Taking Grandma Home, fiction by Ginger Hamilton

There are two main sec­tions in the fam­i­ly ceme­tery, the unfor­tu­nate "sol­diers of the cause" and the "damned Yan­kees." Fac­tions of my kin­folk still don't speak to one anoth­er due to choic­es made dur­ing the War Between the States. This inabil­i­ty to agree is a clan trait.
The last time any of us from West Vir­ginia had been to the farm some twen­ty-two years before, Grand­ma and her sis­ters had a spat with not a word exchanged since. Two of Grandma's maid­en sis­ters still lived there because they couldn't agree on how to split the prop­er­ty. Israel and Pales­tine could give diplo­ma­cy lessons to our fam­i­ly. Because I loved my grand­ma and because she begged me, I agreed (with great reluc­tance) to take Grand­ma back to her child­hood home the sum­mer of 1985.

When I was a child, my fam­i­ly went to the farm dur­ing my breaks from school and it was heav­en­ly. My younger sis­ters, Sal­ly and Liz, and I twined daisy chains for hours and wore them as proud­ly as Mar­di Gras queens. Sal­ly gob­bled apples from the orchard lim­it­ed only by yel­low jack­ets and tum­my aches.

Even­tu­al­ly I'd tire of my sis­ters. A cool drink from the pump pre­sent­ed an excuse to sit with the women while they gos­siped, deft­ly par­ing away the walls of our neigh­bors' pri­vate lives along with the apple peels that fell from their razor-sharp knives. The few times a vehi­cle came up the dirt road, some­one would look up from her work and make an expla­na­tion for the dis­tur­bance: "That's old man Bryson's grand­son, car­ry­ing the grand­chil­dren in from Roanoke."

As a child I thought these women knew every­thing and every­one and lived an ide­al exis­tence there on that farm. But it had been twen­ty-two years since my last per­fect sum­mer on the farm, and now sev­en of us were trav­el­ing 168 miles crammed togeth­er in a sti­fling Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal, like hogs going to slaugh­ter.

To take Grand­ma home.

A lot had changed since the three sis­ters' argu­ment back in 1963. Pres­i­dent Kennedy had been assas­si­nat­ed, man walked on the moon, Pop-Tarts were invent­ed, and the inter­state sys­tem had been com­plet­ed. Grand­pa was the tour guide on every trip to the "coun­try," as we called it and well before the Equal Rights Amend­ment was pro­posed, I had been taught nev­er to ques­tion his word. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, my grand­fa­ther had nev­er dri­ven the inter­state and even worse, I was unaware of this. Both my igno­rance and obe­di­ence proved regret­ful.

The Scan­di­na­vian region is famous for their saunas, but south­ern West Vir­ginia in July is an immense steam bath. A sauna is hot, but at least it's a dry heat. Late July in south­ern West Vir­ginia feels like a blis­ter­ing bar­ber tow­el on your face. The humid­i­ty takes your breath away with a make-you-wish-for-win­ter kind of hot. We took Grand­ma home dur­ing dog days in August, and August in south­ern West Vir­ginia makes July feel like Christ­mas.
This par­tic­u­lar August day, six of us were in my Daddy's brand-new Lin­coln Con­ti­nen­tal. It had sleek leather seats and total cli­mate con­trol. The air con­di­tion­er could form ice on the win­dows — prob­a­bly could have snowed inside if you want­ed. That car was bought for total lux­u­ry, for trav­el­ing in com­fort. I couldn't live with­out air con­di­tion­ing, but my grand­par­ents nev­er lived with it. Grand­pa didn't like air con­di­tion­ing — didn't trust it, swore it would lead to his death from pneu­mo­nia — so six of us trav­eled in Dad's new Lin­coln with our legs glued by per­spi­ra­tion to the leather seats so Grand­pa wouldn't die

from pneu­mo­nia.
Well, actu­al­ly, there was a sev­enth occu­pant — Grand­ma Vir­ginia. The heat nev­er did both­er Grand­ma.

Besides, she was cre­mat­ed three days before.

Grandpa's eye­sight was bad and he couldn't dri­ve any more. I was the only oth­er one in the fam­i­ly with a license, and I vol­un­teered to take Grand­ma home. My par­ents were divorced and I had to move Heav­en to talk Dad­dy into loan­ing me his car. I drove a Mer­cury Lynx and it just would not accom­mo­date six pas­sen­gers.

