Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Rose Bliss, Country Charm and a Killer Baby Robin…by Robert M. Katzman

Copyright July 6, 2016

There is a fluidity and capriciousness to time and events.

There is no way to predict what will occur next based on what has happened before. Even a series of good events, one following another, doesn’t mean that kind of luck will continue, or the reverse, either. There is no pattern, no rationalization or balance as to why things happen in a person’s life. Why do I write this?

Last September, during a street fair in Racine, Wisconsin, a smallish town of less than 80,000 located next to Lake Michigan, just north of Kenosha, 30 miles south of Milwaukee and about 27 miles north of the Illinois border, my wife Joy and I met a very nice local couple named Brad and Rose Bliss.

In this nine months later follow-up story to what happened in that story, just about every single significant thing changed. No, none of us is or was famous and no one would have read about any of us in some newspaper; but what happened then caused our paths to cross during that street fair, and subsequently made a friendship bloom between two new settlers in Racine and a long established couple.

Friendship isn’t gold, silver or diamonds, and a person can’t buy it with any of those sorts of treasures, either. And to me, that is the essence of things. Friendship with another person is an intangible and very valuable sort of thing to possess, and it can’t be measured in any way as to its value in the market place.

In my updating of what has happened since my last writing, I won’t repeat anything already written. Instead, for any new readers, I will provide a link, including the previous story’s title for any person who wants to get the whole picture.  They can click on the link and read what happened earlier. So, for example, my first reference to Brad and Rose was:

Brad Bliss and the Cast Iron Skillet

Brad Bliss and The Cast Iron Skillet…by Robert M. Katzman

September 28, 2015

In that same story, I also referred to my three dogs, Betsy, Jasmine and Chewy and this big fireplace I built after moving to our newly purchased house in north Racine in June, 2015. They were first introduced to my readers in an earlier story:

Three Old Dogs and a Brick Fire Pit
August 7, 2015

So, this is what happened in the months after our first meeting with Brad and Rose. There was no way I would have known how essential that relationship would be as one thing after another began to happen in our lives, like giant dominoes falling on us.

When Joy and I first went to the Bliss’ house after the fair, it was as dark as a small town could get after sundown, and we found them in their back yard, all illuminated by a cheery fire, with the dancing flames casting red and orange colors on their faces.

We talked about our lives, careers and children for a bit, and then Joy and I went home, less than a mile away. We  hoped to see them again pretty soon since we knew less than a dozen people in Racine, all of whom were members of the only synagogue in town, Beth Israel Sinai, located at Main and 10th Streets, just south of the Downtown area.

Joy and I had largely moved ourselves, along with our eighteen-year-old daughter, Sarah, who was going to be a freshman at DePaul University in Chicago. To save money, we made sixty trips in our large van, back and forth to Deerfield, Illinois. Loading, unloading, loading, unloading—you never know how much stuff you have until you try to box and move it.

We didn’t hire anyone, cost being a significant thing, and on the last day, June 15th, 2015, we surrendered to reality, rented a very large truck loading up two final times back and forth for the one hundred twenty mile round trip. On that last run, it began to pour and we discovered that rain is really different in mostly rural Wisconsin than the far more built up Chicago area.

As we unloaded whatever we had into our garage, it felt like Lake Michigan was being tipped over upon us as the cold water drenched our clothes and skin and that of our other daughter Rachel and our son David who came to help us at the end, along with Brian and Sandy, two friends from our synagogue. Water didn’t fall in raindrops. It fell from the sky in wave after wave. With the bright lightening that came along with it, it was a pretty terrifying introduction to our new lives in Wisconsin.

I owned a collectible periodical store in Skokie, Illinois–with 150,000 magazines and newspapers going back to 1576–requiring a three-hour round trip six days a week, leaving Joy to do much of the unpacking and putting away, exhausting her.

We wanted to retire, but there being only a handful of stores like mine still left operating in America, mostly due to the economic devastation to retail stores because of the internet, there was no one to sell my store’s inventory to and our limited income was being consumed by the cost of gasoline.

Another thing was, during our long marriage, I had had up until our Wisconsin move north, thirty-five operations of every type imaginable, from cancer to brain surgery, and Joyce, a tough Norwegian girl from Dolton, Illinois had had perhaps two or three in her life. That situation was about to change.

