Short Works by PC Writers

Short works by RPCVs that do not reference the Peace Corps experience.

1
The Grownup Train by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)
2
Punch by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)
3
Gypsy Street by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)
4
Ben East (Malawi 1996-98) Green
5
Thelma Firestone’s Daughter by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)
6
Soledad by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)
7
The Grownup Train by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)
8
Volunteers of America by Jim Graham (Nicaragua 1970-71)
9
Puta Caballo
10
Gypsy Gina

The Grownup Train by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)

Chris Honore’ was born in occupied Denmark, during WWII. After the war, he immigrated to America. He went to public schools and then attended San Jose State University and the University of California, at Berkeley, where he earned a teaching credential, an M.A. and a Ph.D. After teaching high school English for two years, he joined the Peace Corps. He’s a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His wife owns a bookstore on Main Street. His son is a cinematographer, living in Southern California. • THE GROWNUP TRAIN by Chris Honore’ They stood on the train platform, eyes narrowed, bodies angled to the right, looking down the track, waiting. A train had just passed through. Another would be along shortly. They were hardcore, their posture and dress conveying a self-conscious, determined insouciance: shoulders hunched, knees slightly bent, baggy denim shorts riding precariously low on their hips, their hair a shag . . .

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Punch by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)

Chris Honore’ was born in occupied Denmark, during WWII. After the war, he immigrated to America. He went to public schools and then attended San Jose State University and the University of California, at Berkeley, where he earned a teaching credential, an M.A. and a Ph.D. After teaching high school English for two years, he joined the Peace Corps. He’s a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His wife owns a bookstore on Main Street. His son is a cinematographer, living in Southern California. • PUNCH by Chris Honore’ For a time, my family and I lived in Watson, a small farming town in California’s Central Valley — flat, nondescript, a sepia photograph slightly out of focus. Everyday I walked to school and back along dusty, rutted roads bordered by wide irrigation ditches usually filled with green-brown water. The water was controlled by a series of concrete locks that could . . .

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Gypsy Street by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)

[This is the second in a series of short stories written by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64). Will’s stories are about the folk ‘scene’ in Greenwich Village in the Sixties and Seventies. Will wrote me that the character of his story, Harold Childe, is based on Phil Ochs who took his own life by hanging in 1976, and that the original title for “Gypsy Street” was “The Last Days of Phil Ochs.” With the passing of Pete Seeger it is perhaps time to pause and recall that time in our lives. To put us in the mood, here’s “Gypsy Street,” Will’s story of life in the Village that he knew so well when he was preforming as folksinger Will Street.] Gypsy Street by William Siegel Near the end of the third winter Floyd and Dwain spent in Greenwich Village, disappointment and frustration drove them like a horse and carriage to a . . .

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Ben East (Malawi 1996-98) Green

[Ben East taught English in Malawi before taking up various teaching and diplomatic assignments with the state department in West Africa, the Middle East, and throughout the Americas.  A native of Connecticut, he recently returned to the States after nearly two decades overseas.  He lives in Virginia with his wife (also a Malawi RPCV) and two sons, and is working on his third novel.  His fiction has appeared in The Foreign Service Journal, Atticus Review, and Umbrella Factory Magazine. Of Green Ben writes, “The story got its start in the deep sense of loneliness and isolation I felt on a rainy afternoon tucked away in the bush, no mail, no friendly voices, not even a stick of dry firewood to cook my oats — Jungle Oats — for which I had as seasoning only Rajah curry powder.  That loneliness, the sense of adventure that inspired me to seek it, and the wonderful discoveries of . . .

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Thelma Firestone’s Daughter by William Siegel (Ethiopia 1962-64)

[For all of us of a certain age, seeing the new film Inside Llewyn Davis brings us back to those years and the romance of living in New York City and on the edge of society as we tried to make our way as writers, artists, and folksingers. Within the ranks of the Peace Corps, we have a few very successful professional writers and a few really good guitar players, and one of them, Will Siegel, not only played the guitar professionally, but he is also a successful writer and editor. Will Siegel went to Greenwich Village after his Peace Corps (Ethiopia 1962-64) tour, playing in and hung out at the clubs made famous by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, and now dramatized in this new movie featuring a character named Llewyn Davis. In his time in the village, Will performed as “Will Street” at Gerde’s Folk City and The . . .