Grand­pa was hor­ri­fied when I sug­gest­ed we put Grand­ma in the trunk, and so Grand­ma rode with­out a seat belt, on Sally's lap. I fig­ured no fur­ther harm would befall Grand­ma if we had an acci­dent. As I helped Grand­pa with his seat belt, I noticed a Folger's cof­fee can between his legs.

"You know I have trou­ble with my blad­der," he grum­bled.

My joy at work­ing out the seat­ing arrange­ments drib­bled away with the men­tal image of Grand­pa fum­bling with his can and spilling its con­tents inside Daddy's new car.
Our jour­ney start­ed off with a qui­et, pleas­ant mood. It was ear­ly and the sun hadn't risen above the moun­tains yet. Mom, Sal­ly and Liz chat­ted hap­pi­ly and count­ed ani­mals in the fields we passed.  Grand­pa and the baby slept. It was the most peace­ful hour of the trip.

Soon the sun topped the moun­tains and warmth quick­ly added to the dis­com­fort of the already humid air. Mom low­ered her win­dow to allow some air move­ment but Sal­ly whined, "My hair's get­ting mussed and I just had it done!" I turned the cli­mate con­trol on and we got a moment's relief before Grand­pa hollered he was going to catch his death. Men­tion­ing the word "death" set Liz off keen­ing and wail­ing in a cry­ing jag, and Sal­ly glared at me. (Thank good­ness for rear view mir­rors or I nev­er would have known). The baby was mis­er­able and began to cry. Mom was mis­er­able and began to cry. I told Mom it would be all right. (I told the baby that it would be all right but she knew more than the rest of us and con­tin­ued to wail).

Sal­ly start­ed fool­ing with her hair and bumped Grandpa's arm with her elbow, hit­ting his Diet Coke can. Watch­ing Sal­ly glare at me in the rear view mir­ror, I caught a glimpse of the white-and-red can spin­ning wild­ly in mid-air before it fell and Grand­pa yelled "Land-a-Goshen!" Liz turned to see what was going on just as Sal­ly, try­ing to avoid the soda spew­ing from Grandpa's pop can, moved side­ways and caught Liz's eye with her elbow.

I was busy keep­ing the car in its lane at 65 mph and try­ing to watch the events in the back when Grand­pa called out, "Turn around, we've gone too far!" I exit­ed the inter­state at the next exit. As soon as I stopped, the fam­i­ly scram­bled out of that Lin­coln like clowns from a cir­cus car.

Mom checked Liz's eye while Liz wailed Sal­ly had "done it on pur­pose." Sal­ly climbed out, pat­ted her hair, and insist­ed it was Grandpa's fault. Mom declared Liz's eye was swollen and sure to bruise. I took the baby out of her seat and began rock­ing her (she had start­ed cry­ing again). Grand­pa strug­gled to get out of the back of the car and defend him­self against Sally's accu­sa­tions.

Sud­den­ly it dawned on me the gen­uine­ly impor­tant issue was to clean the spilled soft drink so Dad wouldn't kill me when I returned his new car!

I thrust the baby into Sally's arms and dug furi­ous­ly through the dia­per bag for some­thing to clean the spill. Every­one was bick­er­ing on the left side of the car, so I ran around to the pas­sen­ger side. Real­iz­ing Liz was no longer hold­ing Grandma's ash­es, I peered inside and saw the box had tipped and now rest­ed with its lid open on the trans­mis­sion hump.

Grandma's ash­es spilled over into the well where Grandpa’s feet had been right before he kicked over the Folger’s can. The con­tents of the cof­fee can and the ash­es formed a murky sludge in the well. The Diet Coke can added a sur­re­al­is­tic cher­ry-on-top dash to the appalling scene.

I wasn't sure which was worse — the grue­some mix in the floor, or the rest of the fam­i­ly learn­ing what was in the floor. I hasti­ly right­ed the box.

I knew my father would kill me when I got home. I fig­ured my Grand­pa would keel over with heart fail­ure before we got to Dublin. Three funer­als in one week were two too many for any fam­i­ly, so I devised a plan.

"Why don't you-all go inside that restau­rant and get cleaned up and order some lunch," I sug­gest­ed, know­ing my fam­i­ly would nev­er turn down a chance to eat. "I need to clean the spill back here, and then I'll join you," I added, as they began to walk toward the build­ing.

Sal­ly held the baby just a lit­tle too far away from her body to look nat­ur­al.  I had to smile. She was prob­a­bly con­cerned the baby would mess up her pantsuit some­how. Grand­pa huffed and puffed, try­ing to gain the lead from Sal­ly.  Mom com­fort­ed Liz, who was still hold­ing her eye and cry­ing.

