Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Joy’s Diamond Ring: Romance and Racketeers (complete story in order for the first time)…by Robert M. Katzman

Joy’s Diamond Ring: Romance and Racketeers

By Robert M. Katzman ©

First published by Bob Katzman at 10:47 pm on Sunday, July 11, 2010 

Not your usual love story.  

A fifty-year saga about a Chicago West Side tribal immigrant’s tale, encompassing:  Friendship, Jewelry, Gangsters and the real meaning of lifetime friendship, no matter what.

A puzzle with so many pieces, all steadily adding up to Joy’s diamond ring.   

 

On December 31, 1977, New Year’s Eve, I invited my long-time love, Joyce Esther Bishop, then 27, to dinner at a famous old Chicago steakhouse.  Specifically, The Kinzie Steakhouse, but which is now far better known today as Harry Caray’s Steakhouse, after the now deceased and legendary Chicago radio announcer for the Chicago White Sox baseball team, famously remembered for yelling: “HOLY COW!!” after every home run hit by the home team.  

Aside from Joy’s full-time day job working in the city, she also worked at my original Hyde Park store, Bob’s Newsstand, every weekend.  She was either selling newspapers, stuffing the Sunday newspaper’s weekend components inside each paper or keeping an eye on all the numerous part-time employees and/or the endless stream of customers.  

This was back in the days when Chicago still had four separate daily newspapers and was the last remaining American city to be so blessed.  Now there are only two Chicago newspapers left, both post-bankruptcy, and in their present (2010) shrunken and sensationalized formats, they would have seemed other worldly to either of us in 1977.  

The then fiercely competitive conservative Chicago Daily Tribune and the more liberal Democratic Chicago Sun-Times, were rich and mighty Midwestern icons of journalism, seemingly able to last forever, just thirty-two years ago.  What happened?  

Joy was certain that I loved her, since I told her so every single day (and still do).  I was also convinced that she loved me too, in the unmistakable ways women get that idea across to the objects of their affection.  

(Read on …)

Stand Up and Face the Evil…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Black/White relationships,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Rage!,Social Policy and Justice — Bob at 7:09 am on Wednesday, August 16, 2017

©  August 16, 2017

 

There is a dark drama

A building of pressure

A sense of impending change

A feeling of molten human eruption

A trembling of the ground under all of our feet

 

(Read on …)

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.  Their son Israel (1912-2000), however, 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 he spent 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. I never dreamed that connection would lead to this story. Welcome to my very strange world, reader.  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 …)

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 …)

A Meek Liberal’s Debt to the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© August 18, 2013

I have something to say about the new movie, “The Butler”.  I wonder sometimes why I write anything here, to a seemingly growing group of people I don’t really know and also the disturbingly fundamental fact that I’m not paid for it.

But the movie struck me so strongly and my impression was so different than the somewhat snotty and disdainful recent NPR review that I felt I wanted to cancel them out, in my own obscure microscopic voice.  What’s the point of Freedom of Speech if a person has something contradictory and worthwhile to say, but doesn’t bother because there’s no personal reward in it?

(Read on …)

Racial Prejudice and a Hyde Park Newsstand in Chicago…by Robert M. Katzman

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story:  http://www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© May 1, 2013

I came to Hyde Park in April, ’64 from an odd ethnic bubble of only Irish and Jews, mixed together with periodic success on the South Side of Chicago, near 87th Street. Never had any relationships or encountered any black people anywhere.

There were two black girls in my last year at Caldwell School whom no one would talk to. It was stunning. I was both appalled by this situation and I was unpopular as well, so I got it immediately and befriended them. They were suspicious of me at first (and who wouldn’t be?), but then visibly relieved that the ice was broken for them. Except it wasn’t broken.

(Read on …)

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