Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

I Planted A Lithuanian Tree Today…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman July 20, 2018

I planted a tree today.

The grayish-bluesy sky was gloomy, threatening to rain, and I was standing in my garden thinking:

 “Good”.

 Some days drag themselves like there are elephants hanging onto each hour. I had no plans, no list of anything to do, no calls to make. I thought,

“Bob, plant a tree”.

(Read on …)

“I’m Fourteen. I Need a Job”…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Friendship & Compassion,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,My Own Personal Hell,Old Fart Wisdom — Bob at 6:28 pm on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

By Robert M. Katzman © July 18, 2018

 Summertime. Got a kid sorta looking for a job? Maybe they’ll actually look for one or maybe they’ll not bother.  But what if it were not a choice? Maybe this story will inspire them. Or you:

“I’m Fourteen. I Need a Job”

On June 8th, 1964, I escaped an insane home on the South Side of Chicago where beatings with thick leather belts, belt buckles, rubber hoses and clenched fists were an everyday event. I left running with only the clothes on my back, in freezing rain, two weeks before graduating eighth grade at Caldwell School. Met up at some point with my father who took me to live with him in a one-room studio with a small kitchen and bathroom in Hyde Park, across the street from the Museum of Science and Industry. I was going to need the industry part. He wasn’t working.

(Read on …)

Letter to My Cousin about Our America…by Robert M. Katzman

Letter to my (new) cousin, married to my blood cousin, who is justifably distraught over where our country is torn now, and how his own family suffered so much pain long ago because of their skin color. Funny, never met him, but I feel like I know him, and what is eating at him. I really care:

Bernie, whatever you call yourself, you’re good enough for me. And there are milions and millions and millions of “me” who aren’t ignorant, or hateful or under the illusion that one kind of person is somehow magically more valuable than another kind of person. What you wrote on Facebook is passionate and well-written–not that you need my opinion–I hope you get enough positive reinforcement to dilute the pain I read in your words.

(Read on …)

Wildflower Diary-2..by Robert M. Katzman

Wildflower Diary (2)

by Robert M. Katzman © June 23, 2018

 Short essays, reflections & captured moments about prairies, plants, food and people worth writing about, at various times:

 July 30, 2017

My original essay, posted separately:

Wildflower Diary: Caring For Joy’s Garden”

https://www.differentslants.com/?p=3550

 March 6, 2018

 Ok, this is my grandfather, South Side Jacob the Carpenter’s quick recipe for tiny seasoned red potatoes with cheddar cheese. He was from Byelorussia, born in 1882, so ya gotta take that into consideration. He used unusual tools to achieve his aims.

Here it is:
So, you roast the red potatoes on a metal tray for about 4 minutes in an oven, broiling them at 450. Then take them out, go look in your closet for a steel hammer with good balance to it. Wash off the serious part of the hammer, then beat the hell out of them little potatoes (with the skin still on) until they are totally defeated. Kinda like what happened at the 1968 Democratic Convention. But, I digress.

(Read on …)

I Seek the Praise of Ordinary Men…by Robert M. Katzman (originally posted 4/13/07)

I wrote this a decade ago to protest the War in Iraq. But now we have a screaming infant in the White House creating havoc because no one has the nerve to say no to him. America is bigger than him. This is no Democrat or Republican thing. This is about decency and how we treat our friends around the world. What have we become?
Men, Women, start saying NO!!!

I Seek The Praise Of Ordinary Men

by Robert M. Katzman © Friday, April 13 2007

I seek the praise
Of Ordinary Men
Whose lives I reveal
And then capture by pen

Men who slaughter cows
Who farm and cut trees
Men who suffer pain
In theirs backs, in their knees

Carpenters, Cops
Women who teach
People who protest
And march in the streets

Vicki, the Tattooed Armenian Motorcycle Chick…Needs a Break…by Robert M. Katzman

by Robert M. Katzman © June 3, 2018

Recently, a year after my wife died, I decided to get “back on the horse,” a mysterious phrase some older people say and see if I could find a new relationship online. Like I had a clue what I was doing. But after a few weeks of zero responses, late one night I got this letter from Vicky with a picture of petite her astride a very large motorcycle, saying she’d like to meet me, and against all the rules I read online that are supposed to protect women from dangerous men, she included her phone number. I waited until morning and decided to call her.

We talked for a while and it was clear very quickly from her story that while we weren’t a good match in many ways beside the motorcycle. Vicki’s life was in shambles and I got this idea that perhaps I could possibly help her by writing about her life. I’ve been so absorbed by my own loneliness and misery that it never occurred to me that I might be helpful to another person worse off than I am. In Jewish culture, this is called a “mitzvah” or a good deed. It is up to each person to decide whether to choose to help, or not. I decided to call and meet with her and see what Vicki thought about this idea, if she was comfortable meeting with me.

(Read on …)

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