When I was six years old, my father abandoned me on a street in Detroit known as Skid Row to hurt my mother while she was at work.
He was angry for her divorcing him due to his alcoholism, infidelity, and lack of financial support.
My last memory of him was me running after his car screaming, "Daddy! Daddy! Don't leave me!"
There were no Amber Alerts in those days. A street person, Maudie, and her little dog, Tufts, looked after me for 6 terrifying weeks.
When I developed Double Pneumonia, Maudie overcame her fear of uniforms and took me to the nearest Salvation Army station.
I immortalized her and Tufts in FRENCH QUARTER NOCTURNE and END OF DAYS.
And I fed the wandering dog who looked like Tufts and hung around Lifeshare for years.
Now, you know the genesis of the street orphan, Victor Standish. He is what I wished I had been on the mean streets of Detroit.
FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE FATHERS, YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF FRAGILE CARGO, WALK CAREFULLY.