By Mike Henle
Back when I was a 15 year-old high school sophomore living in Yuba City, Calif., life was turbulent, to say the least. Every challenge led to one more and I was caught in the crossfire of a rocky relationship between my parents.
Finally, my dad decided to leave our home. I loved my dad, but like so many other people, he couldn’t deal with the continuation of drugs and mental illness, and he chose to take another route out of his own battle that never seemed to end.
Once my dad made the difficult decision to leave, neighbors Lynne and Art DuFresne decided to watch over the kid across the street. The Dufresne family simply kept me protected during my time of turmoil.
Art had seen the chaos of our home for a long time. That said, one day I had come home from school and found my mom unconscious. I had walked over to see Lynne, and she knew there was something wrong. She called for help and as the ambulance was driving away, Art was coming home. He immediately started looking for me. As soon as he found me he took me aside to explain that I needed to get out of the situation. While I wasn’t quite in the streets, it was close.
With that in mind, Art told me to join him at the local hamburger stand. “Mike, you need to get out of here,” Art urged. “We need to find your dad.”
My dad had moved to Las Vegas. However, Dufresne’s biggest concern was me, and he would advise me to get my dad’s new residence in Las Vegas.
The only problem was that we couldn’t find the number. After contacting my grandfather, Art had the phone number in record time!
The good news was that while I had been in a terrible situation for many years, I would be in good hands now that Art and Lynne were looking after me. I stayed with the DuFresnes until they could get me to my Dad.
Not long after that I was standing at the front door of my dad’s apartment, and with him was his new wife, who would welcome me to her new home.
At least I wasn’t left on the streets or taken to foster care like so many young people nowadays, thanks to Art’s insistence.
As my Dad said “Lynne and Art were there for you when I couldn’t be”.
From Lynne Dufresne
The Kid Next Door
Water fights in the street. Jumping fences with a leap
That Was The Kid Next Door
Hey Lynnie he would say
Can I come in today
A peanut butter sandwich
And he would stay
That Kid Next Door
His Dad came one day
And took that kid away
He went to Vegas see
Married and had three
He worked for the Sun
And that was fun
Then even wrote a book
That Kid Next Door
Seems like only yesterday
Me And That Kid Next Door
Time goes by so fast
But we still keep in touch to this day
He’s 70 and I’m 84