July 19, 2020
San Marcos, CA
Note: I know Bob Katzman since September 1958. We met in Third Grade at Caldwell Elementary School in that south Chicago neighborhood.
I did not know of Bob’s terror at home at that time. He hid his physical and mental torments from his mother and because of that, I only knew the side of Bob that he willing exposed to the public.
Only decades later from his many books did I come to realize his inner side and that took a long time for me to reconcile.
In the many years since his book revelations provided me a much clearer understanding of Bob and thus myself as the observer.
This essay cannot explain every nuance with the spirit Bob carries forward with his life force. It is best to trust Bob at his word if he calls you a friend. You may return that trust in kind to be accepted into thoughtful and insightful conversations initiated by Bob.
On July 11, 2020, both Sherry and I accepted the dinner invitation to visit Bob’s home in Racine, Wi. Once there, he and his friend, Nancy, gave a short tour of his outside property and their joint works using Nature’s art and recycled antique manmade objects. His Facebook page carries the stories of this projects and accompanying photos. That is part of who Bob Katzman is today at home.
Another part of Bob is his dinner preparations of Fried Chicken are superbly created from scratch before our eyes. His inner most stories are best absorbed while he prepares a meal before his guests. Those recollections of what he has learned in life is seasoned by the many photos that adorn and fill the walls of his house. Each one is a special period or moment of time for him.
The photo’s of Bob’s ancestors are included and he can retell their stories in a way as if I was hearing them first-hand.
Then there was the moment he met his wife, Joyce. She was meant for him and they shared four decades of life together until she passed away three years ago—in the room across from the dinner table. His published remarks about Joyce cover that relationship from beginning to end of her life, although his love for her will never cease.
Each main element of Bob’s inner sanctum illuminates his personal presence more deeply than just the words themselves reveal. His tone, his pacing, his skill as a writer and speaker resonates with the attentive listeners. There was emotion in his eyes and ours as we listened.
Sherry and I spent about four or five hours at Bob’s house that day. We enjoyed every minute. I came away with a more rounded understanding and respect for Bob. I feel he also came to know me a little more too.
That’s a huge benefit for longtime friends. I hope Bob’s other long term friends meet up with Bob and enjoy their kinship too.
Don and Sherry Larson