Heros and Idols by Richard Baran
Seven year old Tess savored the experiences she had while on vacation to the Northwoods during the summer of 1945 with her burlesque star aunt, Rose and an Ojibwa Indian Chief, John Proud Bear. Back then she received her Ojibwa name, Lady of the Blue Sky and discovered two heroes. Lessons learned from the two in Lunch with a Gypsy helped pave the way for her eventual survival and happiness.
Georgie, a nickname he detested all of his life, attended the wake of a secret love from years past only to find a bigger secret. Buried dreams of his illicit love with Maggie, the preppie school teacher, are unearthed. So are memories of Nana Beam, his hero, an idol who drank whiskey from a Mason jar and lovingly lectured him with pearls of philosophy about repentance and doing the right thing with his life in I’ve Got a Secret.
As a boy, Stan both feared and idolized his two grandfathers, Grandpa Zev and Gramps. Their gruff lessons about the real world helped Stan get through a broken heart. The death of Stan’s wife, and then his mother, led him back to El B, his high school sweetheart from over four decades ago. It was a high school class ring he found in his mother’s antique sewing box that took him and his rediscovered love from the teen years back to visit an old, scarred maple tree in a forest preserve during Thanksgiving in The One that Got Away. Thirteen years old, Gil had three heroes growing up. There was his grandfather, Poppy Paul an officer in the Prussian army, who taught him to respect and cherish his given name, Gilead. Gil’s father was his second idol receiving that status. He had formally introduced his son to Wrigley Field the day after the Chicago Cubs traded Gil’s third idol, Andy Pafko to the Brooklyn Dodgers. That day at the ball game, Gil discovered another side to his father. Tragically, death claimed Gil’s father soon after and Gil later found a unique way to keep his dad’s memory alive in Trading Prushka.