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Larry Baran
The Housewife Loved a Bandit
Larry Baran, author

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

Sarasota's top crime story of 1955. My mother is the only woman to escape from the Sarasota County Jail. That begs the question “What was your ma doing in jail?” In 1953, she left her husband and six kids in the Hyde Park Chicago neighborhood for a 7 month coast-to-coast crime spree. Flo Baran and Bill Gaskell used guile, guts and a gun to support their illicit lifestyle. Their little fun ride together came to a surprising end at a Miami motel. You know, just like a tale of love, adventure and betrayal should. Written in an informal conversational style, this book chronicles the life and times of my ma, the Housewife, and her fling with the pistol packing Bandit covering the time span from 1901 when my grandparents began emigrating from Poland through 2006 when the last of my parents’ generation passed on. The tale includes a generous helping of personal family photographs and bios, Florida newspaper articles and official quotes from the FBI, Florida and Alabama law enforcement and World War Two era Navy documents all sprinkled with doses of innate humor and well-intentioned sarcasm. Also, historical and local events are included to provide perspective of what was happening in the world while these characters were on the road doing their thing. 63 years after I watched my mother being dragged away by US Marshals and Chicago Police, her story is now ready to be shared.

If you thought that the 1950's were all "Leave it to Beaver" or "My Three Sons", this is an antidote to that. Dealing with realistic behaviors and issues that will resound with anyone who has lived in a non-TV scripted family, even if no member of your family ever resorted to armed robbery and bigamy to relieve the boredom of parenthood in the post-war era.

Spanning over 100 years of personal history, this book follows the Baran family from their immigration to the US through the present day. In the middle are the escapades of Florence Baran and Bill Gaskell on their cross-country crime spree in 1953-1954. They started in Chicago's Hyde Park where they met, and performed a series of armed robberies that brought them to California and then back across the US to Florida.

The book is a fast read interspersed with pictures and copies of letters and newspaper articles. The author's writing is stream of consciousness styled and resembles a conversation or monologue about the research he did on this subject. The editing is a little uneven, but this is an excellent self-published, freshman effort.


Staff writer Billy Cox penned his second article about my mother's story.  Billy Cox interviewed me last week for the follow-up to THE MYSTERIES OF MA FLO published May 8 2011 in the Sarasota Herald Tribune.

He posted a video "info-mercial" for the story and my book THE HOUSEWIFE LOVED A BANDIT  ISBN 978-0-9992719-0-2 now available on amazon