lot of politics intertwined with the human stories. It's really good animals think so but like the right about people everybody who's s a i used her if I quoted them is that if they recorded their writing that got their permission for that. So a lot of the characters tell Chicago History like Wanda who is African-American was born before Brown versus Board of Education went to the cell and to style High School the which was an all-black High School in the south side and when

13:58 Could quote her and by doing that she's telling the story but for readers who aren't from Chicago who are maybe the who don't know that history. I don't I just speaks to what we learn in class when we were here. Everybody's that says he learned a lot about the person but also about wherever they lived like we're learning about Bulgaria in our infant. It's a challenging teaching Memoir class to senior citizens knowing that you might lose a student anytime.

14:32 E s I don't I don't find a challenger, but it's not that I'm cold. It's that I of course. I know.

14:42 People that age group are going to die.

14:46 Probably before I do I don't know but what I can do is get their help and get their stories done before they do when we still have the stories after they go are there many many classes where I say, okay, and I kept you know when someone so when when a person dies, I'm not I'm not teaching this class you more Beatles on cuz they're I am with a lot of people who knew that person and and we can talk about we can keep them alive through their stories. I do I do if possible go to the memorial service and over and over again somebody who speaks in the morning service reads one of their essays and that boy that's

15:31 Very gratifying I mean tumbling and it makes me feel good that

15:36 I'm at that down about the classes. What kind of person stands out in the class would it be the good writers or would it be somebody who is following suggestions or the one that has a passion for writing or just interesting people who stands out the ones who are a real pain. How am I going to get this person to email follow the keep your asses to 500 or let you know because they don't have this up. There's usually somebody in a group of my classes are usually 12 to 20 some of them but in that group, there's always someone just like when you were the group of friends or you're in a class or at work somebody who thinks they are more important and more interesting than anybody else there. And so even though there's a rule for everybody else. They think they can break it, you know, and so because they're so fat.

16:36 And that's a challenge that the other is a challenge there so they stand out but I think you're asking a different question. Are you I mean like which ones are my favorite favorite you and that's what I can say every time someone asked me that five glasses and often somebody one class of state. Which class do you like the best I sell this one, but I did catch show us about Minerva Minerva. I really wish I could meet her plea Minerva. So I was thinking of when I thought one winner dies and it was my first class. That's the only class I ever thought. I thought that's what I'm stopping. I'm going to give you a free job and then she died, but her friend wanted and had just started.

17:36 Here before so now we have Wanda who knows Minerva. Oh, you know and and and so it goes I've had last year was kind of hard and there's been a lot of deaths in my classes, but

17:50 But end idea I read that you love your job before as a student advisor. Oh, yes, if you had a choice to to have any job now, what would you choose? Well, okay. So that's tuned advisor job was I worked in the study abroad office at the University of Illinois. And so I was advising people who wanted to study overseas and so they come in and say

18:18 It was at University of the night sleep site. Well, I want to I want to study in Italy but I'm a mathematician. So I'd want to study math while I'm there and University of Illinois doesn't have any programs for that. So it was my job to call around or to know which programs had that you know, which wear them. It was possible to take that Loyola for example has a program of loyola-chicago has a program in Rome. So I would call Leola and say I've got the students she wants to take meth and do you have an opening for it and with her credits transfer and that was kind of work I did.

18:53 I would still like that. I would have liked that job. I I liked working. I was their age then I mean it wasn't that much older and we handled people from overseas to cuz we're the exchanges. So I really like that and I think I would.

19:08 Still like that now.

19:12 I guess I like my job so much teaching Memoir now that I don't I can't I don't usually I'm not prepared to answer that question cuz I think I don't really think G. I wish I were to tell you what I do and I am working on this I would like I had to figure out how to teach these classes without being able to see and so I came up with this method that you know of and I came up with this master class to teach other people to teach classes kind of the way I do and I would hope I'd like more people to all over the country all of the world to be my dream that everybody would not everybody. Lots of people would take the class in my class to learn how to teach it and then they teach their own classes and because of that I would be asked to fly to Bulgaria to because they all want to meet Beth Finke. That's the woman that started those classes and then I would be there for a week and I'd stay at a fancy.

20:12 Tell him it would be paid for by whoever had become minutes my dream, but I'd still teach my more. I still keep some classes because it have to I'd like it and I'd have to to stay.

20:24 About things you know what I mean to stay to see red.

20:30 Switching gears here. So you have a smartphone. Yeah. There is Alexis jiri all kind of modern day technology. What would you like them to do for people with cancer?

20:46 What would I like them to do for specially for us? There are all these things. Let me think.

