I struggled a long time with the title of this collection of my father’s notebooks. A title can be the key to understanding the writings and the man himself. The wrong title can leave the door to this sometimes fierce and sometimes gentle spirit locked. I tried “Dad” as a title but it did not unlock his relationship to my mother. I tried “Al” but it seemed to cold and distant from his family. I tried “Velvel”, his Yiddish middle name, but it didn’t really describe him. I tried “Uncle-Daddy” but it was somehow too domesticated. Then it hit me. The key to my father was “Wolf”, his American middle name, which expresses his fierce and untamed love for all of us, a love with the potential to lash out at anyone who might have threatened us, a love that was as protective and sustaining as a soul could ever want or need. “Wolf Love” describes something primal, something that knows no bounds, something that recognizes no human laws. My father was not an outlaw. He was honest to a fault, to his own detriment. No, he was not an outlaw, but he might have been, if the law had ever tried to come between the objects of his love and his love. True, later on, when most of you got to know him, he became more and more domesticated. Age, debilitating pain, and disease can do that to even the fiercest of hearts. Some people thought they knew my father in his later years, but they didn’t. Only those who knew him before then really knew him and loved him because, when you have been loved by a wolf, you can’t help returning the same kind of primal love.
I think you have to carry this key inside you in order to understand the notebooks. Otherwise the following pages just won’t make any sense at all.