I grew up in Allen Park, Michigan, in the shadow of the giant (eight-story) Uniroyal Tire on I-94. At age nine I wrote and illustrated my first newspaper. Nine years later I was working full time at my favorite paper, the Detroit Free Press. Mornings as a fashion assistant, afternoons pasting up wire copy and editing stock reports in business news. That was in 1968, the year the Tigers won the World Series and the Free Press won the Pulitzer Prize. Kurt Luedtke was executive editor, Neal Shine was city editor and a mentor to news junkies like me. I earned all of $75 a week, which allowed me to move into my own apartment in Detroit, not far from the paper, eat Vienna Sausages and Dinty Moore Beef Stew, and start my dream at 18. That's me in the vintage photo above, second from right, a few years later in the Free Press newsroom. I've since worked for many publications, traveled the world, tested pricey cars, eaten fancy food, interviewed all kinds of celebs and fascinating people, danced with Martha Reeves on a Motown rooftop, got threatening calls about my restaurant reviews, moved north, wrote a couple of books and zillions of newspaper, magazine and web articles. Life's good.