What he left Behind

After Facebook “friending” family from Paris that had moved to Vancouver in the seventies, I was bombarded with a treasure trove of old photographs of my cousins from that country. This encouraged me to reconnect with my cousin in Boston, an elder son of my father’s brother, who informed me about another long lost cousin in upstate New York who also had other documents AND, he said, a Walther PPX that my father had “liberated” from the dead hands of a German officer in WWII.

It seems, when my father returned from his Army service in Europe, he brought back souvenirs, guns among other paraphernalia that the army had let slip through. Dad had left the pistol with his sister and brother-in-law in Upstate New York for safekeeping after he married and had children. Forgotten and held dormant with my Uncle, also now dead, the gun had never been returned. And now, five years after my dad’s death, I wanted it back. What was I going to do with a pistol? I have an obsession to acquire all things that belonged to my deceased father.

In 1945 I could have put it in a shoebox in the trunk of my car, driven it home, run up to my house and stuck it in my closet fire box and been satisfied that it was in my possession, safe and loved. Now? If I were caught with it in my car, not only would I be arrested, my cousin’s house would be searched (possibly a good thing), he would be arrested and we would all be on the FBI watch list. I just wanted my dad’s freaking piece of scrap metal! I decided to let it be. My father left behind the part of his history he never wanted to be a part mine.