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Soledad by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)

[Chris Honore’ was born in occupied Denmark, during WWII. After the war, he immigrated to America. He went to public schools and then attended San Jose State University and the University of California, at Berkeley, where he earned a teaching credential, an M.A. and a Ph.D. After teaching high school English for two years, he joined the Peace Corps. He’s a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His wife owns a bookstore on Main Street. His son is a cinematographer, living in Southern California.] • SOLEDAD By Chris Honore’ I was thirteen years old when I went to stay with my grandmother. She lived alone in a rambling, two-story farmhouse with a wide wrap-around porch that offered soft views of the road and woods and a sheltered bay just beyond. Not far inland, due east, was the town of Watson. Everything west was ocean, the Pacific, deeply blue and endless. . . .

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The Grownup Train by Chris Honore’ (Colombia 1967-69)

[Chris Honore’ was born in occupied Denmark, during WWII. After the war, he immigrated to America. He went to public schools and then attended San Jose State University and the University of California, at Berkeley, where he earned a teaching credential, an M.A. and a Ph.D. After teaching high school English for two years, he joined the Peace Corps. He’s a freelance journalist based in Ashland, Oregon. His wife owns a bookstore on Main Street. His son is a cinematographer, living in Southern California.] THE GROWNUP TRAIN by Chris Honore’ They stood on the train platform, eyes narrowed, bodies angled to the right, looking down the track, waiting. A train had just passed through. Another would be along shortly. They were hardcore, their posture and dress conveying a self-conscious, determined insouciance: shoulders hunched, knees slightly bent, baggy denim shorts riding precariously low on their hips, their hair a shag carpet . . .

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Volunteers of America by Jim Graham (Nicaragua 1970-71)

[Jim writes that this ‘incident’ is the opening of his memoir of Nicaragua. The ‘basic incident is true, the particulars are mine’ he writes. The latrine project in part 2 of the story is one of the projects he was involved with. The photo is of Jim working the warehouse he mentions in the story.] • Volunteers of America By Jim Graham (Nicaragua 1970-71) They crossed the Rio Coco at its lowest point.  At this time of year, the river was shallow. Their horse’s hooves threw up muddy water as the bandits splashed toward the other shore, into another country. Northeast Nicaragua, the Mosquito Coast on the Gulf of Mexico, didn’t seem different from Honduras. Both were poor and oppressively hot at midday, siesta time.  The bandits liked to move during siesta, when all of Latin America is sleeping.  This strategy had succeeded many times before. Once across the river, . . .

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Puta Caballo

Puta Caballo by Miguel Lanigan (Colombia 1961–63) About horses, I knew not much. The few I had ridden back in the States were beaten down robots one finds in rental stables — the giddy-up-go plodders that get you from A to B and back again. The horse the Colombian stable hands were leading up from the stalls below was a trembling, brown, mass of quivering  muscle.  The beast I was to ride furiously jerked his head from side to side; the whites of his eyes showed he did not want to be ridden — earlier riders had done him too much harm. How, I lamented to myself, had I gotten myself into this unhappy and dangerous situation I was facing. . . . Back in 1961, I had it made in Washington, D.C.: I was twenty-two, driving a black MGA sports car, was a co-chairman of the debutante committee, had . . .

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Gypsy Gina

Leita Kaldi Davis worked for the United Nations and UNESCO, for Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and Harvard University. She worked with Roma (Gypsies) for fifteen years, became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Senegal at the age of 55, then went to work for the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Haiti for five years. She retired in Florida in 2002. She wrote a memoir of Senegal, Roller Skating in the Desert, and is working on a memoir of Haiti. • GYPSY GINA by Leita Kaldi Davis (Senegal 1993-96) GINA LEANS into the corner of the tenement kitchen, trying to stay out of the way. She’s only nine years old and doesn’t take up much space, pushing close up against the walls.  She idly stretches out a finger and runs it down the yellowed, chipped paint, and puts her finger into her mouth.  Streaks of dirt mark her cheeks; . . .

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