|Photo of Stephen King's Home in Bangor, ME.|
For reasons I'm not entirely certain, my father's side of the family was having dinner with Stephen King. I know that my aunt was involved somehow in the reason behind this meal. Stephen King is a wonderful philanthropist and my aunt worked for the harbor during this stretch of time. I suspect it was a dinner following Stephen King doing one of his many charitable contributions to the State of Maine. I don't know for certain. What I do know is that the dinner took place at my grandparent's house.
For as long as I have known my grandmother, she has always had strange, people-hating cats. At the time this story took place, her current cat had another particular trait; he loved to curl up in the backseat of parked cars. You see, while Eastport is technically a city, it's only one in political structure. The actual population of the city resembled the size of a small town under normal definitions. There was little crime and everyone left car windows down and doors unlocked.
Stephen King came to dinner, met me and my family, and after socializing, climbed into his car to start the three hour drive drive home. As the story goes, Stephen King driving through Pleasant Point when my grandmother's cat, woke up, jumped into the front seat and raised a kind of hell only a person-hating cat could. The incident scared the crap out of Stephen King. He somehow dealt with the cat, turned around, and drove all the way back to my grandparents house. Once there, he somehow managed to wrangle the cat into his arms. He carried it over to the front door and politely returned him to my grandparents.
The conclusion to this story came later when Stephen King's Cujo was published. In the book, the five-year old Tad has a strikingly similar description to two-year old me. Also the description of Donna was equally similar to my mother. When Stephen King later published On Writing, he admitted that during this period of his life, he was in a dark place and doesn't remember where he got the idea from for this book. In fact, he confesses only vaguely remembering writing parts of the book. As far as I'm concerned, this cat incident was at least part of the inspiration behind his book, Cujo.