Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Embracing My Tormentor

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 10:12 am on Monday, September 20, 2021

by Robert M. Katzman © September 20, 2021

A burning moment of humiliation with an unexpected resolution, which occurred in a Chicago playground nearly sixty years ago. Both parties were twelve, and no, it is unlikely you have read this before.

In 1962, in the Autumn when I was twelve and it was becoming cool and crisp outside, the leaves still on the trees surrounding my South Side of Chicago Grammar School were turning scarlet and gold, the mounds of dead brown ones next to the curb, ready for burning, crackling as I walked over them. 

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Atonement Among the Christians: Becoming Jewish in America

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 2:26 pm on Monday, September 13, 2021

By Robert M. Katzman September 13, 2021

I am the grandson of Jacob Katzman, an immigrant from Megilev on the Dneper River in Byelorussia. A socialist and skilled carpenter who felt all religion was bunk, his son–my Father Israel–told me. He was thin, strong and about five-foot-eight, like me. My father told me he came home with bloody shirts from fighting at a Chicago Carpenter’s Hall, where there were battles about creating the first unions. He was a warm man, nice to me, had a strong Yiddish accent which I can evoke at any time.

He mysteriously influenced me, spiritually, even after his death, and though he then had five children and seven grandchildren, for reasons I don’t know, I inherited his incredibly heavy handmade wooden toolbox. Jacob was the first of my immigrant Grandparents to die, at 78 in 1961 when I was eleven. What will I do with it, in the future, I wonder:  Who will care?

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We are All the Parents of our Soldiers: American Red

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 2:06 pm on Friday, August 27, 2021

By Robert M. Katzman © August 27, 2021

Long time ago

My family immigrated 

To America

No one spoke English

All were part of

Our mysterious religion

Hated on both sides 

Of the Atlantic

All four thought

America

The better bet

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On My Rejecting Forgiveness/Darker than You Can Imagine…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 5:28 am on Friday, August 13, 2021

On Rejecting Forgiveness

by Robert M. Katzman © August 11, 2021

Yom Kipper is coming soon, (Sundown, September 15th) the holy Jewish Day of Atonement, world-wide, where every person is expected to forgive those who may have done terrible things to them — even though they may not be deserving of such generosity of the heart — in order to receive God’s blessing. 

I will admit I am guilty of not forgiving someone who was horrifically evil. 

Well, perhaps God will give me a pass on this one. 

Our story can be found here:

Dear Reader, this poisonous moment in time occurred in my life on July 7, 1987, 34 years ago, and 14 years before my Mother Anne’s death from cancer on August 3, 2001. She was 80.

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Quoting Death of a Salesman: Attention MUST be Paid! My Eulogy for Someone Important Who Just Died, Milt Buzil

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 8:35 pm on Monday, August 2, 2021

Milt Buzil died on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at age 94. Not a relative of mine. A friend.

No, more important than that, he’s the guy who steps up when he sees someone in need.

His son, Ron Buzil, is my lifelong friend who must have inherited some of that moxie because in 1962, he did exactly that. Showed up at the worst possible time to come to my aid in the playground when the odds were impossible — and in doing so, completely upended my vulnerability in a fight against very bad odds of ten to one, to five to one. With the two of us standing together, back-to-back, we were more than formidable in beating back the bad guys.

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Chicago Bob Gets His Gun…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Uncategorized — Bob at 8:13 pm on Saturday, July 24, 2021

Chicago Bob Gets His Gun by Robert M. Katzman © July 24, 2021

In 1967, when I was 17 and working at my wooden newspaper shack in Hyde Park seven days a week and late into the night, a number of cops I’d befriended over the first two years I was there expressed concern for me.

My relationship with the police developed in a gradual way. First when I arrived at the corner and was 15, they were amused that a kid who appeared reasonably well educated would ever consider doing such miserable work, because of the terrible weather conditions in Chicago, seasonally. Also because of extreme amount of crime in Hyde Park that happened after sunset, like ferocious wolves coming out to prowl, that even the University of Chicago’s private police force and Chicago’s 21stDistrict Police Department could just barely keep under control. 

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