after you create the TOC, goto edit: find/change click on EDIT: Text: then arrow / markers/ anchored object (sorry trying to recall from memory)
Oh my gosh, that did it! Thank you sooooo much!
I couldn't figure out how to choose just those characters because I hadn't designated them as anchored objects; that was throwing me, but I guess Indesign saw them as such.
Thanks again, you've saved me hours of work!
Ok just to explain clearer (just reopened doc in ID)
1. Create TOC
2. Find Change with text selected click on little arrow next to the Find What box.
3. goto Markers / Anchored Object Marker
4. In the Change to press space bar.
5. Search field Story.
Oh good: you understood me the first time: Pleasure...