What would Barney have been without the family restaurant? As the middle brother, he seems content to stay put. While still a teen he masters what it takes to run a burger-and-fries joint and could continue with those skills the rest of his working life. Nor does he display the ambition his other two brothers thrive on, either. In short, he’s more or less happy where he is – especially once Pia brightens his existence.

My new novel, What’s Left, won’t let him rest there long. He’s destined for some greatness of his own.

It’s not that there weren’t conflicts. As I noted in a passage since deleted from the novel:

He could have fled, of course, as his elder brother had. But for whatever reasons, Barney chose to stay and serve. Keep his mouth shut, then, and continue sweeping and chopping and composting.

And so he moves up in the restaurant. Still, he’s been active in antiwar protests, which really pissed off Pappa Stavros. In some ways, you might consider Barney the biggest hippie of the lot, maybe even more than Thea Pia.


Well, I have some second-cousins who took over my great-uncle’s plumbing business, unlike my dad, who became a corporate accountant instead of continuing my grandfather’s shop.

Individual personalities come into play. I don’t see Barney wanting to handle the money-side of the restaurant business, had all the responsibility fallen on him.

What do you think? Could he have become an auto mechanic? Taken an assembly line job? Something else? Would he have still been happy? Just what was a hippie living at home, anyway? Do you know anyone who’s like Barney?


An ancient Greek sculpture of an old woman, New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo by Marlith via Wikimedia Commons.)

Cassia’s roots included inspiration like this.

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