Does a “Hero” need to be real?

Yesterday’s daily prompt asks me think about a hero I had at five years old.  There isn’t much I can remember from that year, and I even looked up past news headlines to see if that would job any memories.  No joy. So I tried to reflect on someone I looked up to, which is my understanding of a hero.

Other than my mom, there weren’t any regular adults in my life, not that I can remember or none that made an impression. I did have toys and blocks and stuffed animals, and at that time in my life, I probably was starting to develop a lot of imaginary friends.  I didn’t have a Popple yet, but I did have Strawberry Shortcake. I would take her on adventures outside and she would do things like lead parades with the other toys, who were her friends. She would also help them out when she needed to, suddenly becoming a doctor when one was hurt or a driver when a trip was in order. If I watched any TV, I was allowed one hour a week, and around that ago, I chose the Greatest American Hero, or the Bill and Ralph show, I called it. Strawberry’s adventures began to pattern after Bill and Ralph’s.  She could run really fast and be really strong and protect people.

As I reflect on it, I guess my hero wasn’t someone I knew, but someone I made up in my imagination, someone who wasn’t limited by the reality of a glass ceiling or time constraints. Do you think that makes a hero more or less valid? If they don’t really exist? Is “being real” an integral part of being a hero? My Strawberry Shortcake was able to do it all, as in, all that she thought was important.  Do you think that counts?

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