A lot of the ash­es were still in the box but I couldn't help won­der­ing what wasn't.  Shud­der­ing, I real­ized that line of think­ing wasn't ben­e­fi­cial and forced myself to detach and address the task at hand, and I cleaned the mess the best I could. Per­spi­ra­tion trick­led down my back as I entered the restaurant's ladies room.  With a silent apol­o­gy to Grand­ma and God, I rinsed out the Fol­ger cof­fee can, washed my hands thor­ough­ly, rinsed my face and joined the fam­i­ly at the table.

"Did you get it all cleaned up, Gee?" Mom asked.  Sal­ly looked espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in my answer.

"Yes, it's all cleaned up."

I wasn't hun­gry — guess it was the heat — so I sipped ice water while every­one else ate lunch.  When we got back to the car, Liz real­ized I'd left "Grand­ma" in the hot car by her­self and began to weep again.

Sal­ly snapped, "Hush up, Liz! Grand­ma nev­er mind­ed the heat one bit and I doubt she minds it now after being cre­mat­ed, for God's sake!"

Grand­pa pulled a ban­dana out of his pock­et and loud­ly blew his nose. Back to the car we traipsed. Every­one had set­tled down. Full bel­lies have that effect.

"Where's my pee can, Gee?  Don't wan­na for­get that," he added.  I set the cof­fee can between his feet and helped him with his seat belt.  Liz and Sal­ly refused to speak to one anoth­er or even ride beside each oth­er, so Liz and Mom got in the back seat, and Sal­ly climbed up front with the baby (who was hun­gry again by now). I began to nurse the baby and asked Grand­pa if we could turn the air con­di­tion­er on.

"Not unless you want me to catch my death," he told me again.

Con­sid­er­ing the trou­ble I'd gone through to pre­vent that very thing, I fig­ured we could endure with­out air con­di­tion­ing for a while longer.  As soon as the baby was fed, I used the last of the wet wipes to clean her, and we set off for Grandma's home place in Dublin, Vir­ginia.

We hadn't trav­eled too far when I start­ed won­der­ing if we were going the right way.  Grand­pa was sure we'd shot past our exit while all the excite­ment was going on, and he told me to con­tin­ue back­track­ing.  I real­ly couldn't remem­ber so I exit­ed and stopped at a gas sta­tion. The atten­dant told me I need­ed to turn around and head the oth­er way for about thir­ty miles or so, and I'd see the Dublin exit.

Grand­pa refused to believe the man, say­ing, "He's just some dumb coun­try cuss, Gee.  He's prob'ly nev­er been ten miles from what­ev­er town it is he grew up in."  I reck­oned Grand­pa had been down to the farm hun­dreds of times, so he had to be right.

We con­tin­ued on our Grand­pa-direct­ed jour­ney until he saw a road sign that indi­cat­ed we were approach­ing the Wytheville/WV Turn­pike exit.

"Turn around, Gee, turn around," he grum­bled. "You're going the wrong way."

I knew bet­ter than to point out he was the one who insist­ed we go this way. We exit­ed at Fort Chiswell and head­ed back toward Dublin.  No one spoke. Even the baby was silent.

It was oppres­sive­ly air­less in the car. Start­ing to feel sick, I eased the win­dows open. Sal­ly didn't com­plain about her hair even though it had wilt­ed and was cling­ing for dear life to her sweaty red face. Mom stared silent­ly out the win­dow.  Liz had fall­en asleep lean­ing on Mom's shoul­der.  Grand­pa watched out his win­dow for a famil­iar land­mark. I start­ed to won­der what the tem­per­a­ture was inside the car, and if the heat could some­how dam­age

the leather uphol­stery.
"You've gone too far again, Gee!"  Grand­pa bel­lowed. Star­tled and con­fused at how I could pos­si­bly have missed the Dublin sign, I slowed down and got into the right-hand lane.

"Grand­pa, I didn't see a sign for the Dublin exit."

"You're fly­ing down this free­way so fast, nobody saw it.  But there was a sign say­ing Roanoke, and that's too far!"

In a split sec­ond I real­ized what had hap­pened. Hav­ing nev­er dri­ven the inter­state, when­ev­er Grand­pa saw the sign for Roanoke, he assumed we were about to reach Roanoke, so he thought we'd gone too far! I explained that to Grand­pa (and con­vinced him it was true), and we made pret­ty good time the rest of the way.  A trip that should have tak­en under three hours had turned into near­ly six, and we still had to scat­ter Grandma's ash­es and return home.

