John (Jack) Sloan, born C 1960, near Hudson, Ohio, twenty miles southeast of Cleveland was raised on a small farm by two loving parents. His father, Xavier, was half-Indian, and his mother, Bridget, the daughter of Irish immigrants.
Xavier worked the farm on evenings and weekends, but it was not large or productive enough to provide a decent living. To supplement his income, Xavier ran a small betting operation out of his basement and was known for miles around as the man to come to if you wanted to place a bet. Gambling was quasi-legal in Ohio until the mid-1950’s, and making book a legitimate occupation.
Bridget worked as a bridal consultant for a large department store in the city. She was busiest in the spring when June brides planned their weddings. Bridget had no qualms about offering pre-marital counseling. “Look before you leap.” Was her favorite admonition, and many martyrs-to-be heeded her advice and cancelled their nuptials. She also offered advice on birth control and the evils of priests.
Xavier was born in 1918 to Martin Luther Slonovski, the son of displaced Poles who had moved to London in the 1890’s, and Nancy Pickel, a full-blooded Mohawk Indian. Martin and Nancy were married in 1899 when Martin, a recent British émigré, was employed by the New York Central Railroad in upstate New York. Nancy’s tribe spanned the Canadian/US border and fought the railroad over right-of-way land acquisitions. They fought and lost, but Nancy didn’t care. She and Martin left upstate New York for more southern climes near Cleveland. Love conquers all.
Bridget’s parents were Michael Patrick O’Neill and Mary Martin Murphy. They abandoned Ireland at the turn of the century during the last potato famine of the decade. Bridget was born in 1923 after the family settled in the coal fields of Southern Ohio. Michael Patrick worked in the mines and rose to the rank of Supervisor before the travel bug bit him and he high-tailed it for Chicago leaving Mary Martin with her Rosary and five children. Bridget learned to fend for herself, and used her natural beauty to move about in a very restrictive society.
Martin became a prosperous canal boat owner and captain and worked the Erie and Ohio canals until the great flood of 1914 rendered both inoperable. He later opened the Golden Eagle Saloon near Cleveland that Nancy operated alone from the time of his sad death in 1929 until hers at the age of 101 in 1974. Xavier treasured the memory of his father and carried enormous respect for Nancy.
In 1975, shortly before Jack’s sixteenth birthday, Bridget was kidnapped by Quebec Separatists while she and Xavier were on vacation in Montreal. Xavier and Jack, his only child, searched Eastern Canada for traces of her, but to no avail. Xavier lost all hope and retreated to a world of silence. Jack never quit searching, and after he graduated from college and did a stint in the army, he received a ransom note asking $5,000 for Bridget’s release. Jack convinced an ailing Xavier to mortgage the farm and took the cash to a prearranged drop in Quebec City.
Nine years after she was abducted, Bridget Sloan (Xavier had changed their name) returned to the bosom of her family. She wore camouflage pants and jacket and an empty cartridge belt across her shoulder. Jack suspected “Stockholm Syndrome” and arranged for her to undergo hypnosis.
The session produced nothing of interest except that Bridget had seen pictures of Patricia Hearst on television and thought her fashion sense titillating.
After his undergraduate work, Jack decided to get an MBA and become an entrepreneur. At age thirty he went to work for a computer company when the industry was small and growing. It took him less than five years to make Vice President and three more to take over the company division that manufactured chips for slot machines. His connections in the gaming business resulted in an offer of a CEO position with one of the numerous US corporations engaged in building casinos on tribal land.
During this period, he was married and divorced. He and his wife had no children. Work was everything to him, and he was unwilling to share his life with anyone.
If you’ve read this far, you understand the story is nonsense. Jack will never reveal anything about his past. He is a true man of mystery.
His story and his new life begin C 2004 during his financing quest for two casino operations. Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves focuses on this period of his life.