Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Joy’s Diamond Ring (1):Romance & Racketeers…by Robert M. Katzman

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

Not your usual love story.

A Chicago West Side tribal immigrant’s tale, encompassing:  Friendship, Jewelry and Gangsters.

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.

But crowding twenty-eight years of age, Joy seemed to want a further level of commitment from me.   With unmarried women, the status quo is an unacceptable status.  I was conscious of how she felt and I resolved to make her happy.  She wanted to put a collar on me, and a leash, too, I guessed, so that night I decided to ask her if I could be her pet for life.  I already had my shots, and she was well aware that I hadn’t been neutered, either.

Back then, though a quite distinct Downtown Chicago architectural landmark,  the Kinzie Steakhouse, with its Gay-Nineties theme was pretty well past its prime as a restaurant and a little worn around its edges.  Maybe more than just a little.

Our waitress had on some fishnet stockings with some frayed links.  Maybe she was hot once, perhaps in 1942, in her tight and somewhat revealing red satin corset costume, but that cold December night in 1977, she reminded me of a Playboy Bunny’s grandmother still in there pitching, leaning over and selling wrinkled cleavage and expensive alcohol.  It was more than a little disturbing.

The hour was gradually approaching Midnight in that formerly glamorous steakhouse.  But it was still a fine night out for the two lovers who sold thousands of newspapers, together, to mobs of people impatiently pulling up to the curb of our newsstand demanding fast service.  And having someone waiting on us, for a change, was a lovely experience.

So, holding both of her soft Norwegian hands, I told Joy that I loved her (again) and since we were already living together, I gently asked her,

“Joy, will you marry me?”

Joy smiled her mega-watt smile which always lit up my heart, and immediately answered:


But then, to her visible astonishment, I wordlessly produced a small black-velvet jeweler’s box with a diamond ring in it and gave it to her.  Almost as an afterthought, like,

“Oh, yeah, and please take this little thing, too.” 

Joy seemed stunned that I would even think to remember jewelry was part of this ancient rite of proposal and lifetime commitment.

I lived a gritty unglamorous life with nothing sparkling in it, except Joy’s eyes.  I wore no jewelry myself.  My watch was a drugstore Timex.  It simply wasn’t a part of my personality.

Words, handshakes, kisses, hugs…Yes.





Bob Katzman’s two new true Chicago books are now for sale, from him!
A Savage Heart  and Fighting Words

Gritty, corrupt, violent, sexy, and the real dirt.
Here’s how: My new website is under construction. http://www.dontgoquietly.com
However, I have a PO Box, now and if you don’t live in Wisconsin (add 5.5% sales taxes).                           I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return info.
I will get your books to you within ten days.
Here’s complete information on how to buy my books:

Vol 1: A Savage Heart and Vol. 2: Fighting Words
weigh almost 2 #’s each, and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.                                                                                            About 525 pages each. Until my website is working, people can buy directly from me.

Robert M.Katzman
Don’t Go Quietly Press
PO Box 44287
Racine, Wis. 53404-9998                                                                                                                    (262)752-3333, 8AM–7PM

Books cost $24.95 each, plus shipping

For: (1)$3.95; (2)$5.95; (3)$7.95; (4)$8.95 (5)$9.95;(6) $10.95

(7) $11.95; (8) $12.95; (9)$13.95 (10)$15.95 (15)$19.95

Schools and organizations should call me for quantity discounts for 30 or more books.
Also businesses, bookstores, private organizations, churches, temples or mosques. I am also for hire if anyone wants me to read my work and answer questions in the Chicago/Milwaukee area.

My 4 original books are now out-of-print and collectible.
My email (for now) is robertmkatzman@gmail.com


Comment by Don Larson

July 12, 2010 @ 9:00 am

Bob, a nice story of how it all started for you both.


Comment by hamid

July 16, 2010 @ 3:17 pm

Dear Bob,

I came to your wonderful magazine store in Morton Grove a number of times and bought a Time Magazine issue with Mossadegh as Man of the Year. I just came across your book Fighting Words as I was organizing, and I remembered how wonderful you were when I saw you for a few times. Did you open another store? All the best,


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