My father died when I was forty. After the funeral, us kids had to clean out his house. My responsibility ended up being the basement. So I was going through some old boxes of his things, when I opened an old mildewy case and found some odd things inside. There was a weird helmet, and a gun. Then I saw a red flag with a swastika on it, and I knew what I was looking at: he had collected these things at some point during World War II and taken them home. I saw some photos he took of German prisoners and sat down to look at them for a long time. It was like getting into my father's head in a way I had never done before.