Terry Phelps is a past resident of Charlestown. He has written a book (The Training Field) about his younger years growing up on Adams Street at the "top of the park." Although he lives in South Carolina now, he just can't get the townie out of his heart. He'll be a guest this week on Charlestown Live, if you're interested in hearing more.
For more details, email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following is an excerpt from his book.
The Training Field was indeed like a parent to me. There, like a father would have been. There when I ran or fell; when I laughed, or just simply languished in the shade of one of its maples. It was there teaching me to respect my elders and play fair with my peers.
The park drummed into my head to look both ways for traffic before crossing any of its four perimeter streets. It taught me athleticism,and to how to handle victory and defeat. The park helped to moderate my heart.
Her long wooden benches were deeply gouged by rusty nails or shiny pocket knives. Not to mar or destroy, but to mark your territory for the ages.
It seemed important then, as it does now, that someone, anyone, knew that “Terry was here.” The concrete that surrounded the park’s middle grass and outer perimeter, reflected the hearts of the young that lived in close proximity. Perhaps it was a grid etched with chalk or stone that spoke of an abandoned two-hour game of Hopscotch. An arrow-pierced heart may have boldly been drawn between two names, silently announcing to passers-by of the undying love that could only be felt by two twelve-year-olds.
The park was like a gargantuan board game for kids. The older you became, the more territory you claimed. From there you moved on and around, until you came full circle. Such familiarity with each square inch of sod and cement anchored within me peace and contentment, much like a ship in a safe, familiar harbor. And yet, at the same time, it emboldened me to be able to weigh anchor when my time came to explore the world of other fields.
Check back on Patch next week for a second excerpt from the book.