A Story by Lea Sheryn
Boy grows up in foster care, becomes homeless, goes to NYC and becomes famous
His mother named him Wolf. Why?--no one knew. His mother died, in childbirth, shortly after she muttered his first name to the nurse. A sad and lonely boy, Wolf grew up in foster care amongst many other children who were motherless and fatherless. In the great state of Montana, he only knew the other boys and girls who shared his humble abode and the man and woman who were in charge of them.
Many children came and many children left but Wolf remained. An outcast even in the presence of other outcasts, the little boy kept himself to himself. He had no friends; he had no enemies, he had no one. Still, he grew up and soon had to leave the only home he had ever known. Shy, from growing up amid the loneliness of foster care, the young man he became hardly knew how to approach other people. Grasping tightly to the list of perspective businesses that might hire a young man in his condition, it was difficult for him to even open a door, let alone step inside and inquire after a job.
Tall and lean, with clear blue eyes and black hair that was already showing gray at the temples, somehow after close examination, he did resemble his namesake, the Wolf. It is true, when people passed him in the streets, they would take a second glance in his direction and remark on his appearance. Yet, just like he would never approach anyone, no one would approach him.
Out of money and with no place to lay his head, our boy soon became a product of the streets. Sleeping anywhere he could and eating out of dumpsters behind restaurants, his bedraggled appearance gave him an animal-like quality. Wolf could snarl and growl just like the canine he was named after. If another homeless person attempted to take over his spot or steal from his dining places, he would posture and prance, bare his teeth and, if the occasion warranted, howl to beat the devil. Soon people who didn’t know him began referring to him as The Wolf, and that suited our boy just fine.
Wolf moved from place to place. Montana couldn’t hold him so he moved on to Wyoming, to Colorado, up into Oregon and back toward the east. Winters would find him in Arizona or New Mexico while a summer home waited for him in the Ozarks or the Adirondacks. Wolf was a traveling man, he was seeing the world, one state at a time. For an Ex-Foster Kid/Homeless Man, he thought he was doing all right for himself. Coming and going as he pleased and defending himself when necessary, he considered he was living high on the hog. Life was treating Wolf as well as he could expect it to.
Days became months and months years but what did the passing of time matter to a young man on the road? His dark hair growing longer and the mix of gray spreading through his locks, the resemblance to his namesake was more pronounced. Wolf was quite a sight on the streets where he lived. Although no one approached him, people would still stop and stare at the very sight of him. If they pointed or yelled at him, he would let out a growl or a howl to scare them away. And, oh boy, would they run, particularly little children.
The year was 1959 when Wolf made it to New York City. Up until that time, he had stayed away from Big Cities. Small towns and country places suited him just fine. The city was big and intimidating and loud. Too many people gathered on the streets and our boy certainly didn’t like being around a lot of people. Still, New York had called out to him and off he went to explore the big city.
Even amongst the interesting personalities that gathered in Times Square, Wolf stood out. Never thinking of himself as an entertainer, it was a surprise to him that the general population found him to be entertaining. Baiting him with soft pretzels and chilidogs, it was enticing to offer him tidbits and withdraw the offer until, in deep frustration--a loud howl would fill the streets. Laughter would issue forth from the crowd and word was passed along the streets about the Wolf-man who kept everyone enthralled with his bizarre antics. A rumor was started that he should be put in a zoo.
A day finally arrived when a man noticed Wolf in his usual place in Time Square. This man was a member of an upstart trio of singers who were trying to make their way in the world, and was on the fast track to failure. Jay Robins was his name and Jay Robins was a man looking for a gimmick. As soon as he heard the terrible howls of the Wolf-man of Manhattan, he knew he had found exactly what he was looking for. Without further ado, he pushed his way into the crowd then pushed his way back out with our boy in tow.
The trio became a foursome and, with Wolf’s newly found talent; it wasn’t long before the group landed a record deal, shooting them to the top of the charts. Canis-Lupus--the new name of the quartet--was on everyone’s lips; the teenyboppers went crazy whenever the long melodious howl charged further on their favorite records. The night they appeared on American Bandstand, the doors were crashed flooding the dance floor with a wild crowd of screaming girls. Throughout the whole scene, Dick Clark kept his usual cool while he chattered on about Number One records and Smash Hits.
It wasn’t long before Hollywood knocked at Wolf’s door. Encouraged by the smash sensation of his Top Ten performances, a smart producer decided it was time to put our boy on the Silver Screen. With the rise of Monster Movies, there was sure place for someone who could howl in such a canine-like manner. Werewolves were the new craze and suddenly, the boy who grew up in foster care and lived his early adult years on the streets, was a star amongst stars. Wolf lived to a ripe old age, married three times, raised four children and, finally, at the age of 92, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures, Arts and Science.
Sitting back with his feet up on the desk in his large home office as he considered writing his memoirs, Wolf considered he had lived the Good Life. He was a happy and contented man, indeed.