Son of Frederick Francis Fern and Katrina Schuller-Fern, Erik was born August 3, 1952. He hangs out with many members of the class of 1969, though he is two grades behind them.
His mother’s first husband, David Wright, kidnaped Erik at age 11. Over all, Erik is a likable fellow, courteous, loyal friend and neighbor and helpful. Yet, the lessons from his captor, (who was not biologically related) turned him into at risk teen. Three years with Wright turned the docile lad into a willing and agile fighter able to take on boys a bit larger than him.
He came to blows with Dean in the hallway of their high school. He failed to entrap Randy in a fit of jealousy when Randy took Trudy to the State Fair.
Erik underwent a transformative healing through Jamie Fox, a highly respected Anishinabe Medicine Elder. Erik’s role in the community is enhanced. He readily helps others and is looked to as one to be counted on.
Erik later received the Purple Heart and is a former Viet Nam POW. He eventually joins the local Native American Franciscan Order six year after his return from Vietnam, (though he is not indigenous.)
More on Erik’s young adult life is in some of the Birch Clump Village readers. The short story, A Goose in Deer Season, is particularly humorous, though a bit traumatic at one point.
Click the art gallery below:
Practical joke backfires, leaves Dean tied by Erik Fern
Erik packs for trip in "A Goose in Deer Season." A well packed trunk
Erik says he like a well packed trunk. Trudy, ogled the rear view of his "Saturday Night Special" jeans and flirtatiously acknowledged he certainly does pack it in nice. (Ref: photo above.)
Neil Roberts, (Powers, MI)
Neil Roberts (born 1952)
Neil's first major appearances in the short story Start the Day Right
found in the book Ten Things: Birch Clump Village Reader 5.
Neil is 19 in 1971. He works at the Birch Clump General Store as stock boy. The waitress, Madge has a crush on him (and on Jig), thus she watches for him to open up each morning. He's kindly to her, but does not respond to her various advances as she would have hoped. Little does she know, but He'd actually have preferred Jig's company.
A thief surprises him one morning as he opens the back door. A vicious fist fight for his very life ensues. Neil is well bruised, but so was the thief. Enlarge and look close - you can see his blood shot eyes from the fight.
Neil shows up in other stories, such as Changing a Flat
with Sarge T. Douglas.
Neil's intimidating 6 pack abs in the story: "Changing a Flat."
Neil opens back door of store and is assaulted by a thief.
Back alley fight
Thief forces Neil into a fight for his life.
Neil is pulled back into the fray
Things are not in Neil's favor
Neil the next day. Black and blue
BC Guys, left-right starting with the upper row:
Bro. Moses of the Franciscans of St. James. Dean Phelan age 18/19. Jerome Mott resting after a post hig school graduation fist fight with Dean.
Randy Vanwesterdyke with his medicine bag, age 14. Randy again at 18. Dean around 21/23. A typical young man of the 1970's titled "Head Band Kid."
The larger number of my characters are Baby Boomers born in the 1950's. Thus the depiction of many with longer hair, a semi-hippy look, sandals, tight jeans, headbands, so so forth during their teen and young adult years.
Dean Thompson - Phelan
Dean (Thompson) Phelan
Son of Flo and Bill Thompson, he often uses his step-father’s last name, Phelan; even though he was never legally adopted by Phil Phelan.
His mind comically wonders, and he is known to innocently make inappropriate remarks when his attention returns to the group conversation. He is a practical joker, yet most of his pranks backfire on him.
His close friendship with Randy is tested in a fifth grade playground race-related fist fight. Days later, both boys approach the Bishop on their Confirmation Day sporting black eyes.
Dean dates Cecilia all through high school, though another boy takes her to the senior prom, 1969. A new comer from Lancing shows up in Birch Clump the summer after graduation that puts quite a spin on the first novel. His name is John Macias, and his arrival sparks confusion that ends with a ferocious, fight between Dean and Mott at a graduation picnic in Fayette State Park, site of a ghost town.
Macias’ arrival also spelled doom for a number of school and township officials who had been engaged in a child kidnapping ring back in the 1950s.
Dean joined the Franciscans, but then left voluntarily in good standing a couple years later. He eventually got married.
Click the art galler y below:
Walk in the woods
Dean knocked out in woods near home.
Cecilia, Dean's high school sweetheart
J. Mott after fight with Dean. Age 18
Dean defends him and his future fiance, 1975 age 24.
Lester knocks the wind out of Dean age 24/25
Dean beaten and sore the next day.
What Would Bubba Do?
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That is the question asked asked by Birch Clump villagers in at least two of the BCVR Reader series.
There are two characters named Bubba in my books. Nothing is revealed about the first one mentioned by Neil and his brother Mark in the early 1970s. It is not clear if that one existed, or was just a name Mark and Neil made up. We can safely assume that Bubba, if he existed, would be at least 50 years old, and quite possibly around 60 today.
The Bubba pictured above was born in or close to 1993. Thus I added the "Jr" to distinguish him from the former Bubba. His childhood was quite traumatic and dysfunctional. His mother was a drug addict and the father alcoholic. His older sister took to drugs and died. His little brother was killed in a drunk driving accident between his father and uncle. Bubba was serving time in juvenile detention at the time of his brother's death.
Friars Jacob White and Onjishkawa'o metored Bubba during his incarceration. He later moved in with Onjishkawa'o in Wisconsin and also spent some time with the Franciscan Friars of St. James in Birch Clump, Michigan.
He accidentally set his shirt on fire while cooking oatmeal in one of Annunciation Friary's out cabins. In his haste and panic, he also set some curtains on fire in the same cabin.
Bubba studied communications and journalism after his release, graduating with a BA in 2015. He is currently apprenticing under Bro. Onjishkawa'o by assisting the elder with research on the villagers and acquaintances of the village of Birch Clump. Most of the stories presented in later Birch Clump Village Readers are a result of some of his research.
He has a girl friend from England who lives in Pulaski, Wisconsin. Her name is Jolene.