Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16…by Robert M. Katzman

The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16 by Robert M. Katzman

Fifty-Two years ago on January 27, 1967, the Big Snow buried Chicago and I was trapped at my older sister Bonnie’s house because she had a college party and invited me, reluctantly. I was 16 and useless around girls. Shy and clueless. I was so square that I brought some poetry I wrote with me to read in case anyone wanted to hear it. Girls my age weren’t interested at all.

(Read on …)

An unknown June 11th Bonnie Chelin and Joyce Katzman story…by Robert M. Katzman

By Robert M. Katzman, Copyright June 11, 2017:

This is a kind of a melancholy story, honestly, but not what you might be thinking.

What follows is a true but an unknown Bonnie/Joyce story, in which the villain, I truly regret…was me.

My beautiful older sister, Bonnie Sue, who, as she endlessly instructed me,was 2 years, 6 months and 8 days older than me, and who died today in 2010 at 62. Since she was born in the same year as Israel, when Bonnie turned 13, so did Israel-a unique country/human Bar Mitzvah–whose government issued a large special framed document to any boy or girl who requested it. Bonnie’s hung on the wall above her bed. It was in Hebrew, in full color and to those of us who understood the historical sequence of events, deeply moving. Even I at eleven years understood that.

Their lives shall not be forgotten while I still breathe. Their names kept alive. Bonnie and Joyce mattered to many people.

(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 …)

Chicago Jewish South Side, 1959: Sunday Brunch Battlefield…by Robert M. Katzman

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

© February 16, 2014


Pots and pans flew

From my Mom toward my Dad

Grey metal whizzing through the air

Once a sharp ice tray shot by my small

Olive-toned nine-year-old face

Just missing me

Did she ever hit him?

He’d never say

Good thing she was a lousy shot

And he never returned fire

Our kitchen was No Mans Land

In 1959

  (Read on …)

Cancer in My Rear View Mirror…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bonnie stories,Depression and Hope,Friendship & Compassion,Life & Death,Love and Romance,Marriage and Family — Bob at 2:46 pm on Wednesday, December 4, 2013

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

© December 4, 2013

A person I met at neighborhood gathering in early December this year asked me how my store was doing, in Skokie, Illinois. The actual answer would be: “Terrible!” like so many thousands of small businesses across America. But I didn’t say that. I said something else, that it really didn’t matter to me how successful my store was in the larger picture of my life.  She looked quizzical.

I briefly explained.  She seemed surprised by my response, but then told me to write about it, that it might mean something to people who need hope. I hadn’t planned on doing that.  But since I have respect for Frances Roehm, who is an Online Librarian for the Skokie Library, and I consider her a friend, I told her I would do that, because she asked me.  My story has nothing to do with Christmas, despite the date of it. The meaning of it is within me, all year, every year.

(Read on …)

Bonnie’s Sparrow…by Robert M. Katzman

© June 11, 2012


The thing about extraordinary experiences is that you’re never ready for them.

You forget what came just before, then the moment itself, and then what happened next, and you stand there stunned, caught up in the swirl of unearthly phenomena.



My older sister, Bonnie Sue Katzman died today, two years ago, at age 62, from blood cancer.

She was married to a good person named Chelin for a long time, and then another person, but I prefer to remember what her name was when I first met her in 1950 when she was two and a half.

We both came from a terrifyingly dangerous home where her solution was to disappear into the homes of her many friends and mine, well…I had no solution and suffered the consequences.  We had no relationship. I never saw her.

(Read on …)

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