Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

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 …)

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 …)

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the University of Chicago Lab High School (1966…Part One…by Robert M. Katzman

Paul, Beautiful Sue, Wayne, the Paperboy Failing Algebra & the

University of Chicago Lab High School (1966)

by Robert M. Katzman © January 30, 2018   Part One 

Classic gritty Chicago tale about a high school math tutor and a student from very different worlds leading to a fifty-year warm friendship, which only death could end.

In September 1964, after failing a pre-freshman admittance required Algebra course during the summer at the University of Chicago Laboratory School High School, or U-High, in Hyde Park, I also subsequently failed my first year taking Freshman Algebra, too.

Somewhere among my less treasured memories is an old shoebox, and within it, besides my four different draft card classifications between 1968 and 1974, is a small rectangular piece of paper with the handwritten letter “F” placed squarely in the center of it. It meant I had to take the detested algebra class for yet a third time.

U-High’s very efficient system for helping students who seemed likely to embarrass and undermine the school’s gleaming reputation in the future assigned me a math tutor who would meet with me in the library in a private room every Tuesday and Thursday. The first week of my second year there as a sophomore in September 1966, I met Paul Moulton. I was sixteen, born in 1950, and he was forty-six, born in 1920.

(Read on …)

How to Survive During the Hard Times…by Robert M. Katzman

© April 10, 2014 (updated in December 2018)

I learned all you’ll read below from an old man I met in 1965, Bill, when I was 15, born in 1950 and he was 69, born in 1896.  Next April I’ll be 69. Wow! That was fast!

For my grandkids, and yours, listen to his words from over 50 years ago. He lived what I wrote here, and eventually, I did too:

Hard to know all this
When you’re a kid
I was a kid
I didn’t know enough
Didn’t have much choice
Bad times are thrust upon you
Not like choosing a college

Bad times can toughen you
Inside and out
Turn your gut from cotton to leather
If you keep your eyes open
Mouth shut
Listen
And don’t make stupid choices

(Read on …)

Bill Reynolds: July 11, 1896…by Robert M. Katzman

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

© August 3, 2013

When Bill was born, Grover Cleveland was president of the United States.  Horses walked the streets of New York City and Chicago.  Victoria was on Britain’s throne and seven million Jews lived across Europe, my family among them.

The Spanish-American War was two years away.  World War One?  Eighteen years in the future.  About 65 million people lived in America.  Civil War veterans, tens of thousands of them, marched in military memorial parades. Penicillin was decades away and women couldn’t vote until 1920, nor Native Americans until 1924.  Great Britain was the most powerful nation on earth, or at least they thought so.

Truman was my first president, April 30, 1950.  Hitler was dead five years exactly. My horses were only in the movies.  No Interstate Highways yet–but soon, after Eisenhower was elected.  Israel was a new country, and Europe was emptied of Jews.  But all four of my grandparents were living in the USA.  My relatives who couldn’t get here in time, evaporated with the rest of them.  Great Britain?  Now, an insignificant and irrelevant island, a little larger than the State of Illinois, sitting quietly about twenty miles off the coast of France.

(Read on …)