After complaining about what she suspected were increasingly annoying hemorrhoids, she had a colonoscopy and the result turned out to be rectal cancer. She began a series of chemotherapy and radiation therapy over a period of time ending with her suffering a major hemorrhage and emergency surgery in an Illinois hospital. She left our new home on January 2nd of 2016 and transferred from hospital to nursing home, back and forth, over and over, not returning home until May 23, 2016.

Prior to that happening, we had planned a small party with a group of friends on December 30th, because we never ever went out on New Year’s Eve to avoid all the drunk drivers. But that party never happened. Our long nightmare was beginning.

New Year’s Eve, Cancer and a Silent Night
http://www.differentslants.com/?p=2951December 30th, 2015

I had been long before scheduled for surgery #36 for January 5th. During our entire relationship, Joy was always the one who drove me to the hospital, waited with me until the surgery was over and either took me home or came back every day to visit. With her unexpected leaving three days before my surgery, there was no one to take care of me and it took some fast scrambling to replace her.

This next link gives some insight into what my life was like without Joy month after month, and subsequently, our three dogs, beginning January 10th 2016, and continuing in four installments ending in May 2016. It became impossible for me to care for three dogs anymore.

Post-Surgical Dispatches from Racine, Wisconsin
http://www.differentslants.com/?p=2959″ ”

During that long recovery period and confinement when I wasn’t allowed to drive and spent almost every day alone, a couple of new friends I’d met when months before I joined the Kenosha Writer’s Guild, came to visit me: Darleen Coleman and Dave Gourdoux. Darleen was the person who drove me to a post-surgical follow-up in June, and in the process, met Joy.

Also in this long time apart from Joy, I was informed by my wife’s surgeon that our house would have to be retrofitted to accommodate Joy’s reduced strength and ease of mobility. We would need a second bannister going downstairs. We’d need different toilets with special arms on either side to assist her in standing up and sitting down, and separate from her, the house needed much better outdoor lighting on three sides and the back yard to create a safer and much better illuminated walking and parking environment.

I called several places to get prices for that work, but I knew no one local and the several people I called who came out offered prices that were beyond our budget to do the necessary work. I was uncertain when Joy would be returning home and how much time I had to find an affordable company to do the work. Then it dawned on me that I actually DID know someone local who might provide that answer, and that was Rose Bliss, who gave me the name of their longtime universal handyman, Bill Boutell, who was accomplished, they said, in electrical work, plumbing and carpentry. He also lived across the street from them and sometimes they watched his daughter, Kallie, when work kept him out too late.

I called Bill, laid out the work and when he had the time to figure out what materials he needed and how much time it took to do the job, he came back to me and showed me the result. His price was about half of what all the other people had told me it would be for them to do the same work. He got the job.

Months earlier, since I was no longer living in Illinois and I was hoping to start a new career in Wisconsin as a writer and speaker-for-hire, I needed a Wisconsin lawyer to help me make a Wisconsin corporation. In my imagination, it would be a small town folksy lawyer who knew all the ins and outs of the local legal requirements and would charge me a small town price. That proved to be very unlike my non-fiction stories and was a fantasy.

Though I kept at it, including checking with my new Wisconsin bank, there was no such friendly low cost lawyer to be found. Whomever I called must have assumed that I was an heir to the General Motors fortune and quoted me appropriately.

So, based on my last attempt, I called the Blisses and Rose answered. After kicking the topic around she recommended that I try Jim Pruitt who was in fact exactly what I had hoped for, including working out of an 1842 home as an office just south of Downtown. I thanked her and after a couple of interviews, hired Jim.

Later and in a far grimmer mood, I realized that neither Joy nor I had wills and under the circumstances it was essential that we each have one because there were consequences to dying without a will in Wisconsin. Jim also resolved that issue in a series of meetings, eventually meeting Joy in the process. The Blisses were two to zero on the scoreboard of indispensable neighbors.

On the day after we moved in, Joy and I had thrown up a chicken wire fence with green metal stakes to keep both the dogs and grandchildren from running out of our yard and into the street. It remained that same ugly way from June 2015 until June of 2016 when, after calling several local fence people, with the same results as above, Rose told me that all her neighbors used a small local company called Mano, who once again proved to be the best price of all quotes given to us and who erected an excellent fence. Triple play.

I don’t see that I can reciprocate the Blisses kindness to us, other than to sing—or write—these praises to them. Another change from our first meeting was that Brad had been a fifth grade teacher and then decided to retire with the end of the last school year.

