Communion Of Dreams


“My Father’s Gun”.
December 11, 2009, 11:55 am
Filed under: Connections, Guns, Health, Privacy, Society, Survival, Violence, Writing stuff

I just sent the following email:

University City Chief of Police
Colonel Charles Adams
6801 Delmar Blvd.
University City, MO 63130

Colonel Adams,

40 years ago, in the early hours of 12 December, my father, Wilbert James Downey, died while performing his duties as a patrolman for the University City Police Department.

Your department, and the people of University City, have always graciously recognized his sacrifice, and honored his memory. This has always been a comfort to my family, and to myself, though I have not participated in any of the remembrances in recent years.

This morning I would like to ask your assistance in doing some research for a book about my father. I need some information which is not readily available, but it may be in your archives or in the collective memory of the department.

I would like to know about my father’s service revolver. I know that it was a .38 special, probably a S & W Model 15. If you could confirm this, or provide any additional information, I would greatly appreciate it. Is it possible that a serial number was recorded? Was the revolver retained by the department, or was it considered personal property?

Any help in this matter would be most welcome. If there is someone else there at the department with whom it would be better for me to correspond, please let me know.

Thank you for your time, and your service to the community –

James Downey

And with that, I have begun a new project, a new journey, likely a new book.

I’ve mentioned before that this time of year always leaves me feeling . . . nachdenklich. This year the intensity of the rumination has been greater than before. I’m not entirely sure why. Regardless, the feeling is there, and it has been growing on me all this year.

So, I’ve decided to embark on a quest to find my father’s gun. Specifically, his service revolver mentioned above. And through this, to find him.

Because the gun itself doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the journey. As I told my sister in an email this morning:

I too had been feeling that this year was somehow more ‘significant’, and it has had a greater impact on me than in most past years. In fact, this morning I was going to draft a letter/email to Chief Adams at the U City PD, and thereby initiate something I had been thinking about for the last couple of years: writing a book about dad through the mechanism of trying to track down his service revolver (working title idea “My Father’s Gun”). My intent is to explore a lot of the things I have thought about and wondered about over the last 40 years, as a way of understanding him and the lives he touched. I was planning on incorporating all my correspondence and such available resources as I can find – which will also mean my finally coming to terms with things I have deliberately tried to avoid (I think for good reason).

I’ve invited her to join me on this journey (we get along very well, and could work together on such a project easily), adding her perspective along the way. We’ll see.

Just thought I would share this.

Jim Downey

Update: I did hear back from the Chief’s office, have the serial number now, and have confirmed by it that was a Model 10 which was manufactured in early 1961. This fits perfectly with about the time my dad started on the force. JD


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