Grand­pa eas­i­ly rec­og­nized the right route once we got to Dublin and soon we were out in the coun­try. I pulled onto the wind­ing lane in the fam­i­ly ceme­tery beside the old Methodist church. The church looked just as I remem­bered it — well, maybe it had a fresh coat or two of white paint added since I was a child, and the men's and women's out­hous­es had been chained and pad­locked. The church doors were locked too, some­thing unimag­in­able when I was a child. Essen­tial­ly though, the church's appear­ance remained unchanged. It was as if we had been trans­port­ed back to 1963.

I found my great grand­par­ents' tomb­stones right next to the grav­el road.  We each spoke our part­ing ten­der words about Grand­ma and sang a few hymns.  Grandma's favorite song, "Car­ry Me Back to Old Vir­gin­ny," was sung as we scat­tered her ash­es.  Inter­est­ing­ly enough, this was the offi­cial state song of Vir­ginia until 1997 when it was declared the song emer­i­tus and a new song cho­sen.  I fig­ure the ref­er­ences to "Mas­sa" and "dark­ey" final­ly became too much for even the most tol­er­ant of black folks 130 years after the "War Between the States" end­ed. I imag­ined my great grand­par­ents there to joy­ful­ly greet Grand­ma as we sang the last lines:
"Soon we will meet on that bright and gold­en shore,
There we'll be hap­py and free from all sor­row,
There's where we'll meet and we'll nev­er part no more."

After prayers were said and tears were shed, we word­less­ly climbed back into the car. There were just six of us return­ing to West Vir­ginia. This was Grandma's last trip back home. Ash­es to ash­es, dust to dust, she was once again in the care of her par­ents and the land she'd grown up on and loved so well. I felt a qui­et sat­is­fac­tion for my role in com­plet­ing the cir­cle of her life here on earth.

I also felt a rum­bling in my bel­ly.

And it wasn't a gen­tle rum­ble that nudged me and said "Hey, you for­got to eat," but a not-so-ear­ly warn­ing of impend­ing intesti­nal explo­sion. The hours of oppres­sive heat and pent-up stress hit my gut with the force of a train derail­ing. I had to go to the bath­room — now. Vivid images of pad­locked chains around the out­hous­es and locked church doors taunt­ed me. With star­tling clar­i­ty, I real­ized that we'd have to stop at the farm­house.

Using rea­son is always point­less once my pig­head­ed rel­a­tives get set on a con­cept, and my futile attempt to use log­ic to sway my grand­fa­ther demon­strates what a state of pan­ic I was in. I blurt­ed "Grand­pa, we got­ta stop at the farm­house and tell Aunt Joyce and Aunt Ellie about Grand­ma before we go" in a des­per­ate bid not to reveal my intesti­nal sit­u­a­tion.

"I for­bid you to go there, Gee.  Grand­ma hasn't spo­ken to those women in over twen­ty years, and I won't dis­re­spect her mem­o­ry by start­ing now."

"But Grand­pa," I plead­ed, "They don't have a phone and I can't call them and I have to use the bath­room — and I have to go now!"  When all else fails, tell the truth.

Grand­pa refused to go onto the porch once we got to the farm­house.  Mom, Liz and Sal­ly loy­al­ly remained in the car, and I raced across the spa­cious wrap-around porch and pound­ed on the front door.  After an inter­minable wait (dur­ing which my fear the sis­ters had gone into town for some­thing and I was strand­ed with no relief in sight threat­ened to become the last straw in my abil­i­ty to con­tain myself), two tiny shriv­eled old ladies peeked through a lacy cur­tain and stared at me curi­ous­ly.

"Hel­lo, Aunt Joyce and Aunt Ellie" — I didn't know which was which.  "I'm Gee, Virginia's grand­daugh­ter from West Vir­ginia — you know, Lilly's daugh­ter?" I prayed they weren't hard of hear­ing so I didn't have to repeat myself. Time was indeed run­ning out. I just prayed noth­ing else did.

The sis­ters turned to look at one anoth­er in per­fect syn­chronic­i­ty like mechan­i­cal toy mice or mir­ror images. No word was spo­ken but some tele­path­ic agree­ment was reached, and the door opened.

"Come in, come in.  You're all grown up now, Gee.  How's Vir­ginia?" the mir­ror image on the left said.

