“Walking with Great Uncle”

Publication credits:

Originally published in the Summer 2009 edition of The First Line.  Republished in the You Belong 2013 anthology benefitting Friends of Longmont Library in April 2013.

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Author’s notes:

This is literally short story number one, as in the very first one I ever wrote.  And also the very first one I ever submitted for publication and the very first one accepted for publication.  As in I was 1 for 1 for 1.  Of course while this was great for my ego, it set me up for a real fall when I discovered that not every story I wrote got instantly accepted.  In fact, since then my track record is more like 11 for 160 (see my blogs counting down to 100 rejections, and that was over a year ago)

“Walking with Great Uncle” is a lighthearted ghost story set in modern-day Colorado dealing with a very serious topic–the Japanese Internment Camps during World War II.  Nishi Frightler is a student of the paranormal, literally a college student who is given the assignment of studying a ghost.  She chooses the ghost of her nine-year-old great uncle, Enomoto-san, and brings him to school with her.  But only she can see him, at least outside of her very unusual college, and people poke fun at her as she is talking with an invisible ghost.

So she laughs.  That’s the light-hearted part. Then she takes her great-uncle back to the graveyard at Camp Amache.  That’s the sad part.

“Walking with Great Uncle” features cameos by Granny Hooper, aka Twilly Reynolds, from “The Last Ghost of the War” and “The Confederate Cavalryman’s Saber” (now out in eBook…just saying) as well as Hildi Schreiber, the protagonist of the still unpublished great American novel, Gho.

Excerpt: 

Walking with Great Uncle

C.R. Hodges

I skip down the driveway toward my dirt-brown Volkswagen, then cringe when I realize that someone might see me. It’s been years since I’ve skipped, but I’m excited. My great uncle, Enomoto-san will be staying with me for a week. He’s only nine years old, so we always have lots of fun together. He doesn’t laugh much, never has, so I laugh for him. Sometimes other people look at me and laugh too. Sometimes they just look at me.

Enomoto-san had a difficult and foreshortened life. He and my grandfather, Ojiisan, were interred in Camp Amache here in Colorado during World War II. It would not have been a fun place for a boy to grow up. Nor safe. Enomoto-san, an American citizen, had a weak constitution and died two weeks after he was relocated there. Interred in a concentration camp by his own country while his father volunteered to fight for that same country. No wonder he never laughs—he’s a ghost.

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11 Responses to “Walking with Great Uncle”

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