Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Cliff's KV Notes, Part 14: Guns & Roses

Actually, this installment has nothing to do with roses, unless one of the six or so readers of this series wants to send me some. I just thought it would be a more catchy title than “The Night I Almost Shot My Grandmother.”
I don’t know what the gun laws are now in New York City, but back in 1958, you could legally own a long gun, so long as you were 18 years old and registered the gun with the City. There was a gun store and shooting range downtown on Warren St. (I think 22 Warren St.), and I bought a Stevens .22 caliber semi auto carbine, which I duly registered. I don’t know if KV had any of their own gun laws, but it probably wouldn’t have made any difference. Seems like there were a lot less gun crazies running around back then, and I never got a second look, toting my carbine inside its soft case, when I traveled down to the range to fire off a box or two of .22s.
I kept the gun, unloaded, in its case, inside my bedroom closet. We were living in AH8 at the time.
One night, about one or 2 a.m. I was awakened by a key being turned back and forth in our lock. Our apartment door was dad-bolted, so whoever had the key couldn’t come in. I ran to my parents’ bedroom and woke my father.
“Dad, there’s someone trying to break into the house.”
He jumped out of bed and started for the door. I said, “Wait, let me get my gun.” He agreed.
You loaded the Stevens through a tube located under the barrel. My hands were shaking as I spilled a box of .22s on my bed and managed to get only about 6 or 7 rounds down the tube.
My father and I took off towards the door, and he sort of crouched while he slid back the dead-bolt and flung open the door. The carbine already was raised to my shoulder, live round in the chamber, safety off and finger on the trigger. I tensed even more, and started to put more pressure on the trigger as my father flung open the door. And there stood…nobody.
About this time, my mother came out of the bedroom and asked what was going on. When we told her, she got kind of annoyed at us and said it must be grandma. Seems that my grandmother used to stay out late at times playing cards with “the girls.” This irked my grandfather to the point where he would lock her out of the apartment (BE6). This must have been one of those times. We walked to the stairway, and sure enough, there was grandma sitting on the steps, at a loss as to what to do next.
Both my grand parents lived well into their 90s. But I always wonder what would have happened if I had seen my grandmother standing in the doorway when my father flung open the door. Good thing she wasn’t.
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