So, all possible elements of the prior Bliss story that could change, did change, especially when an unusual man, a rather intense collector, entered my store the previous March when I reopened after my recovery. After quite a bit of conversation, he decided to add my store to his collection. After some intense back and forth discussion, he did just that, retiring me for the first time in my fifty-four year career. What sort of career?

The City is Littered with the Corpses of my Retail Life

Chicago is Littered With the Corpses of My Retail Life…by Robert M. Katzman

April 10, 2016

I also wrote, right after that:

Retired, Confused, I Sing Joy’s Song

Retired, Confused, I Sing Joy’s Song…by Robert M. Katzman

April 23, 2016

I suppose that would be that, except for, mysteriously, what follows:

Sometimes a life can be defined by what doesn’t happen.

Here are two situations that arose in June after Joy came back home.

(1) We had an old cedar swing big enough for Joy and I to sit on it with Jasmine between us. As a surprise for Joy last fall, I found a local woodworker who builds swings, picnic tables and other things like that, and I asked him to put a rain-roof over the swing so Joy could sit under it and read or think, even if it started to drizzle. She was delighted.

The covered cedar swing faces our fireplace that has gradually grown mythic in size and complexity. The original more modest round little fire pit was built out of a few dozen thirty-pound faded reddish paving bricks. During my convalescence, I had too much time on my hands and I redesigned the thing to be six feet wide, five feet high in the back, with a Mayan Temple sort of zigzag design that had the sides gradually descend to within a foot of the ground in the front of the fireplace. It also looks a little Babylonian, but who’s gonna know about that? It is composed of 132 paving bricks and is my personal Tower of Babel, but in a good way.

I built a little red patio in front of the fireplace out of heavy sixteen-inch cement squares to catch any hot sparks flying out of the fire. The fireplace is about seven feet away from the cedar swing. Half of the ground between them is covered in red squares, and half is green grass. Intimate.

On black nights, I turn off the exterior lights surrounding the house and burn pallets composed of fifteen pieces of wood, plus enough kindling and other sized wood chunks to get a real fire going. The pallet is about five feet high and four feet wide. When everything is working like I want it to, there is a solid wall of red, orange and yellow flame accompanied by a steady roar of air being sucked into that flame to keep it going. It lasts for about forty minutes and is as dramatic as any Broadway play.

Problem was, in early June, a mother/father team of serious Robins decided it was a perfect location for their nest under the rain-proof roof and on top of that cedar swing. This was after they watched some idiot powder-grey Doves try to build a nest, which blew away each night. The Doves became depressed and left. Then the Robins moved in and got to work. I watched.

If Robins ran our government, it would function like a Swiss watch. The Robin team worked in tandem to anchor their nest composed of straw-like pieces, hundreds of them, in a perfectly round form, about six or seven inches across. The wind slipped around it and nothing disturbed that nest or the Robins in their determination to create a safe space for their eggs. They were something to watch, as long as I stayed about fifteen feet away.

Soon, there were three perfect eggs lying in the nest and the Robins took turns sitting on them. I could also watch all this from my bedroom window. While one sat, the other flew off to eat or gamble or whatever. I was very interested, but also kinda impatient because I wanted to be able to start making my gorgeous fires. One time, while the Mama Robin was sitting on her nest, I made a smallish fire, selfishly, I suppose and the smoke bathed Mother, nest and eggs.

The Mother Robin flew off of the nest to the nearby tall wooden fence, looked directly at me and screeched like hell. This went on for a while and it was the only time in my life when a wild creature talked directly to me. And she was really angry. I decided not to piss off the Mama Robin any longer, apologized to her, put out the fire and looked guilty and ashamed. Mama Robin seemed to accept that, flew back on her nest and resumed her work. Weeks went by. After that, three greedy little naked birdlings were born,

The couple gradually sat higher and higher on the nest as the baby birds grew. They fed them constantly; as we watched, the three mouths remained wide open all the time, awaiting whatever Mom and Dad wanted to drop in their bottomless gullets. Slowly, I watched their feathers grow. I waved to the couple when I went in and out of my house, and they kept their beady little black eyes on me. I didn’t feel there was any real trust between us.

As the weeks went by, eventually I noticed only two wide mouths on top of long feathery necks reaching up for Mom and Dad’s buffet. Somehow, one of the little critters disappeared. I looked on the ground but it must have been the perfect crime. Easy to believe that the ancient and savage dinosaurs eventually became birds. When it came to food, we must have had a tiny Tyrannosaurus Rex in that nest.

But I wanted my fire.

