Different Slants

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The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Bonnie stories,Gritty Katzman Chicago Stories,Love and Romance — Bob at 7:39 pm on Sunday, January 14, 2018

The 1967 Big Snow and My Unexpected Love Affair, at 16 by Robert M. Katzman

Fifty years ago on January 27, 1967, the Big Snow buried Chicago and I was trapped at my older sister Bonnie’s house because she had a college party and invited me, reluctantly. I was 16 and useless around girls. Shy and clueless. I was so square that I brought some poetry I wrote with me to read in case anyone wanted to hear it. Girls my age weren’t interested at all.


There were maybe 30 people there, half boys. They lived nearby and would have to leave after a while. The remaining 15 girls were from out-of-town and were going to sleep wherever they fell, I guess. I did read my poetry after a couple of hours went by and was amazed that the girls listened and asked me to read some more. One time-stopping girl in particular. Damn!


A little later, all the lights went out. Soft music was playing on the phonograph, same song by Pet Clark, over and over and over and people were pairing up and dancing in the dark. I was sitting alone on the carpet like a third wheel when that same girl came over and asked me, Mr Cool, if I wanted to dance. I looked up. An older woman, 18. Tall, long strawberry blonde hair, slender, too beautiful to talk to Bonnie’s little brother. Embarrassed (and dumb) I told her I didn’t know how to dance. She told me to just put my arms around her and move a little, in the darkness. I did that.


After a while, there were couples lying on the floor and I was worried I’d trip over some of them. When we were the (actual) last couple standing, she asked me if I wanted to neck. Stunned, I managed to NOT say I had never done that before, but by then, she knew a lot about me, I guess, and since I used to live in that house, I took her up to my old room, which still had a bed. And a door, too. Ok, I wasn’t totally hopeless.


I learned a lot that night. And I learned how good a girl can smell when they are really, really close to you. Oh, and the thing about kissing is that the more you do it, especially with a little help from the other person, you can get better and better at it. And other things, too.


So, I stayed in Bonnie’s house for three days, spending every second with that stunning woman. 72 hours seemed like just five minutes until she had to go back to Southern Illinois. Except by then I was hopelessly in love with suave and tall Miss Perfect who knew everything about making a shy kid feel more confident. Never saw her again.


Don’t even think about her anymore. Except if its snowing at night in January. Or not snowing at night in January. Yeah, she’s forgotten, all right. Hey, Marilyn (decided to remove her last name, after some heartache), where the hell are you now? Yes, magic exists. maybe desperation and acute loneliness appear on certain women’s radar. Hope you all like my story about the one who got away, if you read all the way down to here. She’s still the older woman now, except I’m almost 68 and I guess she’s 70.


Damn it, I was so crazy about that girl.




Comment by Charlie Newman

January 14, 2018 @ 9:21 pm

Nice memory nicely told.

S’what you do, Bob.

Comment by June Cahill

January 15, 2018 @ 11:36 am

Beautifully written. I’m a bit younger than you (by 9 years) and your memory brought back some of mine. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Comment by Nikolaos

January 15, 2018 @ 12:49 pm

Real-life sweet reminiscences.

Comment by Herb Berman

January 15, 2018 @ 3:14 pm

Wonderful coming-of-age story, Bob.

Comment by chuck holden

January 16, 2018 @ 10:27 am

I’m now 67 and was walking back and forth on Michigan avenue to my first “real” girlfriends house during that storm in 67. Your words brought back many typical memories and I enjoyed them immensely.

Comment by brad dechter

January 16, 2018 @ 5:41 pm

I was hoping you’d be more explicit- perhaps a “blow by blow”?
My brother Scott and I were trapped while our parents were caught on the northside. He had a great time with a chick that hiked over 3 miles to spend 2 days/nights with him. Me- I got nothing.
Where the hell were your sisters friends when I needed them?

Comment by Jim Williams

January 18, 2018 @ 4:34 am

I truly enjoyed your story and felt your pain.

Comment by Jim Williams

February 2, 2018 @ 8:36 am

That’s a great story of the one that got away. Hits home because it’s universal,every man and woman can relate to these stories.

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