20:55 I don't know I guess.

20:57 I'm not I'm not that creative in that way. There are there already apps?

21:04 You know I can I can take a picture of something and send it to a nap and there are people who volunteer and work for that end. Somebody gives me a text describes it like says that's the expiration date date for your vitamins. They expire on October 2019 or something when I need that or I can't identify which is as a can of kidney beans versus can of you know, so there's you can bear to have that.

21:35 Let me think about that one cuz that you know, I tend to think of these things when I'm frustrated. There's something I can't get done by myself, and I'm right and then I wish I had that but I don't stay on that very long cuz I just be Saturday. I just be frustrated all the time. So it comes and goes and then I kind of forget about what do I do?

21:55 Something where I like to play the piano and I've had to learn to play by ear, but I'm not that good at playing by ear. So maybe some way somehow we're some kind of Technology could translates sheet music.

22:13 2 I mean is Braille music but you can't play piano and read Braille at the same time cuz you need you know three-hand something audio. I don't know something like that. You gave me the perfect fashion art. Yes.

22:29 How would you like to see more art to appear for?

22:34 People went to be us and sold him visual our decision while I'm glad it's called visual are there are Programs Chicago. I think it stopped. It's among the best cities in the country for people with disabilities in the Arts. There's a Chicago Coalition of a CPAC College in Chicago.

23:02 Cultural Chicago Cultural Arts Coalition, it's not right but it's all these people that work at museums get together and share ideas about how we can mix a tax SRT-4 blind or if we can't hear or if we using a wheelchair in the Art Institute does have some programs for people who can't see I choose not to go to them usually cuz I'm

23:29 I just don't know that it can be done. I mean if somebody can describe it to me, but person that just makes me kind of sad or you know, if somebody describe the painting and I was able to see some of the impressionism at the Art Institute so I can picture it.

23:49 But somebody describing it to me describe what about three-dimensional sculpture sculptures are okay and architecture I've learned is cool sculptures. Okay, but often if it's small it's great. But if it's big all I can you know, our best way to feel something is to our fingertips. So I'm just feeling fingertip at a time and trying to take in this huge sculpture. You know, I guess I can feel so it's but I do I do like I can get to the weight of it or the

24:34 What is a culture but Mike and I were in Mendocino last summer and he stopped it, They said just bear with me there with me cuz you know that he brought me over and he had me hug a redwood tree so I can see how big it really was and that was a good idea. You know that kind of stuff and I have taken some architecture tours specifically for people who are blind and they just chose very good buildings in Chicago. So is it is the Chase building now the Chase building in Chicago has a curve to it. It's good true. It's why in the bottom of them showing you but but it's white at the bottom gets narrower and so they let us lay are we play and we stand up a lean back and feel the crew with her bad at the Monadnock building. That's cuz it's got very thick walls. It was explained to us why that isn't it was before I'm not good at Orchard before steel structure or something. So we put our hand in the win if you put your hand in a while and you feel where the window is your alarm goes off.

25:34 All the way in, so it seems like that. I like that and I can feel when I go to school at 2 and I go to Miller Elementary Schools a lot with my seeing eye dog to talk about her and blindness kids will ask does your dog walk around in your house and I explained to them know cuz I know I take her to something when we get home cuz she needs a break too. But before we moved in I felt around the whole house and all you know about before the furniture then just all the walls and how they went and I do Athens and I said if you ever looked at and architecture

26:11 You know what? You're up you're on top and you see it. I forget what you call it. You know what that is when you're looking down at a building at the sketch, but it's all the little rooms and you kind of floor plan. Thank you. Yes, so I'd I said I kind of think of it as a floor plan and so that I know where all the rooms are and stuff like that.

26:30 I need to ask you a question. Okay to do to start taking a memoir-writing class.

26:37 Because I think my life is not that but occasionally I'll get a extreme turbo. So I have to make a decision to change plans and it's changing every now and again, so people who known you longer than three years they know about those adventures and they say why you why does it always happen to you? And I said, I don't think it's intentionally. I think I'm special. So I thought some of them are just fun to write about yes, I'm comparing myself to everybody else in the class. I just have him live that long to experience.

27:25 Challenging situations or whatever I went through. I don't think it's sold out that but that's funny you say that cuz you know your situation live in challenging lots of moves. I mean, I guess part of it's exciting moving from country to come how many countries have you lived and worked in I lived in five countries with my home country Bulgaria. I move twice voluntarily and got a x i had to because the job pans out of the blue them and all your plans go out the window.

