Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Setting Back Chicago Clocks, Selling Newspapers at 4 am, Unromantically Once-Upon-A-Time…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Life & Death,Love and Romance,My Own Personal Hell,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 6:55 am on Sunday, March 11, 2018

Setting back Clocks, Selling Newspapers at 4 am, Unromantically Once-Upon-A-Time

by Robert M. Katzman © March 11, 2018

Eyes fluttering open in a silent room half-lit by sunlight squeezing past opaque shades, I remember what day it is, and though no one else can hear it, I sigh. Once upon a time, now like some white-haired Revolutionary War veteran fifty years later, I am thinking that maybe there’s no one left anymore to remember the complications of this twice-a-year Chicago South Side moment.

I woke up with all of my conflicted emotions mechanically assembled as I remembered the day, and I stopped moving, because I didn’t have to get up if I didn’t feel like it, my momentary protest against my past. My ancient past…

Running a wooden newsstand on a Sunday morning with thousands of newspapers to assemble and sell, slightly warmed by capricious kerosene heaters belching black wispy smoke along with their heat, a small army of children and adults arrive in the dark in Hyde Park, wordlessly take up their tasks. Little conversation, multiple cups of black and tan coffee steaming in a range of hand held ceramic cups from home, long before coffee was something bought on every third corner in America.

Once, people made their own coffee. Really.

(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 …)

Last Filmed Interview of My Life and Store by Brad Meyer & Sofia Kerpan

Final filmed interview of my strange life and my last Magazine Memories just before it closed in April 2016, so I could care for my wife Joyce, who was in hospice. To me, what they created is an incredibly touching end of career perspective by other people. Only nine minutes long, made by Brad Meyer & Sophia Kerpan.

(Read on …)

Magazine Memories, 2012 Filmed Interview by J.T.Bowers, Skokie, Illinois–Store Closed 4/10/16

Filed under: Bewilderment,Filmed Interviews,Humor,Katzman Biography,Life & Death,My Own Personal Hell,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 7:53 am on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

One of the last back-issue magazine resources in America, this 2012  fourteen minute interview by an incredibly compassionate and talented movie maker, J. T. Bowers, who got it right. Out of two hours of filming, he distilled it down to this short film. But the music…the music is heartbreaking, to me at least. Like filming death in slow motion. Some people can see more than others, and Bowers is gifted that way. I haven’t seen him for years,but maybe he’ll see this and contact me.

(Read on …)

Thick Juicy Steak and My Flat Tire…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Cops,Friendship & Compassion,Marriage and Family,Retail Purgatory,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 9:00 am on Friday, August 25, 2017

by Robert M. Katzman © August 25, 2017

 The problem with deciding to never write fiction is that I have to always be aware of when a really good story comes along. Well, here’s one and it involves my old car, two decent tire changers, a generous and pretty tavern operator and this wonderful little Kenosha, Wisconsin restaurant run by two gentle Mexican immigrants who deserve some real success. I want to help them. So read this unexpected chain of events which happened to me–one after the other–in a single intersection at 3200 60th Street on a warm clear day on Wednesday, August 21, 2017.  You may be very surprised.

Early that morning I dropped off my youngest daughter, Sarah Hannah, at the Metra Station at 5400 Sheridan Road because she was going to Downtown Chicago to be interviewed for her first possible intern position while she was a student at Columbia College. Smart, pretty, filled with ambition and almost 21, she was very hopeful.

(Read on …)

Chicago Municipal Tyranny Explained: My Newsstand in 1965…by Robert M. Katzman

Chicago Municipal Tyranny Explained: My Newsstand in 1965 

by Robert M. Katzman ©  August 1, 2017

There was a situation I first encountered when I opened my wooden newsstand August 21,1965 in Hyde Park, 52 years ago: Permission to issue permits to open a newsstand were delegated by the City to the four major newspapers in order to receive a newsstand permit for a particular corner in Chicago. Period.  But the main two asses to kiss were the conservative Chicago Tribune and the Liberal Chicago Sun-Times.

However, there were really only two City newspaper corporations, because the Tribune owned the Chicago American and the Sun-Times owned the Chicago Daily News. Both had to approve of you. Whatever running around by me was necessary, I needed four recognizable signatures on a yellow postcard-sized piece of stiff paper if my teenaged dreams of self-employment were to be realized.

Each newspaper assigned a certain medieval person called a “Division Boss” to decide whether a person was sufficiently worthy to receive their blessings for whatever area was under their control.  Direct contact with the newspapers’ business administration office was impossible.

(Read on …)

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