Employ­ing what few diplo­mat­ic skills I pos­sess, I tried to con­vey the urgency I was feel­ing and said, "Oh my gosh, I hate to burst in and ask this, but my tummy's real upset and I need to use the bath­room."  By now I was bent over hold­ing my low­er bel­ly with both hands and squeez­ing my legs togeth­er.

"Right this way," said the mir­ror image on the right, indi­cat­ing the room to her left. Excus­ing myself, I dashed past the mir­ror sis­ters, ran through the bed­room and entered the kitchen.  I saw the toi­let through a door­way on the far side of the wall.  Relieved, I entered the bath­room, hur­ried­ly closed the door behind me and pulled the chain to turn on the over­head light. That's when I noticed the tub was full of pota­toes. Dis­be­liev­ing, I saw the sink was filled with apples.  Worst of all, there was no water what­so­ev­er in the toi­let bowl.

Pan­ick­ing and bewil­dered, I turned back to the kitchen. The mir­ror image sis­ters had caught up and were smil­ing at me.

"Um, where can I use the bath­room," I asked, hope­ful they could point to some secret place in the two-room farm­house I hadn't already seen. They looked at each oth­er simul­ta­ne­ous­ly, employ­ing that same secret tele­path­ic tim­ing, and the sis­ter on the left said, "Papa nev­er fin­ished hook­ing up the plumb­ing to the bath­room.  You can use the cham­ber pot," and she point­ed to a bed­side com­mode with a lid on it.  The right side sis­ter removed the cov­er with a grace­ful flour­ish that would put a French chef to shame, reveal­ing a banana peel at the bot­tom.

Thor­ough­ly defeat­ed, far past dis­com­fort and in actu­al pain now, I could wait no longer.  The mir­ror sis­ters were vir­tu­al strangers — I didn't even know which was Joyce and which was Ellie — but I knew I couldn't delay anoth­er sec­ond. I bare­ly sat down in time. This was tru­ly the worst moment of my life.  Here I sat in the most humil­i­at­ing sit­u­a­tion I'd ever been in, doing the most embar­rass­ing thing I'd ever done in front of any­one.

The mir­ror sis­ters calm­ly looked on as if I were only tying my shoe. "Where is Vir­ginia?" the left mir­ror sis­ter asked.

"Yes, how is she?" the right mir­ror sis­ter inquired.
Min­i­miz­ing my bod­i­ly nois­es, I won­dered what the eti­quette in such a sit­u­a­tion was.

Pant­i­ng, I thought out what to say.
"Well … Grand­ma has been very sick for a long time … and actu­al­ly … she passed away … I'm sor­ry … a few days ago."  The mir­ror sis­ters turned to look at one oth­er as calm­ly as if we were all sit­ting at the kitchen table drink­ing cider and I'd just said Grand­ma was in the car and would be right along direct­ly.

"Where will she be buried?" the one on the left asked.

"Yes, where will she be buried?" the one on the right par­rot­ed. Oh, hell, I thought. It just keeps get­ting bet­ter.

They stood, patient­ly wait­ing for an answer.  I sat, patient­ly wait­ing for toi­let paper.

"Um, excuse me but where is the toi­let paper, please?"

"Oh, we keep it in the bed­room and bring it back and forth when we need to," Left Mir­ror Sis­ter answered. Right Mir­ror Sis­ter dis­ap­peared into the oth­er room and returned with the toi­let paper roll.

I had been wrong; that hadn't been the worst moment of my life.  It was get­ting worse. Lack­ing the nerve to ask them to leave at such a cru­cial time in break­ing the news, I per­formed the final humil­i­at­ing paper­work with an audi­ence bland­ly look­ing on, expec­tant­ly wait­ing for an answer.

"Well, Grand­ma want­ed to be cre­mat­ed. She asked me to scat­ter her ash­es on your par­ents' graves, and we just did that before I stopped here to inform you."

Both my jobs were done. Now all I had to do was craft small talk, wash my hands, and make my get-away. Once again, the plan was eas­i­er devel­oped than car­ried out.
The mir­ror sis­ters walked out to the car with me.  Mom and my sis­ters got out and the five women began talk­ing and weep­ing.  Grand­pa took a lit­tle longer to warm up, but even­tu­al­ly he too chat­ted with my great aunts.  He even knew which was Joyce and which was Ellie.