27:58 So I don't have plans now. I don't do long-term plans anymore. I was 26 gauge. That was my everything changed to and what made you decide? Where did you go first from Bulgaria's first came to the States before going to Cleveland and it was 4 hours. I thought that's my favorite setting forget it. Wow. I mean you were so you left the airport you had for our so me and took me to another friend. So very quickly from the airport. We went to us. I don't know which suburb but the house is the straight Everything clean and organized. Oh that was enough. It was a very beautiful sunny day. Yes that helps Christmas morning.

28:51 I'm so 8 days after living in clip on side of back forget the bus driver eating mints and not holding the steering wheel.

29:04 So she cut with it.

29:08 I don't think I knew that you have to write about that. You didn't give it as a prompt to write about. All right. Now if it is a problem. How do I end up in Chicago?

29:19 And then and United States to Australia United States to England that was looking for your boyfriend. Oh, I wish you were specifically seating at European boyfriend. Yes. I mean you didn't have one you were going to find one. I was going to find out which flavor you don't do, you know a Greek and Italian French years later. So I went to the Netherlands which was a dream come true. I love living there but then the job ended and the Visa was tied to it. So one thing led to another and I ended up with a job in Australian. I think the funniest part about it was my mom always complaining you're so far away. Come closer the moment. I said, I got a job in Australia. She said, I'm so happy for you.

30:19 So had she changed or no? Okay, there was nothing to say the options are okay cuz she was

30:34 Wow, after Australian I came back here was just coincidence. Whatever the chop was. You are a meteorologist. Yes. I work with satellite data and weather forecasting model. That's what I'm knocking at your ologist. So I can't predict the weather for tomorrow iPhone.

31:00 I had one question that I was like to not skip humor. I really like it. It's your attitude in your likeness. Is that something he always has or

31:14 I would say like me you find yourself. So many times having to change things and dinner or whatever.

31:21 I think I mean I have this belief that I have snot. It's not evidence-based or scientific. I think people come out of the womb a certain way. I mean like some people come in and we're out worried or that you know, and you can change that are you can eat all you can work on it therapy and I came out happy. So I've always I think I've always been happy. I have a sister who had a who is funnier than I was and you know, when he has got all these brother and sisters if you have a big family and somebody is a star like one of them is a good ass played one was really nice unit. You think you're never you're not that you don't even try to compete with that cuz they already have that role in the family, so I didn't

32:07 Noah I was funny all the time but I think I've often been light-hearted. I've always liked laughter. I have a friend from high school who work at a bookstore in Glen Ellyn and I did a book event there. I think for a long time no see and a reporter from the local paper came and heard me do my talk and then ask her what she always would she funny when she was in high school or did she gets funny when she was blind and that friend just thinks that's the funniest question like really you get your piano enough and she said I was always funny. So there you have it. Okay. Is there anything you've always wanted to be a dick, but nobody thought of

32:58 I don't I don't think you want to tell him I want to tell you.

33:03 It's just I Think It's Tricky having a disability idea that I would not have hoped to be blind. But now I am blind and I think it's a gift that I live part of my life sided and part of my life with a disability because I think I can understand both pretty well. I haven't been able to well, maybe I have been able to do it in writing but I have an address it directly but I think people who have disabilities we have needs and we can't do the things the way other people do them and yet we are very capable and It's Tricky you can feel when you have a permit when your present is Philly that you have to do everything. You have to be always perfect and you have to When You Reach for the doorknob you have to find the door not because of anybody sees you not doing that and missing the door knob there going to be a boy. She can't even see the door now, you know you

34:02 I don't know what the question would be but it would like to I'm still me but I'm not me cuz I can't see anymore. So it's hard to figure out sometimes how to act. I think it getting older. I don't quit running about and I'm just me and so I think that is a nice thing about getting older people no matter what your situation was the right as you get older. You just aren't feeling well. That's who I'm not really going to change. So I hope most people can embrace it and enjoy that about getting older.

34:40 One more question of my end.

34:45 If there's one word that describes your outlook on life experience your mission in life was just happy my mission in life or my Outlook in life.

34:59 The band is one word. Yeah, that's the one where that's the problem. I hate you.

35:07 I've stopped my mission and it's not my Outlook, but maybe it is my Outlook resourceful.

35:12 I think I I've learned to be good at addressing what I do have what things are available to me and to me and using those two to keep enjoying life and keep life fulfilling in the end, you know, figure it out. Okay can't do that, but I still don't do this so I don't via I would think flexible resourceful.

35:45 But where would you say about you?

35:47 Oh, I'm funny. I have to be myself and I have to find something funny about everything it's hard to be serious seeds to be serious, but it's still it's hard to live serious. I think I don't know. I haven't tried it.

