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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