One day Mama Robin was gone. We couldn’t see any baby Robins who were looking pretty substantial the last time we caught a glimpse of them. Maybe we had an empty nest? Could this be? Could I make my fire now?

One night when I had forgotten to turn on the exterior lights for the house and yard, I decided to take a peek inside the nest. Joy went inside of the house. I climbed up a couple of cement steps supporting the swing, pulled out a tiny LED flashlight that produced a bright narrow light, then precariously perched just about eye level with the dark silent nest about a foot away, carrying the flashlight in one hand and my other hand carelessly holding on to a swaying swing support. I wasn’t really concerned. If anything, there was just one cute little baby bird in there. Not very smart thing for me to do, in retrospect.

Suddenly, and I mean god-damned suddenly, this scary black bird rose straight up out of the nest, wings fully spread, beak wide open and screeching, and the beast flew directly into my face!

Startled and shocked by this terrifying winged apparition, I dropped the flashlight, lost my grip on the swing, fell backwards into the blackness and somehow twisted mid-fall between the swing and the fireplace. I fell hard, bouncing off several of the heavy bricks, one smacking my upper right thigh while my arm bounced off of the front of the fireplace. My face landed forehead first on the red brick squares. I was twisted up like a pretzel and bleeding in several places. I had a small cell phone on me that went flying somewhere, as did my eyeglasses.

I lay there in the silence that followed for a minute or so, thinking to myself, philosophically,

“Fucking Robins…”

And then Joy, who heard the odd, loud thumping noises, turned on all the bright lights and carefully came back outside. She saw me sprawled there, and did her best in her own fragile condition to disentangle me from my situation. Once I was indoors and undressed, she washed my arm, leg and forehead and then placed bandages wherever she saw bleeding, which was in several different places. My cell phone had a cracked glass screen.

I fell into bed, feeling stupid, disgusted and an odd something else, which didn’t dawn on me until morning. When the sunlight woke me up I rose slowly, assuming I’d be a painful mess from the hard fall. But I felt nothing. My arm and thigh were scraped pretty hard, but there was no pain. Confused by this, I rushed outside to see what the scene of the impact looked like.

One large jagged stone I used to hold heavy logs in place was five feet away from where I hit it. The front of the fireplace was caved in where my arm smashed into it. My glasses, unbroken, were glinting in the morning sunlight and lying on one of the red squares. I wasn’t hurt at all. I also could clearly see that there was no room for anyone to fall backwards the way I did in the dark, twisting over to the right and landing between the swing and fireplace without getting badly hurt. There was no safe place to fall, let alone bounce between heavy paving bricks and a concrete patio. Even my forehead was unmarked where it hit the squares. I was mystified. How could this be?

(2) On a bright Friday morning,when the fence company was digging the hole for the last post the sharpened blade of the posthole excavator cut through some underground wire that no one knew was there. The local Racine County utility people came to check it out, as was normal when digging on private property. But nevertheless, when we all looked into the hole, there were two flat rubber wires cut in half and all power to the garage was gone. The flat black wire had four different wires sticking out of the severed ends.

As it happened, Bill Boutell was working inside of my house at the same time installing a new toilet which had broken just before Joy was due to return home from rehab at a nursing facility in Kenosha. Bill was a busy guy, much in demand; but he realized now I was in a bad spot with a wife who could barely walk and a broken toilet on the first floor. Whatever else he had to do that morning, he showed up with a toilet and was replacing the bad one with a good one.

I ran to the house to tell him what had happened and asked his opinion about what I (or he) should do. Surprised, exasperated and understanding, all at the same time, Bill and I both knew that during construction, when digging was involved, anything could happen.

Bill asked me if I would excavate the wires about a foot in both directions so he could quickly determine what he needed to buy to create the strongest splice, after he finished with the already unscheduled toilet installation. I grabbed a small metal gardening trowel and hurried out to do the excavation, because the fence company couldn’t finish their work until the wire was repaired. They told me they would go do another job and said they’d be back later in the afternoon. I began removing dirt about a foot down in the dark hole. The fence work crew stayed around to watch what I was doing.

I already checked the circuit breaker to be certain the power to the wire was shut off, so I was in no danger. I saw that the red square on the breaker box was visible, so I knew the circuit was tripped. I was on my knees above the last post hole, removing as much dirt as possible for Bill, so he wouldn’t be delayed even more in getting to his other commitments. Then my metal trowel touched the wire coming from the house. The wire was live.

