Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

When Pope John-Paul Came to Chicago While I was Running the Newsstand at Randolph and Michigan…by Robert M. Katzman

About the Randolph and Michigan Newsstand:

Quote from the historic Downtown Chicago newsstand’s last owner, Rick Graff, in a May 25 1987 Chicago Tribune story by Jack Houston : “Graff said he bought the stand three years ago from Robert Katzman, known among street vendors as the ”King of Newsstands.”

After buying it from the second owner after Al Paccelli, I arrived on a Saturday night with a truck filled with pre-cut wood, a lot of tools, and cans of brown paint. Using a sledge hammer, I destroyed the stainless steel newsstand by pounding on the places where it was welded together. Made a tremendous amount of noise, but at no time did any cop come, by or drive by, and ask me what the hell was I doing with the 100-year old landmark?

No one asked me anything. In 1977 no one lived Downtown and the streets were essentially empty.

(Read on …)

Incident in Nick’s Diner…by Robert M. Katzman

Incident At Nick’s Diner by Robert M. Katzman © June 2005

After my divorce in 1977, I would pick up my daughter at her mother’s house early everySaturday and bring her home Sunday morning. Sometimes, before I would return her to her mother’s house, she and I would stop off for a quick breakfast at Nick’s Diner, a popular local restaurant.

Nick was a very friendly Greek man from Athens. He would wave and smile at me whenever I would stop by his place.  The food was good, and cheap, and Kate, the waitress, was fast and sweet to my daughter. We liked Nick’s Diner.

One Sunday morning in 1979, when my daughter was four and I was twenty-nine, we were sitting in our usual spot in a booth near the door, when I heard a loud and obnoxious voice from across the diner.

(Read on …)

I Can Be Alone in a City…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,My Own Personal Hell — Bob at 8:30 am on Friday, January 18, 2019

by Robert M. Katzman © January 16, 2019

I can be alone in a city

A noisy busy city filled with people

Waves of people surging like an ocean

(Read on …)

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 …)

Bookstore Stories (1) On Turning Away Hate…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Friendship & Compassion,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Jewish Themes,Rage!,Retail Purgatory — Bob at 10:10 am on Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bookstore Stories (1) On Turning Away Hate

by Robert M. Katzman © November 7, 2018

(This possible series of story ideas was suggested to me by my wonderful Daughter-in-Law, Nicole)

 In 1991, I owned a small foreign-language world-travel bookstore on the north side of Chicago in the Lakeview area, near Clark and Belmont streets. It was the center of Chicago’s gay/lesbian community, and was also and still is known as Boy’s Town. The store’s name was Le Grand Tour, and before that, Europa.

(Read on …)

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