Aunt Ellie (Left Mir­ror Sis­ter) admired the baby and told me how much she looked like my Grand­ma Vir­ginia.  Grand­pa seemed to get along bet­ter with Aunt Joyce, and they moseyed down the lane to con­tin­ue their con­ver­sa­tion. The rest of us walked around the farm, lost in our own mem­o­ries.

A lit­tle lat­er, we all went inside. Chairs mate­ri­al­ized and we sat around the rough kitchen table and con­tin­ued chat­ting. Every­one ate thick ham sand­wich­es pre­pared by Aunt Ellie while I nursed the baby. Grand­pa helped Aunt Joyce pull an ancient trunk out of the bed­room clos­et and we looked through fam­i­ly pho­tographs dat­ing back to the Civ­il War. Lis­ten­ing to sto­ries about all those dead rel­a­tives made me sad know­ing anoth­er had joined their ranks.

We hugged, kissed, promised to write one anoth­er and vis­it again soon. The West Vir­ginia branch of the fam­i­ly piled back into the car to return home.  Just before I backed down the dri­ve, I asked Aunt Joyce what the sis­ters' dis­agree­ment had been all those years ago.

"You know, Gee, I don't remem­ber."

"Nei­ther do I," Aunt Ellie added.

It was dark by the time I got on the inter­state.  Each of us was exhaust­ed from the trip, the

heat and the emo­tion­al toll, and soon all my pas­sen­gers (except Grand­pa) were sleep­ing.

"Thank you, Gee, for what you did today."

"You're wel­come, Grand­pa. I was hon­ored to be able to do it."

"No, I mean bring­ing the fam­i­ly back togeth­er. Thank you for that."

"You're wel­come, Grand­pa. I love you."

"I love you too. I have a favor to ask."

"What's that, Grand­pa," I asked, a lit­tle ner­vous and hop­ing he didn't ask me to take some back coun­try road that I was sure to get lost on.

"When I go, do you promise to scat­ter my ash­es where Grandma's ash­es are?"

"On two con­di­tions."

"What con­di­tions," he asked.

"One, that you don't try to give me any direc­tions on the way down. If you do, I swear my hand to God I'll throw your ash­es out on the inter­state."

He laughed and agreed. "What's the oth­er con­di­tion?"

"That I can run the air con­di­tion­er and you won't com­plain about it, even if you do catch your death of pneu­mo­nia."

Grand­pa chuck­led, then gig­gled, then laughed till he had to wipe away tears with his old ban­dana. He was once again my ornery joke-lov­ing grand­fa­ther for the first time since Grand­ma passed away. Soon, he nod­ded off to sleep. I drove the rest of the way with­out once get­ting lost except in my own thoughts about fam­i­ly rela­tion­ships and how eas­i­ly rifts form for sil­ly rea­sons.

The next evening, I received an irate phone call from my Dad. He'd found the Diet Coke can under the front seat of the Lin­coln.

"Dammit, Gee," he said, "I let you take my new car and I find a soda can under the seat.  The least you could have done was thrown it away! You are so irre­spon­si­ble!"

Before I took Grand­ma home, I'd have respond­ed with an argu­ment about how respon­si­ble I'd been to clean every­thing else up with­out any­one even know­ing the ash­es had spilled. Before I took Grand­ma home, my right­eous indig­na­tion would've kicked in and I'd be offend­ed at my Dad's com­ments. But since I took Grand­ma home, I drew a deep breath, and sim­ply apol­o­gized.

hamiltongingerGin­ger Hamil­ton is a ninth-gen­er­a­tion Appalachi­an writ­ing from a dark hol­low in Cen­tral West Vir­ginia. More than a dozen diverse print antholo­gies fea­ture her work.

Recog­ni­tion for Hamilton's writ­ing includes: Grand Prize in The Bin­na­cle Third Annu­al Inter­na­tion­al Ultra-Short Sto­ry Com­pe­ti­tion, final­ist for the Fif­teenth Glass Woman Prize 2014, select­ed for AHWIR Homer Hickam's Mas­ter Class, and a final­ist in West Vir­ginia Fic­tion Com­pe­ti­tion 2015.

Fun Fact: Gin­ger Hamilton's sto­ry "Bring­ing Home the Bacon" is used in the cur­ricu­lum of a senior lev­el Com­put­er Sci­ence class (CS-475 Game Devel­op­ment) at West Vir­ginia Uni­ver­si­ty. It was also induct­ed into Fair­mont State University's Folk­life Cen­ter as a sto­ry which pre­serves tra­di­tion­al Appalachi­an her­itage (hog butcher­ing).


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