The first time I ever thought I had any idea who my father was, I was in college. It had been several years already since I’d seen him; he and my mother divorced when I was in the third grade. He left, or she threw him out, on Christmas morning. We had just opened presents and then, with little fanfare, he collected a few belongings and said he had to visit an ill relative in North Carolina. He’d be gone for a few days.