Patricia Schultheis grew up in Bridgeport, Connecticut, as the second of her Polish-American parents’ three daughters. Struck by polio when she was six-years-old, she became an introspective child, who felt more comfortable observing than participating. Her inward nature as well as her Catholic-school education and parents’ encouragement to “read, read, read,” provided the skills and intellectual discipline for her to become a writer. Also, Bridgeport, with its hurly burly social dynamics, supplied fodder for her natural curiosity.After graduating from Albertus Magnus College in New Haven in 1965 she moved to Baltimore, where she had been hired as an English teacher. A week after her move, a young history teacher whose classroom was across the hall from hers asked her on a date; a year later they were married. Two sons soon followed and exploring Baltimore’s unique neighborhoods became a form of entertainment for her young family.
Like Bridgeport, Baltimore has a rich urban texture, but Baltimore’s civic code of decorum is more deeply inscribed, more informed by history, and more poisonous when violated. This tacitly accepted code, the secrets that must be kept to maintain it and the price exacted for that silence, provides the foundation for stories of St. Bart’s Way.
Patricia didn’t begin writing fiction relatively late; not until her early fifties, when her older sister’s sudden death precipitated a period of self-evaluation. Before that, while holding a variety of publishing and public relations positions and raising her family, she steadily built a freelance portfolio of news articles, features and opinion pieces for magazines and newspapers.
In 1999 she submitted “After the Service,” the fourth story she’d ever written, to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and took her acceptance by the conference as proof that she had a talent for storytelling. “After the Service” eventually was published in The Distillery and is now included in St. Bart’s Way. The collection’s other stories also have been published, as have several other of Patricia’s stories, essays and book reviews. In 2007, her pictorial history titled Baltimore’s Lexington Market, was published by Arcadia Publishing. She earned a Master’s of Liberal Arts degree in 1973 and a Master’s in Writing in 2006 from Johns Hopkins University, where she is a part-time instructor in the Odyssey Program. A widow now, she continues to live in Baltimore. Visit her website.