36:12 Have I always had a seeing eye dog? I I was blind for five years before I get a seeing eye dog. So I've used white cane. I didn't grow up with dogs. We never had any pets at home. And so what I was a little bit afraid of dogs, but not for any reason just cuz I didn't know much about dogs, but I had a couple of near-misses when I was using my biking. I thought I was on a sidewalk what is in the street have the first time and I thought it was just a mistake, but then it happened a couple months later, and I thought maybe I should try this dog thing. And so I've never gone back and I've had seeing eye dogs 1991

36:50 So nine times 1926 years that right now that can't be right. Anyway, I've had them for dogs. What's it like to change dogs? What's it like to change dogs hard hard hard for a lot of reasons. You really used to the dog. You have the dog you had have is used to you. Do you have to go to the school to get the dog down to Spring a dog to you? So you may have to arrange to be gone for 3 weeks to a month at the school to learn with a new dog. Every dog is really good at something and really bad at something else. So you have to adjust and figure out

37:38 How to adjust to that and try as hard as you can not to keep thinking my other dog didn't do that my other dog didn't do that

37:47 Also that when you're away for the three weeks year with 23 other people who are blind from all over North North America. That's really actually enjoy that but like I said about my classes, there's always somebody that's a real pain in the neck and thinks they're more important and interrupts and if you say I was a nude model for a job is I want a new bottle too because there's nothing you can do. So anyway, you get this it's just it's probably part of the method to their Madness caused by the end of the three weeks at 4 weeks, depending on when you say you're just dying to go home, you know, you really eager to try your dog out at home and then it takes about a year till to really get

38:29 Bonding with a new dog and learn their strengths. So that first year is pretty tough.

38:36 When you get a new dog, is it a matchmaking process or its arranged marriage type arranged marriage?

38:44 You take it to your table then? Yeah, you give your it's almost like computer dating. But yeah, they welded the school I go to their to know me but they check in with me and you know, you're still living in the city. You're still you're still able to walk 3 miles an hour has Sometimes they come out and they they human being hold on to the front of the harness and you walk behind them and they walk will help help for immigrants. Do you want to hold her any other kind of Judge because they're training dogs back there. So they are kind of as they say in interview and then come to see you again. If they do that, they're evaluating this one dog that I think could be really good for you. So Whitney my current dog, they are specially trained a lot of New York City because they know I live in Chicago and it's not just that I live in Chicago, but I live pretty close to the loop. So for example, I walked here to the cultural center where we are. I walked here through the loop, you know across Congress, but that's pretty busy. So it took a dog that they knew

39:44 You know, if you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere, New York New York. So she was trained a lot in the city there and she did well there so that's who they had in mind for me and it worked.

39:57 What happens to Whitney when she retires she moves to St. Thomas and lives in the beat note. I can bring her back to the seeing eye when I go to get my new dog. And so when I arrive on the campus, they would take her and they they have lists and lists of people who are willing to take 10 year old 11 year old 12 your dogs spin adopt them. So if any if you want to be on the list, you can describe the seeing eye and say you want and then then they could take them second. I could find a friend or or a roast. Anybody anybody that said I would like to Whitney when she retires and now and I can give them I can choose on my own to give Whitney to that person all three of the dogs I've had before this I had friends that words in line to take those dogs, and I do have one of my nieces.

40:54 Once Whitney and I think that's going to happen. She lives in Minneapolis. So that's probably what will happen to Whitney next in the next couple years or I could keep her and I'd have she be repetitive my seeing eye dog, and I've not done that with any of my dogs because I know myself well enough that it be harder to bond with a new dog if I still hit my old dog at home. I also we live in the seventh floor of an apartment in once they are retired. You can't put a harness back on so I wouldn't be able to take Whitney out to have her do her business or number one number two outside. So I have to hire a dog walker. It just is too complicated and plus the Seeing Eye school told me after I was thinking about keeping my first dog and no no, this is him, but they told me that

41:44 A lot of times when people keep one dog as a pet and then you come home with a seeing eye dog the dog. That's the pet gets depressed because you're always going out with the other dog and leaving them behind so

41:57 I want Whitney live somewhere. She likes to play in the water and jump and throw a vino play if ball so Minneapolis, my niece lives near a lot of lakes, and she's going to be playing in the backyard and having fun.

42:11 Well, thank you so much for answering questions.

42:22 No, but I'd like that. Thank you for for doing this and I want to tell you how much fun it is to have you in class, cuz especially when we do things about childhood. It is really interesting to I've never known anyone from Bulgaria, so I'm learning from you. Thank you. Thank you.