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Perspective character

Name: Florian Schneider
Age: 25
Gender: M
Race/Ethnicity: German-American
Profession: Barber
Home Location: George's Barber Shop
Memberships/Factions:
Relationships: Claire Schneider (wife)
Disposition: Friendly and well-meaning toward strangers
High concept: Humble barber who once wished he could be more
Special skills/abilities: Excellent barber, familiarity with mechanics
Notable flaws/weaknesses: Has difficulty concentrating
Memberships/Factions/Affiliations: Member of Brighton Presbyterian Church
Basic appearance description (daily, avg): Thin with hints of muscle. White slacks and shirt, red bow tie. Short brown hair and thin mustache.
Motivations:
Short-term motivation
Medium-term motivation
Long-term motivation
Stabilize his business
Support Claire through college
Leave a legacy for his daughter


Narrative


Background (family, education, important life events)

Florian Jan Schneider was born to third-generation German farmers Thomas and Julia Schneider in Pennsylvania on February 4, 1896. A curious child, he became fascinated with steam technology when his father purchased a steam-powered harvesting machine for the farm. He would spend afternoons poring over illustrations of labor-saving devices in the Sears Roebuck catalog, and made crude imitations using old parts from broken equipment from his and other families’ farmsteads.

At age 17 in 1910, Florian moved to Rochester to attend RAMI, studying mechanical engineering. There he met Harry Smith, his roommate and fellow ME student. He and Harry became fast friends, and Florian began working at Harry’s father’s shop, George’s Barber Shop. Harry’s parents George and Ethel became a second family during his college years.

Florian excelled in his classes, but in his second year he suffered a series of concussions while playing rugby. After that, advanced mechanics were forever beyond his reach. The kind of mechanical thinking required for his classes required heavy concentration and left him with severe headaches, and Florian was forced to drop out of school without a degree. George and Ethel took him into their home, and he worked full-time at the barber shop, since it wasn’t too stressful and still allowed him to make a living. Harry became an engineer working at Eastman Kodak, and Florian was left without much hope for better employment.

In 1917, Harry was drafted, and he was killed by mustard gas six months later. George and Ethel had no other children. When George died of a heart attack in 1919, he left the barber shop to Florian. Florian had begun struggling with depression after dropping out of school and watching his friends achieve what he had always wanted to do, and George’s death both cost him a father figure and thrust more responsibility on him. Despite his skill with a razor and scissors, his melancholy mood filled the shop with gloom and lost him customers.

Seeing his distress, one of his customers invited him to services at Brighton Presbyterian Church, and Florian found comfort in the fellowship. Several months later, he became acquainted with Claire McAllister, fellow churchgoer and a student at the University of Rochester. Claire’s unfailing hope and optimism inspired Florian, and he redoubled his efforts in the shop, serving customers with a smile and maintaining his shop with great care. Claire herself was impressed with his drive to succeed despite his impairment, and the two began seeing each other. They married in 1920, and had a daughter, Rebecca Hope Schneider, in early 1921.

Current Biography (ca. 1921):

After taking a leave of absence during her pregnancy, Claire has returned to the University of Rochester as a part-time student. Ethel, who still lives with the Schneiders in their upstairs apartment, cares for baby Rebecca while Claire is away at school. Florian has still not fully overcome his depression, but he thanks God for his wife and daughter, and they've given him real hope for the first time in years. In the early years, he turned his back on technology because it reminded him of what he lost. Now, though, he's begun to look into gadgets that can help him improve the business, forcing himself to be content with the fact that he can't understand their mechanisms the way he used to.