World War II machete
World War II machete

I never met my grandfather. He died long before I was born. I want to say I know him though. I have heard so many stories from my father’s childhood about what kind of man he was. How smart he is, how funny he is, and how loved he is. Everyone always told me he would’ve loved to meet me. It wasn’t until we were cleaning my grandmother’s house to prepare it for selling that I realized there was a whole separate side of him that I had never met before. In his office which had remained largely untouched for years, almost like a museum exhibit, was a desk with a drawer containing World War II memories. Among those memories was a machete. I had always known he had fought in World War II, but I had never truly connected that fact to the man I had been told about. I asked my grandmother about it, and she told me that’s where she met him. It felt like a movie coming to life, and it opened so many new questions as to who my grandfather truly was. Was it wrong of me to imagine a war hero in a World War II movie? Did that take away from the seriousness of his experience? Regardless this is something my grandfather was carrying with him as he met my grandmother, and there is significance in that to me. It represents one of the most important moments in my grandfather's life and by extension me.

Place(s): Poland

– Jason Gratz

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant