Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Surviving Cancer, Fifty years Later…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Depression and Hope,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell — Bob at 8:40 am on Thursday, December 20, 2018

by Robert M. Katzman © December 20, 2018

Fifty years ago, on December 20th, 1968, early in the morning when I was 18, I had cancer surgery on the left side of my face at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. I was unaware of what my prospects were and what my surgeon, Dr. Danely Slaughter, had in mind to do. 

I awoke in the Intensive Care Unit, or the ICU, to discover that my head was bandaged like a soccer ball. When Dr. Slaughter came to visit me and explain why they removed my left jaw, he said he was 95% certain that they had caught all the cancer cells. Being me, I asked, very slowly, why not 100%? The doctor gruffly replied, “I think 95% is close enough”.

My father Israel was selling life insurance then, but told me, through his tears, that I would remain uninsurable for five years. To the insurance companies, he said, I was a bad risk, fifty years ago.

Two years later, in April 1970, Dr. Slaughter died of heart disease at the age of 58. I was 20 then, but turned 58 a decade ago. I think about him. Often.

(Read on …)

On Not Finding a Girl in the Wilds of Wisconsin, (or) The Widower in the Woods…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Depression and Hope,Humor,Jewish Themes,Life & Death,Love and Romance,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:02 pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2018

On Not Finding a Girl in the Wilds of Wisconsin

By Robert m. Katzman © July 2018

 

I wrote this on Facebook months ago and forgot about it. All 600 words of it.

Seems funnier now than when I first wrote it.  Even tho’ nothing’s changed, you might read it and smile:

So here’s my ironic and quixotic quest to find a new love using the internet since the death of my wife in May 2017.

I tried Plenty of Fish for anyone of any background, and JDate and SuperTova for Jewish girls only. I wrote very nice, friendly, romantic and honest descriptions of myself and put up current photographs.

I received a number of responses and met with two women. One was from a prosperous North Shore town and one was from Germany.

(Read on …)

1964: A Runaway’s Renaissance and a Jewish Boy’s Revenge…by Robert M. Katzman

1964: A Runaway’s Renaissance

by Robert M. Katzman © September 9, 2018

Fifty-four years ago on June 8th, 1964 I ran away from a dangerous violently abusive home. I was fourteen and two weeks away from graduating Caldwell grammar school on the South Side, about a dozen miles south of State and Madison, Chicago’s Downtown.

My story is filled with Ghosts, but it is worth writing down, if only to soothe the Ghosts’ anxiety.

After all, aren’t I part of a world-wide Tribe so often called: The People of The Book?

Who am I to resist that Celestial Design?

It is now long past “What will become of this wild child?”

Now near seventy, I must write, “This is what really happened.”

(Read on …)

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 …)

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 …)

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 …)

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