“Don’t shoot!”..

In the early 80’s myself, parents, sister & two brothers moved into our suburban three level house w/an attic (yes it was big for our little beings & bodies). A month before we moved, my sister would ask me every night before falling asleep in our shared bedroom “Do you want to move?” Yes, she was the annoying sister, intentionally of course. So that summer move-in day on a Saturday arrived. The elderly man/owner died in one of the rooms of our new house, that is actually one cool & a little creepy part of the story. The real estate agent mentioned to my parents that the previous owner owned a gun, hidden somewhere in the house, he had no relatives or he didn’t tell anyone so no one knew where. When my parents relayed the news to us out of caution, our little eyes widened up w/excitement upon hearing, to kids ‘it was hella cool news’. So the race & treasure hunt began for myself & my siblings to find it. So the whole summer we looked all over, thoroughly. Up & down, high & low & by the end of summer our young tired minds were sure the gun was not in OUR house. Even at one point, I almost convinced my parents to bash down a wall, I was so sure it was behind this particular wall. After this walls wallpaper was stripped off there was a sketch of a skeleton playing the piano (& it was a really good drawing too, not from an amateur). I screamed, “THE GUN IS IN THE WALL, I KNOW IT IS!” My parents turned to look at each other & I was gone, went off looking for a sledgehammer and when I returned I knew bashing in a wall was too good to be true by my parent’s expressions. “No, we’re not knocking down this wall. If the gun is behind there, it will keep us safe & is staying there.” So, convinced once again that the gun ‘was’ in our house, behind the wall, my siblings & I started our new school year & eventually forgot about it.

A few months later as I was looking out the window that winter day, at 8 inches of snow I yelled, “Yeah, no school” & did a happy dance in my pink onesies! My older brother & sister & I were up in the playroom on the 3rd floor (my little brother was downstairs). My brother John was rolling around the room on this little square wooden bench w/wheels, he had his hands underneath it to support himself. All I heard him say was “A trap door”, as he slid it open he pulled out a box of bullets. I watched as all this unfold with razor-sharp focus ready to jump in & try to avert the problem, then he pulled out another box & opened it & screamed, “It’s a gun”! He then pointed in my sister’s direction & she screamed, I shot up quick on my feet realizing with a solution & ran downstairs to my mother screaming, “MA, WE FOUND THE GUN!” Everything was a blur after that, so she must’ve ran up the stairs grabbed the bullets & gun & hid them till my father got home. Hours later I watched my dad take the gun out of the box in the kitchen, knowing it didn’t have any bullets in it, he put only his arm w/the gun in hand out the back door pointed up & pulled the trigger….The gun w/out bullets didn’t go off. A couple of weeks later my father came home from work & said “We’re going to the gun range with Mr. McKenzie, the guy I work with tomorrow, he owns guns”, I didn’t know how or what to think about that. So my turn was up, it was an outside range. My father had to hold my eight-year-old frame down by my shoulders so I wouldn’t thrust back ten feet & crack my head. I don’t know about my head cracking, but I do know after shooting it if he didn’t secure me by my shoulders I surely would’ve shot back ten feet & landed on my ass.

I didn’t enjoy the experience, it was not pleasant or thrilling for me at all (& I was young, if I didn’t enjoy shooting a gun as a kid I definitely wouldn’t enjoy it as an adult). And I have no desire to shoot a gun at a range ever again.