Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Finding a New Girl at 17. Finding a New Woman at 68. How?…by Robert M. Katzman


Why is today different from all other days? Because on April 20, 1889 Adolph Hitler was born in Austria. Growing up Jewish on the South Side of Chicago, I learned this date when I was very young, perhaps seven. History matters when you belong to a people whom other people hunt to kill.

But maybe that was because ten days after that date on April 30, 1945, he killed himself in an underground bunker as the American and their allied armies were swiftly closing in on Berlin from the West, and the Russians were closing in on Berlin from the East. And exactly five years later, I was born on 59th and Cottage on April 30, 1950.

As a wary Jewish child, uncertain about who might hate me next, sometimes I used to say to myself:

“Good. I replaced him”. Meaning to me, I erased the evil man. Children can create essential fantasies.

With such somber history imprinted on me so young, it fostered a fascination with history throughout my life. Who did what to whom; why; when; how come this army defeated that army; why do people kill over religion; land; water; women; why do some people think they are superior to other people; and one day I thought to myself:

If a tiny black Pygmy from Central Africa could give a blood transfusion to a tall blond Swede thousands of miles north of them in order to save their life, well, we must all be the same. We look different, but we are all the same. It’s so simple.

That revelation hit me at about ten, and I found prejudice to be ridiculous. Which means my children and grandchildren also grew up with no prejudice. What is taught works both ways, depending on what a person feels is essential to creating a welcoming world, or a world with walls and barbed wired to keep out the “lesser people”. Evil can outlive you just as easily as kindness. I choose to give a person a chance.

This April 30th, I’ll be 68. Damn. So fast!

And no wife after 42 years, now almost a year ago, and some small cancer surgery a month ago, I decided to try to find a new female friend to hold hands with and all that while there was still time.



How much?

Then I remembered my first date on December 15, 1967. I was 17, late to my high school’s (horrid) cafeteria and there was only this one girl in front of me.

Long brown hair down her back with red highlights, about five foot three, slender and silent. Dateless for four years, not cool with girls, and then a senior, I gathered up my courage and spoke to the back of that girl’s head, assuming they were words in the wind. Why would this day be different than all other days?

But the young girl, then 15, turned around, was unexpectedly beautiful, and against all reason, decided she would indeed have her lunch sitting with me, and she ordered tuna fish and I ordered macaroni and cheese. Neither of us, wisely, ate the food, but that shy conversation resulted in a relationship of ten years, a daughter as beautiful as her mother and now two good-looking grandchildren who are moving quickly through time themselves. What a difference a few words can make.

In the last couple of weeks I’ve responded to a few well-written ads on senior match sites, feeling about as brave and confident as a grandfather now, as I was as a teenager half a century ago. But before typing, I hesitate, wondering:

Why would some smart and pretty grandmother decide to rearrange her life and possibly choose to want to be more than a friend to me? With me? How do women know? To really become more than some casual acquaintance to someone means lots of talking. Lots of where you’ve been and what worked and what didn’t and trying not to talk too much about someone else you slept with for decades.

I think both men and women worry they’re not good-looking enough to attract someone, but a good relationship, in my ancient opinion, one that lasts, is based on how beautiful a person’s mind is. How they see the world. Whether going to an art gallery is important to them, or if they want to discuss politics to see what either of them really feels.

I thinking holding hands with someone who makes you feel attractive, smart, and who conveys that to you with their eyes may be the right one. So much else that means something can be said without any words. Because after living so long, two people can get a sense of who is worth investing with their time, their history and possibly their love.

I’ve owned civilized bookstores and also done dangerous things and learned how much when meeting or needing strangers can be swiftly conveyed with unspoken attitude, a handshake, or a direct look deep into a woman’s eyes for more than five seconds, can speak volumes to a receptive man. Men convey situations silently in a blunter way. Women? Women just know, and wait for a man to catch up.

I think the essence of allowing happiness and sensuality into your life, is to be quiet and listen.

Be receptive to feel a woman’s desire to be with you without words, because not everyone wants to spell it out. Some people are much better at doing something, rather than advertising that they intend to do it. Less awkward. Quieter, too.

Sometimes a kiss can be a psychic encyclopedia if each person is on the same emotional wavelength and both are sending and receiving the same message. Someone is always waiting for the other to DO something. I will be ready.

I kissed my dying wife every morning and every night because regardless of what time and ravaging cancer were doing to her body, her mind and her touch remained beautiful to me. Alluring to me. Essential to me. I will find that again.

Someone will be sending me a signal they want me to receive. Who will that be? How will I know? I better pay close attention. Listen. Be ready to let a stranger into my life to ward off the cold and to share whatever time is left to see if love, love suddenly blossoming between strangers, makes whatever is ahead of us better to endure as a couple, standing together, than to face whatever it is that may be waiting ahead for either one of us, alone.


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: https://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 Brad Dechter

April 20, 2018 @ 11:08 am

Bob-thoughts of someone trying to convey them or convince himself or perhaps both?

Comment by Bob

April 20, 2018 @ 11:18 am

I don’t know, Brad.

Comment by Jim Payne

April 20, 2018 @ 4:27 pm

A rainbow of romance for dreamers seeking lovers. While I can’t fly over the rainbow as you do, I enjoy your writing: every sentence, phrase, thought, feeling.

Comment by Herb Berman

April 21, 2018 @ 6:45 am

I first saw my future wife, Sondra, with Mel in Kaelin’s, a teen hangout in Louisville. It was a dateless Saturday night, a rare thing for me. I asked my buddy Jackie, “You know who the cute girl with Mel is?”

“Sure,” he said, “We’re both in Anshei S’Fard. Wanna meet her? Let’s drop by her house tomorrow. I’ll introduce you.”

We did. I stole Sondra from Mel. After the ups and downs of young love, we decided we were for each other. In December, after three wonderful kids and three delightful grandkids, we’ll be married sixty years.

I’m a very lucky man.

You’ll find someone, Bob. It won’t be young love again, but it will be what you both want and need.

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