It’s another “Fletcher” book. But this one, “Memories from Thickety,” is by Talmadge P. Fletcher, brother of Charles C. Fletcher, the author of the Little Sam Mountain series. And Charles is the publisher of his brother’s 200-page book, which he encouraged him to write, and he also edited it.
Reading “Memories from Thickety” is like taking it easy on the front porch with Fletcher, listening to the unfolding of the past as you sit in rocking chairs and take in the view of the mountains. It’s a relaxing saga of Fletcher’s moving from one memory to another, so uniquely connected the reader finds himself wandering along with the author through the years.
Fletcher says he wrote “Memories from Thickety” to preserve a record of his life experiences mostly for his children, grandchildren and other relatives. His granddaughter Amy DeWeese urged him to write about his life — living through the Great Depression, World War II and the other years which followed. The nonagenarian says he has been blessed with a loving family and he wants the younger people to know what he has experienced.
Some of the stories he tells came from his mother and from his brother, Charles. Some stories from the “good old days” were about hardships, some were romantic, some nostalgic and some humorous, but all are true. For the older reader, the book brings back memories; for the younger, it rolls out ordinary history that informs and gives a glimpse of yesterday years. These were the things that made up the tapestry of Fletcher’s life.
Fletcher tells of his early life in the first chapter, beginning with a fire that destroyed their home in Gastonia, N.C., and all their belongings. The family was able to escape, but some scorched pictures were all that were left. The Fletchers went to Colorado to stay on a farm with his mother’s dad. But after experiencing a tornado, they decided to go back to North Carolina. On the way, they ran out of money and sold belongings to get gas money — even to his dad selling his suit for food.
That was just one incident of survival Fletcher remembers. From age to age, he moves seamlessly through his growing-up years, his school and work — and especially featured, his service in World War II. He recalls his participation in “Operation Carpetbagger,” which provided support for the French underground resistance to German occupation. Halfway through “Memories from Thickety” Fletcher talks about June 5, 1944, one day before D-day when the were on a secret mission. In the next 25 pages, he gives details of his assignments until, on April 5, 1945, he headed home.
On the last leg of the voyage, Fletcher got seasick, but he found a cure. He says, “After 14 days, I found the cure for my seasickness: It was the Statue of Liberty ... I started to feel better when it came into view.”
The first thing he did after arriving home was going to see his “sweetheart,” Alveta Medford, and they married on May 3, 1945. Thus began another phase of his life. They honeymooned in Gatlinburg and set up housekeeping in Canton, N.C.
Getting settled in civilian life took a while as Fletcher went to school in Chicago and sought employment. They had two children, Robert Alan and Cathy Sue. In the meantime, he began attending church and became a Christian on Feb. 19, 1949. “After that,” he said, “I lived my life so that I would be someone my family would be proud of. He said all of his children and grandchildren have become Christians.
Fletcher’s wife died on Oct. 4, 2013, but he said he had “a good long life with Alveta” — almost 90 years — and he hopes his children and their children will understand how things were during the 90 years of his life.
That’s the purpose of “Memories from Thickety.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This book and other publications by Fletcher Books are available from Ingram, Amazon.com, Baker & Taylor, Barnes & Noble or directly from the publisher: Charles C. Fletcher, 2310 Harris Circle N.W., Cleveland TN 37311; phone 476-6835 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.