Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Am I My Sister’s Keeper?…by Robert M. Katzman (written in 2004)


Am I My Sister’s Keeper? 

by Robert M. Katzman Copyright 2004

(First, this note. I am my Father’s son. But he was the son of Eastern European immigrants, people who fled from Jewish genocide in the Russian Czar’s Pale. They were terrified defenseless people. But their son Israel (1912-2000) grew up in the dangerous West Side of Chicago’s gangs in the Thirties who fought with the Polish and Irish gangs to hold their turf. Then three and a half years in the Pacific fighting the Japanese with General MacArthur, getting wounded but determined to stay in the fight. He was NOT a terrified Jew. An American who was very different than his parents, and who transferred that sense of justice and defiance to me in his many stories over my younger years. In many ways, I became an extension of him, of what he believed. Of what his sense of justice was. But I never dreamed that connection would lead to this story. Welcome to my very strange world, but believe it.)

 

In the winter of ’79 I received an unusual call from my father, Israel, who was living at that time in Sherman Oaks, California. My home was just south of Chicago.

My Dad was very distressed, I could hear it in his voice, because my older sister, Bonnie, had called him, in tears, he said because some foreign creep was stalking her at the school where she was a teacher. She was five months pregnant at the time with her first child, and the unnerving situation, my father told me, was only adding to her distress.

(Read on …)

Joyce is Moving On Now, Getting Closer to the Light…by Robert M. Katzman

Joyce is gradually moving on to wherever we go when that time come for us. For her, it will be a sunny white Palace–very, very clean because Norwegian girls are like that–filled with puppies and children, because she has too much love within her for just one of anything.

(Read on …)

Reflections on Joyce, my Queen for a Day: March 26,2017…by Robert M. Katzman

 

On Sunday, March 26th, 2017 Joy and I married in a formal Jewish ceremony for the first time among very close friends and relatives from many places and who arrived there on short notice.

The place, a beautiful and very large home was offered to us to do this by a lifelong friend of Joy’s, our Rabbi demonstrated the real meaning of tzedakah and made everything we hoped to achieve that day possible and people who came there last night had in many cases never met each other before. Our friends don’t frequently meet our families, or much of them. Not this time.

The many small children there who were sometimes strangers to each other immediately became a miniature mob tearing around the big house. If you think about that, it is amazing how fast that happened. I guess you have to grow up to become hesitant about getting to know someone. Very cool, children.

Our four adult children, Lisa, David, Rachel and Sarah, worked together and constantly, without instructions or supervision to make the day be all they wanted it to be for a woman they treasure. A gift in and of itself.

If warm feelings were gold, Fort Knox would have been a nugget compared to what we felt among all of them.

(Read on …)

Battle Cry of the Anguished American Immigrant!…by Robert M. Katzman

(Originally posted on July 21, 2008, then reposted March 10, 2017 in frustration after the 2016 election, where insanity began to rule what was once a last best refuge for people seeking a chance to live, to be happy)

 

To me, being an American is an idea.

A concept.

An agreement of equals.

A willingness to tolerate the differences in others.

A celebration of the beauty of cultural diversity.

 

While maybe originally, ours was a government,

Of the Protestants, By the Protestants and For the Protestants”

We’re bigger than that today.  A numerically insignificant People like my own family, Jews, now represent less than 2% of the total American population, but I believe that our Constitution includes me when I read it.  I don’t live in fear, here.

Soon, there will be more Moslems in America than Jews, but I don’t care.  They came here to escape the same killing chaos that brought my family here, as well as looking for a new start and a fair chance to become successful.  I welcome them.  Besides, when the hating is missing, they may remember that we’re linguistic cousins who speak two versions of the same Semitic language, as do the Assyrians, who are Christian Arabs.

(Read on …)

Late Child…by Robert M. Katzman

 

by Robert M. Katzman / Copyright July 31, 2016

 Forward

 Written under a hot July sun while sitting alone on a bench in Chicago’s Hyde Park landmark, The Point, a rocky stepped-stone park projecting into Lake Michigan. A long favorite place for swimmers, sunbathers and photographers located about two miles east of the world famous (and still standing) University of Chicago (1890-   ), and also about one mile east of the once slightly famous (and now non-existent) Bob’s Newsstand (1965-1985).

I was there waiting to meet an unknown number of much younger people who might possibly recognize a much older me as the guy who sold them lots of candy, and who might assume I still remember them as my customers when they were fourteen and went to Kenwood High School across the street from my first wooden and later brick newsstand, over thirty years ago. Both situations seemed unlikely and as a result encouraged me to finally write down the following poem I’d been carrying around in my head and heart for months.

(Read on …)

Chicago is Littered With the Corpses of My Retail Life…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © April 10, 2016

 

Like discarded trash from today’s opened toys

I see the ghostly echo of my career

Sprinkled across the Chicago like tarnished glitter

Tho’ they used to sparkle for me

Perhaps many people witness

The fast-forwarding of their lives

While still living them

Time relentlessly unfolding

Blank pages written by an unseen hand

Caldwell Grammar School, South Side of Chicago

1962-1964

When I was 12, I sold firecrackers

Purchased from a non-judgmental

And very silent source in

Chicago’s mysterious Chinatown

Ladyfingers to Cherry bombs

Roman Candles to Sky Rockets

To my less enterprising classmates

(Read on …)

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