His wife began to suspect he was having an affair and confronted him about it.
It happened to be one of the few times we had quibbled about something and weren't speaking to each other so he was able to tell her truthfully that it was over.
She never asked again and he never updated his answer.
His new wife took an almost instant dislike to me, complaining that my dad loved me more than her.
Dad thought if I moved out of the house for a while, she would "cool down" and change her mind.
So in my senior year at Mumford High School in Detroit, Michigan, when other kids went home after school, I drove downtown to a hotel.
Some nights he stayed in the hotel with me; the rest of the time he slept at home with his wife and my older brother. My affair with Sam was like a chance to relive my childhood and try to make it turn out differently.
Two attorneys I knew and respected came up with the same name and same prophetic endorsement: "You two were made for each other." Sam was the consummate fixer and rescuer. But I was lonely and frightened—I hadn't experienced a loss like this since my mother died when I was ten—and my heart spoke louder than anything in my head. We started having lunch at my apartment, when my daughter and her babysitter were off at a toddler enrichment activity.
" He assured me he could take care of everything, and he did. I knew he was unavailable: a married man with a nice wife and grown children. Once he was in my bedroom, I reached out and began to unbutton his pants. Anything but that," he said in a soft but somber voice.
I persuaded him to come to my apartment by saying, "How can you make an argument about how much it costs me and my daughter to live without seeing our home? Sometimes he would take the afternoon off and we’d go out to Coney Island.
After we'd been seeing each other for two years, he gave me a custom-made gold and brown enamel ring with "Always" inscribed on the inside of the band.
I had been a successful advertising copywriter but the stress of divorce and single parenthood made it hard for me to devote the time and energy my job demanded.
When I wasn't working, Sam always made sure my daughter and I were financially OK. During the week, Sam still made time to see me every day.
He once told me, "I'll never let you drown." Family was paramount to him and in 1987, his daughters started getting married and having children of their own. There were more and more of them in line ahead of me. We saw each other after work, having dinner and then back to my apartment.