My first inkling that my family was different came when I was six and found a gun hidden under my dad’s bed. I knew he’d served in Vietnam and assumed it was from then. I even told friends how proud I felt: my father, the brave soldier.
A teacher overheard me talking about the gun and quietly mentioned it to my parents. Dad told me, “What goes on in our family stays behind these walls. We don’t ever talk about it to anyone else.” I remember wondering why it was such a big secret, but it didn’t feel strange; it was just the way we did things.