Of the thousand thousand things my husband saved and left behind

there remain precious few relics hidden here and there in random rooms

for and of the fifteen years his never forgotten father lived after

proudly holding his firstborn and only son in early April of 1939

The son who grew up in Metuchen, New Jersey, a typical teenager with a

stay at home mother, two sisters, a hard working immigrant father from

whom he inherited high cholesterol, an outlandish love of butter, eating meat

and potatoes, reading, and having the right tool for every task

He did not inherit his father's perfect slanted sloping old school

penmanship nor his father's precise manner of placing and spacing

family photographs posed and candid, time captured with the handing down of

old cameras, both still and moving, lenses and cases now boxed with

monogrammed cigarette lighters, initialed cuff links, vintage tie tacks,

old keys to old doors somewhere, small leather notebooks half written in

with dried out pens from the past, once important envelopes carefully slit open

postmarked, saved with penny stamps and dead presidents canceled by

love letters bundled, thin cotton blue baby clothes from the 1940s,

drafting tools and mechanical pencils, a metal measuring tape,

an unsafe cast iron fan with dubious wiring which still whirs and

whispers when plugged in above the family radio with the magic eye

that could not foresee the father's sudden heart attack and death,

changing a flat tire on the shoulder of a back road alone at age forty,

born in Germany but buried in Cleveland, Ohio nearby both parents and

more than his whole lifetime later joined by his wife's ashes

So when newer fans needed a few drops of oil after hours of cleaning

on a humid day in May many years hence, our firstborn son says

you need the old oil can and I know exactly which one he means and

the cabinet where it waits in dented grime, his father's father's half full oil can

Today is not the first day I take note of my son's distinctive hands putting

the fan parts back together deftly using a Phillips head screwdriver, the yellow

and black handle turning as a version of my own time slows to a shimmer

showing how he has inherited his father's hands to the very nails and bones

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