Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Pain Pill…I Tried to be Nice…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Liberation Fantasies,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Rage! — Bob at 5:31 pm on Monday, August 12, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © 2004

                        While I was visiting my sister, Bonnie, in 1981 in a hospital where she was recovering from thyroid gland cancer surgery, I happened to pass her endocrinologist in the hall.  We had met before in her room, and he recognized me and greeted me in the distinctively charming way doctors do when they stumble across some one who has some slight imperfection in their appearance.  He said to me:

“Why don’t you fix your face?”

(Read on …)

On Prejudice in America 2019…by Robert M. Katzman

On Prejudice, in America 2019
By Robert M. Katzman © July 21, 2019

Overall, my family, too, can be told go back to where we came from, except when you read where we came from, well, we’ll need a lot of planes flying in different places.

As far skin color, gee, well…, um, some white like doves, some as dark as the bark of an old oak, some ruddy red like a deep sunset, some olive colored, like me, I suppose, which frankly my very very “white” Norwegian/Danish wife thought was very attractive. Or she kissed that olive skin often enough over 42 years. I don’t think Joy ever saw color.

While she was alive, if someone made some stupid prejudiced remark about her grandchildren, or yours, that hidden Viking axe was never too far away from her to erupt into rage. If my Joyce were alive, she’d make a hellova president. Even dead, she’s way better than the sewer of hate we’re emersed in now.

Silence isn’t golden. That’s why all your brave and tough grandparents, came to America in he first place. Would they admire their grandchildren today?

My original post starts here:

(Read on …)

Hiroshi Hamasaki, and What He Meant to Me in 1969…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © August 2005

(Sometimes I get hired to read my stories in public in front of groups of people–a way of becoming known as a writer worth reading–and then hopefully selling some of my books. But I will never read this story in public. Never this one. Read it, it is very brief, and you will understand what happened 50 years ago this month. If Hiroshi were still among us today, I am imagining the terror he might be reliving…again).

Hiroshi Hamasaki, or “Frank”, as he told non-Japanese people to call him, came to my wooden newsstand in Hyde Park for the first time in fall, 1966. He was self-conscious about people stumbling over his unconventional actual name and long ago selected a name that would make strangers feel more at ease with him.

           At the more established, larger newsstand down the street from me, the irritable  news vender who owned it, a World War II veteran, had made an unfortunately vile reference to Frank’s ancestry, even though Frank’s family had lived in the United States for generations.

(Read on …)

The Rustic Queen on the Carousel…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman ©️ June 27, 2019

Matt Jerke, the technical assistant on the 2nd floor of the Racine Public Library, has been incredibly helpful in trying to bring me into the 21st Century. I am a work in progress. Very slow progress. Thank you, Matt

(1 of 20)
Some beautiful sunlit morning
While I wait for Cinderella to arrive
My grand-daughter might say to me:
“Grampa, what did you learn in your life?”
And I look through the colors of the glass
Fade backwards thru time
Drifting  
Wondering how to answer someone so young
And pointing to the pretty window
I’d say to her,
“Well sometimes things were wonderful…

(Read on …)

Learning To Work With Your Hands…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © May 20, 2019

Learning to work with your hands changes your worldview and increases your ability to take care of yourself and be more independent. It also helps make a person more compassionate to other people’s physical limitations, because so many are one injury away from unemployment.

To me, judging another’s worth by what they do for a living is a sin. But then, running a wooden newspaper stand as a teenager to allow me to pay for high school with privileged classmates will create feelings like that in a person. Seven of my 160 classmates ended up working for me, at one time, or another. 

(Read on …)

When Pope John-Paul Came to Chicago While I was Running the Newsstand at Randolph and Michigan…by Robert M. Katzman

About the Randolph and Michigan Newsstand:

Quote from the historic Downtown Chicago newsstand’s last owner, Rick Graff, in a May 25 1987 Chicago Tribune story by Jack Houston : “Graff said he bought the stand three years ago from Robert Katzman, known among street vendors as the ”King of Newsstands.”

Very nice to read that, but the newspaper rackett reality was a lot less regal.

After buying it from the second owner after Al Paccelli, I arrived on a Saturday night with a truck filled with pre-cut wood, a lot of tools, and cans of brown paint. Using a sledge hammer, I destroyed the stainless steel newsstand by pounding on the places where it was welded together. Made a tremendous amount of noise, but at no time did any cop come, by or drive by, and ask me what the hell was I doing with the 100-year old landmark?

No one asked me anything. In 1977 no one lived Downtown and the streets were essentially empty.

(Read on …)
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