I, P. J. DEAN, am the product of an only child upbringing by a single mom when it just was not done! I was raised in the embrace of her colorful family. A jazz drummer. A trucker. Two WWII vets. A numbers’ runner. An aspiring opera singer. A few gay uncles. All mixed in with staunchly independent women and men who took no stuff from anyone. We had neighbors who people nowadays would label as people of “questionable repute.” I loved every minute of it. My eyes and ears soaked it up. They all forged me in the fire of their many-faceted hearts. Watch the HBO film Lackawanna Blues. It’s the closest you’ll come to my life. I hope I’m doing them proud.