Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Acts of Friendship: Mickey Remembered…by Robert M. Katzman

Acts of Friendship: Mickey Remembers

by Robert M. Katzman © May 18, 2018

 I had dinner with a friend in Chicago last night at the kind of a classic guy’s dark wood steakhouse restaurant my Dad and I would go to on a special occasion. Except this was the 18th anniversary of his death in 2000 and in his memory, I had a great dinner with my old friend. He lived far south of Chicago and I live in southern Wisconsin, so this was a good central meeting place.

We talked about many old times, good and bad and the price Time can exact on a person and their relationships. One of the rare things as a person travels through life is to still have a person you can talk to about something that happened 40 years ago or more. That begins to change year by year when a person hits 68, which is what I am now. As my Dad used to say: “The circle gets smaller.”

After a couple of hours it was time to head out to our respective homes because it was a hike to get back, but still, worth sharing company with each other. You get what you give.

(Read on …)

My Angry Grandma Celia Warman, Her Thousand-Dollar Bar Mitzvah Gift to Me on the South Side of Chicago, 55 Years Ago……………….by Robert M. Katzman © April 13, 2018

    by Robert M. Katzman © April 13, 2018

55 years ago today, April 13, 1963, near the top of Pill Hill on the South Side of Chicago at a very large, very square synagogue named Rodfei Sholem or Chadash on 91st and Jeffery Avenue, I was still 12 years old and it was my Bar Mitzvah. But that Temple was so packed with members, that it had to schedule two Bar Mitzvahs at one time.

Many of the Hebrew School teachers were high-strung Israelis, only 15 years after the new country was formed, and they screamed at me all the time. This Bar Mitzvah, this singularly longed for day represented parole for me from my resented ethnic prison. I was free. I was done.

It took me four more years, on my own running a newsstand in Hyde Park by then, to figure out I really did completely accept my Jewish identity at 17, in 1967 and my personal life long self-education began that year and continues today, half a century later at almost 68.

99% of everyone who was at my Bar Mitzvah party are dead now. It is a lonely time to recall any of it, but I do remember the crowds. Now no one left to call and say: Do you remember…?

(Read on …)

Facebook ain’t Your Buddy, it’s a Sly Pickpocket of Your Secrets!…by Robert M. Katzman

Facebook Ain’t Your Buddy, it’s a Sly Pickpocket of Your Secrets!

by Robert M. Katzman March 21, 2018

Having had a little time to think about this intellectual hurricane of fury about Facebook and betrayal in the quiet black fields of Wisconsin where nothing has sprouted yet, but the promise of innocent plants seeking the sun remains,

(Read on …)

The Great Vladimir Horowitz, a Clueless Paperboy and the Generous Drunk…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Humor,Jewish Themes,Love and Romance — Bob at 3:44 pm on Sunday, February 18, 2018

Vladimir Horowitz and the Generous Drunk

(Originally published by Robert M. Katzman © February 22, 2008)

 

Just how common a name is “Bob”?

When Leslie Towne Hope, born in England in 1903, first came to America, became a citizen, decided to enter show business and wanted to be considered by his new countrymen as a “regular guy,” naturally he rechristened himself as: Bob

Years ago, I used to make fun of my own very common first name, also Bob:

“I…am Bob!!”

“Thou shalt have No Other Bobs…before me!”

Well, despite the Biblical sound of my little self-deprecating joke, once upon a time there were two other older Bobs who were very much “before” me. This is their story, and it also involves a world famous concert pianist, even though he didn’t have the good fortune to also be named Bob.

(Read on …)

Love from The Abyss…by Robert M. Katzman, February 14, 1988

Love from the Abyss

by Robert M. Katzman © February 14, 1988

Written for my love, my wife, in 1988, after ten years of marriage and after nearly three years of my unemployment, when deeply depressed I learned what happens to a guy who received twenty years of great publicity running a once famous Bob’s Newsstand, and then found out nobody would hire someone like me. They said, like a line of robots: “Well, you’ll leave as soon as you can to start over.”

One month later, I was hired to manage Europa Bookstore at 3229 N. Clark Street, in BoysTown, Chicago

Discovered among her papers last night, I wanted to give Joy a Valentine, and this is what I wrote for her thirty years ago, today. We were both 37. It rhymes, but so what? No other person has ever seen it.     We, our love, and the marriage survived:

 

Our balances are red

Your mood sometimes blue

After ten years of marriage

My Valentine to you

 

Never mind Valentine was Catholic

And I a wandering Jew

Today’s meant to be a ‘Day of the Heart

To give praise, or sometimes to rue’ (Read on …)

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the University of Chicago Lab High School (1966)…Part Two…by Robert M. Katzman

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy failing Algebra, and the

University of Chicago Lab High School in 1966.

by Robert M. Katzman © January 31, 2018 

Part Two

So Paul and I met twice a week for months in that small room in the library with two wooden chairs and a wooden table. I told him about how the newsstand was progressing and what I was learning, and the difficulties of learning to manage a one-armed, one-legged 69-year-old employee, born in 1896, who as it turned out was the original owner of where my newsstand was now, except his was there in 1916. This became sessions of stories about stories.

I had no identity as a writer, never considered that as any kind of career for myself and wasn’t writing down any of what I told Paul when we met, or his stories either. Like two pre-biblical Israelites carrying on a kind of oral tradition of expecting the next generations to preserve unwritten history. But we were both telling each other stories. I wasn’t expecting anything from him, but I was glad he seemed interested in this kid talking about whatever I was talking about. But when we were telling stories, we weren’t talking about algebra, so that was good.

(Read on …)

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