I felt wave after wave of electricity flow through me, three times that I remembered. I dropped the trowel and fell backwards on the ground. The fence crew saw what happened and rushed over to see how badly I was hurt. But I wasn’t. Not at all. I was 66 when this happened.

My hand ached where it held the metal trowel, and later my arm and shoulder hurt for a while, too; but not much and not for long. In fact, within five minutes of the incident, to our collective amazement, I was back at work removing the rest of the dirt for Bill. However, I was very careful not to touch the live wires again. But the work crew couldn’t figure this situation out and later, quietly, neither could Bill.

This is where I bring Israel into this story.

More than six thousand miles away, but maybe not so far away on those two bizarre and dangerous days in my life.

After you read what follows, you can believe whatever you want to believe, but I never lie and I never write fiction.

In May 2000 my father, also named Israel, died at the age of 87, and immediately after the funeral, I flew to Israel with a friend, Rick Munden. We were both 50 at the time.  The trip had been planned for a year; regardless, the Rabbi who officiated at the service urged me to go, feeling that it would do me some good emotionally because of my very close relationship with my father. So, Rick and I went.

During a trip south from Jerusalem to Eilat on the very tip of southern Israel, in our somewhat shaky rented car, we drove through Hebron, which was located in the Palestinian part of the contested State of Israel. Our Israeli-published map didn’t make that fact clear to us, so we were unconcerned about where we were going. Our trip south was beautiful, but otherwise not remarkable.

On the return trip north to Jerusalem, using the same road, because there was no other way through the endless desert–also called The Negev–our transmission broke down just as we passed the road sign saying: Hebron. Except there was no “Hebron” town that we could see. Just a roadside diner with a counter and about a half dozen seats in front of it, all filled with Israeli Arabs. It was about 10 in the morning, the sun still rising.

I approached the apparent owner or manager of the remote diner. He was dressed completely in black, tall and handsome with a thin mustache; and with his large silver belt buckle to me resembled an American TV cowboy star from the show “Paladin”. I didn’t say that to him, however.

All the men on either side of me were speaking in Arabic. When I asked the tall man in black if he had a phone, he didn’t speak, but pointed off to the left. I found the phone but had no idea whatsoever how to use it. When I asked the tall man if he could help me, he didn’t answer. No one answered us, or paid any attention to us or our rental car.

I went back to sit in the car. It was hot, but not oppressively. We had water. And we waited. And we waited. There were no options for us because there was no way to contact anyone and Rick and I had no cell phones. Time passed.

One pm.
Two pm.
Three pm.
Four pm.
Five pm.
Six pm.
It was growing darker.

While we were vaguely bothered by this hopeless circumstance, no one spoke to us, bothered us or paid any attention to the broken Israeli car with the two American tourists sitting in it. We also sat on the side of the road. No one else appeared during the entire time we were stuck in front of the diner.

At about six-thirty, the tall man in black clothes with the silver belt buckle came over to our car and, speaking in perfect English, asked me for the phone number to the rental car company, which he silently pointed out was attached to our key. I read the number to him, which he swiftly punched into his cell phone, and then handed it to me. Then he went back to his customers.

The rental company secretary answered and I explained, slightly annoyed, that their car had a broken transmission, which I could tell from the thin black stream of trans oil running out from under the car, and puddling on the dusty desert road. She asked where we were and I responded,

“Hebron, next to a diner.”

The Israeli woman’s accented voice changed completely. She sounded hysterical to me. I couldn’t figure that out. She said a car would be coming to get us immediately. I asked what was she going to do about the car and she screeched,

“The hell with the car.”

She hung up with a bang.  I looked at the phone for a moment, and then quietly repeated the brief conversation to Rick, who was sitting next to me. He shrugged. Then I exited the car and walked over to the tall man, handed him his phone and thanked him. He ignored me.

In a remarkably short period of time, a car appeared from the north of us, screeching to a stop. The driver looked extremely anxious, and in a heavy Israeli accent pushed us to hurry up and get into his car. He slammed the door behind us and jumped back in his car, speeding away into the black night. I turned and waved to the tall man in the black clothes who was looking at us as we sped away from him. He didn’t wave back. No one else there looked at us.

I tried to talk to the driver who was extremely nervous. Frantic. I asked him what was wrong. He was smoking like all Israelis smoked, incessantly, and he spat out a word I didn’t know:


He didn’t speak to us after that, and when we arrived at the rental company, he jumped out of the car and disappeared.  The woman working there gave us a key to another car. No one explained anything to us, so we resumed our trip in Northern Israel.

