We all have our heroes, and we assign the term however it makes sense to us.

Maybe our hero did something that we admire, even if we never met him or her. Maybe our heroes are our parents, grandparents or friends. Maybe they’re people who overcame adversity.

My heroes are people who illuminate my life. They did great things but they also help me realize the potential for greatness within myself. That’s possibly the best gift someone can ever give another person.

What does a hero look like? Of course they come in all shapes and sizes.

I thought it would be interesting to see what my heroes looked like before they assumed the mantle. I found pictures of them early in their lives.

This exercise serves no real purpose beyond my own amusement. It does, however, remind us of that potential for greatness I mentioned earlier. I wonder if that child in the Walmart grocery basket will be somebody’s hero someday, or maybe the young lady who gave me my coffee at Burger King this morning.

Something tells me there’s hero-potential in all of us.

NOTE: If you know me you likely know who my heroes are, so I’m not labeling these photos. Some are easy, others maybe not so much. If you like puzzles, figure them out. Some heroes have more than one picture.

ANOTHER NOTE: It was pointed out to me that my heroes were all white men. I’m not sure the observation was meant as criticism but it gave me pause and I couldn’t deny it. I did remember, with the help of a friend who apparently knew my heroes better than I did, a woman among the pantheon, and I’ve added her picture to my gallery.

ingmar_bergman large_steinbeckhs

YET ANOTHER NOTE: A few weeks later, I have decided to name my heroes. As for matching the names with their pictures, you’re on your own.

  • John Steinbeck
  • Sidney Lumet
  • T.E. Lawrence
  • Nestor Almendros
  • Blake Edwards
  • Frank Sinatra
  • Julia Child
  • Stanley Kubrick
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Richard Feynman
  • Robert Benchley