When I was about four years old, my aunt would take me to Belmont Park where I’d ride the bumper cars, play the ring toss and only once ride the caterpillar. Just that one time because I threw up. Before going to the park we would first visit my grandfather in the hospital where he suffered from a wasting and debilitating disease. I never found out what that was. I don’t remember the name of the hospital and my memory of Papou is rather dim, but I do remember an old man with snow-white hair and big bushy mustache lying immobile in his hospital bed. What did become seared in my mind was the legless man who propelled himself through the hospital corridors by using his hands and fists to drive himself forward on what I would today describe as a skateboard. I believe now he was a veteran of the Second World War and had lost his legs in battle. This image, the image of a large torso on a wooden plank with wheels, his leg stumps encased in leather caps—like a Fez attached to his stumps—was very frightening; frightening and fascinating and my aunt would admonish me not to stare. That was impolite. But, hey! I was only four. This image, which has remained with me and surfaces periodically, became the motivating force behind writing Rollerboards. Back when I was a kid there were stables in the neighbourhood. Milk, bread, ice were all delivered by horse drawn carts. And Billy, whom we called Horse Bun Billy, did throw manure at us. Billy found his way into The Forge, but the Billy from my childhood was not a bully, just a scruffy kid with a wicked right arm. And the stories on the docks? Yes, there was a Drago, there was a Bucky and there was a Mickey too.