After I arrived back home in Highland Park, Illinois, I went to my Temple, B’nai Torah. I related the incident to my very popular, good humored and very well informed about Israel-everything Rabbi.

As I told my story, he was at first amused; but then when I got to the Hebron part, his face changed. His eyes grew wide and he looked incredulous to me. I was mystified.

He told me that “intifada” was an Arabic word meaning an armed uprising of the Arabs against the Israelis over the long running battle for who owned what land there. And on that particular night, when we were trapped in front of the old diner in Hebron, American tourists and others were being murdered in that town and in other Palestinian territories.

The Rabbi’s face looked horrified.

If I hadn’t been afraid then, I was completely confused about all that did and didn’t happen to either of us that strange night. I couldn’t understand why my normally very cool Rabbi looked at me the way he did.

He said to me,

“God has an envelope around you, protecting you.”

Then he said something in Hebrew to me that I didn’t understand and he walked away from me, shaking his head.

Many other things had happened—or not happened—to me before that time in Israel, and many things I couldn’t explain have happened since. I do know that the average person doesn’t have thirty-seven operations and still walks around like everything is just fine.

His words have never left my ears and I hear them sometimes still, though that Temple closed on June 30, 2014.

Here is what I think: I think I’m not so important. But Joyce is, and Sarah is and if something happened to me, something killed me, who would there be to watch over them? Maybe my job is to take care of them. Maybe they are important and necessary and need someone to look out for them. Maybe I was assigned to them.

I think people don’t really know anything.  If we can’t see it, feel it, hear it, well, then it isn’t a real thing, is it?

In this long story, I have only mentioned the recent accident with the Robin, the electricity and the situation in Israel. No one would ever believe me about how many other terrifying incidents in my life–beginning as a child– have not harmed me. I have never understood any of this.

It is very difficult for me to type these words. Hard to see the white letters on the black keys.

So easy for someone to laugh at me about all of this.

But they’d have no idea about my life.

What if that Rabbi was right? Who would ever believe something like that?


Publishing News! 

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

Gritty, violent, friendship, classic American entrepreneurship love, death, heartbreak and the real dirt about surviving in a completely corrupt major city under the Chicago Machine. More history and about one man’s life than a person may imagine.

Please visit my new website: http://www.dontgoquietlypress.com
If a person doesn’t want to use PayPaI, I also have a PO Box & I ship anywhere in America.

Send me a money order with your return and contact 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
My books weigh almost 2 pounds each, with about 525 pages each and there are a total together of 79 stories and story/poems.

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

Books cost $29.95 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

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

My Fighting Words Publishing Co. four original books, published between 2004 and 2007 are now out-of-print. I still have some left and will periodically offer them for sale on my new website.


Comment by bruce matteson

July 8, 2016 @ 2:43 am

oh i think it goes without saying that there is an envelope around you! The question is, did god put it there for your protection or ours…?

Comment by Brad Bliss

July 10, 2016 @ 2:35 pm

Bob, I continue to shake my head, wonder about you, and count it an honor to call you my friend. Wow. Lamentations 3:22.

Comment by Will

July 10, 2016 @ 7:34 pm

Hello Bob, I am glad you got retired and sold your collection. I visited your store when it was near Evanston, back in 2006. I bought a couple of advertisements of 1930’s autos from you, as well as two of your books. I read your blog from time to time. Thanks for keeping it up. Be well!

Comment by Paul Eisenbacher

July 19, 2016 @ 4:16 am

Your life is not just a series of short stories but an extended novel. I am happy for you in selling the magazine store. I didn’t know what happened do to my neglect of our friendship. Please forgive me. I wish you always good health and happiness. You have lived many lives with your fast experiences and travels. Thank you for sharing your life with those like me. You are a true writer. Take care my friend. Paul

Comment by Bob

July 19, 2016 @ 2:48 pm

Well, Paul, come to Racine and we can walk along the very nice beach they have here. How ’bout that?

Comment by David Griesemer

August 31, 2016 @ 9:29 am

I now suspect that Bob, like Emily Dickinson, will become widely known only after death. So if God has an envelope around him, his life must have some purpose other than fame. Indeed he has been assigned to his family, like Saint Joseph in the Gospels. Protected to protect. Perhaps his body of work, like Dickinson’s, will be celebrated later. Perhaps it will serve as backround for even greater stories in the next generation. Perhaps he was a success all along.

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