Childhood memories are typically the best memories. They remind people of simpler times that signify simple joys. And when old friends get together and reminisce about common flashbacks, well, there might not be anything better. Terry Phelps, a former Charlestown resident and memory-reveler debuted his first novel, “The Traning Field,” which is not only of childhood memories, but fond ones of growing up in Charlestown.
“One morning I woke up around four and started thinking for no particular reason about my childhood and memory after memory came to me and I just started writing,” Phelps said. “It took me five years off and on. I have a pretty good memory about my childhood, not so much about yesterday,” he joked.
“The Training Field” is a reflection of Phelps’s memories that other longtime Charlestown residents will be able to take part in with laughter and remembrance. Some of the memories Phelps touches on are playing in the training field, and going to different stores around town.
“I had so many neighbors and friends. Everything was very convenient and it was a wonderful little part of town to grow up in. I spent 15 years of my young life there. It’s home,” he said.
Phelps credits his writing ability from being a minister, but doesn’t consider himself an author. “I’m glad it’s gained attention,” he said of the book. “It isn’t a matter of money. It was a real joyful time in my life and I’m just glad to share the memories.”
Phelps has received e-mails about different memories he transcribed, feeling that there’s a tangible connection with strangers who share different memories of the same places Phelps recounts. But it wasn’t always easy to sit down and write.
“My wife made sure I finished it,” Phelps said, who went to a local printer near his home in South Carolina, where he now lives after having moved around for a while. Paying a little over seven dollars per book. Phelps said he’s given away about 30 books to friends.
“I’m having more fun than anything,” he said. “One of my friends called me up and said he laughed so hard and even shed a few tears.” Phelps hopes people feel the same emotions after reading his book, and he is looking forward to being back in town with old friends for his book signing at the Charlestown Branch Library, and of course, a visit to Warren Tavern.
“You have to have a clam chowder at Warren Tavern,” Phelps said, a favorite memory if his, adding that, “Memories don’t get old just the people who have them do.”