Elementary School Drop-out

Steve Katz

Steve Katz

Steve Katz
Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA
November 27
Norma Glamp's
Steve Katz, owner of Norma Glamp's and Memories Gallery, began his career as a school teacher. He has taught art and ceramics at the high school and elementary school levels. His family is in iron and steel. His mother irons and his father steals, In 1988, he took a break from teaching to seek fame and fortune in Hollywood. While finding neither, he did manage to secure a recurring role as an extra on the TV sitcom, 'Cheers." Duties performed included sitting, standing and leaning against walls making silent conversation. Returning to the east coast in 1992, he became a full-time Provincetown resident and founded his two galleries to showcase his hand-colored Polaroid transfers and woven photographs. He lives with his partner Herb and his cat Louey in a home located on the most bumpy and rutted road in North America.....are you listening Provincetown Highway Department???????


Steve Katz's Links

APRIL 2, 2010 6:20PM


Rate: 41 Flag




The Setting:  Wonderland, a childrens' restaurant with games and rides located in Yonkers, NY

Time period: The Present

The Characters:

Stevie Katz: Age 61

Natalie Katz: deceased

Selma Cohen: deceased

Janet  Rubin: deceased

Mary Heyman: deceased

Sol Katz: deceased

Grandma:  deceased


"Mommy, can I go on the roller coaster." I asked anxiously.

"Finish your sandwich, and we'll see." she replied.

I knew what that meant. "We'll see" meant no.

"Let the kid go on the roller coaster," Aunt Selma urged. "What harm could it do?" Selma was working on her second piece of coconut cream pie. Aunt Selma loved pie."

"Tell you what,"  my Aunt Janet said excitedly, "I'll treat you. Here's a dollar. Go buy yourself some tickets."

My mother glared at her. "Janet Rubin, stay out of this. I'll tell my child what he can do." She stared at my aunt. "Just mind your own goddam business."

"Natalie," the kid is sixty-one years old. If you don't let go of him  now, when?"

"He's mine goddamit," my mother retorted. "He's my kid."

" Natalie, he's not a kid," reminded my Aunt Janet. "He's sixty-one years old."

"Mommy," I asked, "Can I have a frankfurter?"

"No!" It's too close to your dinnertime." she replied.

"Listen to yourself! my Aunt Janet yelled. "Telling a sixty-one year old man he can't have a goddam frankfurter."

"You mind your own business, Janet Rubin. I've done a pretty damn good job raising my child."

"Your little son was a child, then he was a young man. Then he was a man, and now he is an old man. "When are you going to let go?"

My aunt turned to my father and the other relatives sitting at the picnic table under the umbrella. "What about all of you? Why didn't you speak up all these years? Why did you let her take control?"

"We were all afraid of her," My Aunt Selma replied. "Natalie doesn't forget when someone tells her what to do.  We were all afraid to get involved."

"So you allowed Stevie's  life to be ruined by this witch?" My Aunt Janet was not afraid of my mother. Probably because she was her in-law.

She turned to my mother. "You didn't allow him to marry. Made him struggle with his homosexuality, but was secretly  relieved so you could have him all for yourself. You wanted him to become a teacher so that's the career he chose. That boy," she corrected herself,"...that man  has never had to think for himself. You were always inside of him, running the show."

My mother just looked away.

"Me, " my father looked at me for the first time. "I let you down." he got down on one knee to speak with me." I saw what was happening." he began to cry." I just  couldn't....just couldn't change things. She was so strong. And so mean. I'm so sorry."

All of this was not sinking in. I didn't know what was happening.

"Mommy," I asked again. Can I have a frankfuter?"

"Stevie, " my Aunt Janet answered for her. "You can have ten frankfurters. And ten sodas if you want. And ten ice creams. But all that food may make you sick," she warned, "this is a decision you must make for yourself. No one is going to decide this for you."

I began to understand.

"Natalie, I am taking him away from you now," my aunt said. "Say good-bye. You are going to leave him  and not look back. From now on he will be making his own decisions."

My mother just glared at her sister-in-law.

My father grabbed my arm. He paused as if  debating whether he should say more. There was a long silence. I could see from his facial expression that he had decided to tell me something. Something important.   "Stevie, you have thirteen years left before you die." He smiled. But it's not so bad. "Let's just say before we see you again. Make the most out of these years. They're yours."

I suddenly knew what he was saying.

"Good-bye Daddy." I gave him a hug. He kissed me on the cheek.

"You'll always be my little boy. I love you, kid."

"Good-bye Aunt Selma,"

"Stevie" she said with a tear in her eye, "you were always be my favorite nephew. I love you so much. Remember when we used to take rides in that old Cadillac? Enjoy the rest of your life."

"Good-bye Aunt Mary,"

"Do you remember Stevie? Do you remember when we used to sit on the floor and play with the poker chips?," Aunt Mary asked, "we had such fun. I miss those days."

"Good-bye Grandma. I'll miss you most of all. You were so good to me."

"And you were so good to me. My last grandchild." she smiled and kissed me on the forehead. How could I forget you? Remember how we'd make ginger cake togther?"

"And you'd leave the nuts off of the top of some of the cake  because I hated nuts," I reminded her.

" Stevie,"  my aunt took my hand,  "These people aren't leaving you. They will always be in your heart." She turned to my mother. "They just won't be in your every thought anymore. You will have to trust yourself."

I had saved the best for last.

"Good-bye Mommy."

There was no answer.

I spoke louder, figuring the din of the crowd prevented her from hearing me say good-bye.

"Good-bye Mommy"

There was no response.

I turned to my father, My Aunt Selma, my Aunt Mary and my Grandma.

They all looked down on me with loving eyes.

"I think I'll get that frankfurter now," I decided. "I'll be right back."

I took two steps toward the concession stand and looked over my shoulder.

They were all gone.

Except my mother. She was sitting on the bench waiting for me.

"Don't get lost, " she warned.

"I won't," I promised.


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From the other posts you've written I'm not sure if Mom is there to keep nagging you or Mom is there to let you know she's still here with you with love. Either way, I love the way you wrote this and could see it all as if I were there. ~R
I don't know how I feel about knowing your mother's name was the same as mine.

Great writing, as always!

@ Through My Eyes: She was there to make sure I did the right thing...according to her standards. I just can't shake her.
@Natalie: My mother's name was Natalie Rubin and my aunts name was Natalie Rubin...hence the name change to Janet,
oh my god. you had me in tears when your father got down on one knee. honestly, i can't type now because i am so overcome with emotion. so many thoughts are racing around my head but none would do justice to your words.
saying this story is beautiful is a vast understatement.
I love Aunt Janet/Natalie. I for sure loved this. Damn, you're good.
Your best yet! Oh how long it takes to get rid of demons. Now what. I just can't wait.
My childhood was spent in Brooklyn NY and in places like Buddies and Coney Island but I practice now in Yonkers, New York. Medical care there , for the most part, sucks!

Your story reminds us that we will all be gone one day and that we should enjoy what we have. Mom's regardless of how nagging they can be are always there for us.

Dr. Levine
Steve, this was brilliantly executed with a straight story line but enough mystery too. I had the same mom. She also was Jewish. I was protected by my larger family too.

Your dad. How did he know when you would die? Do you? Does anyone? You are one freaking amazing writer, one of the best, r

I don't know about you but I've been an adult orphan way too long, both parents died by the time I was 40. I miss them all.
I think Steve left the ending to the reader's interpretation.
I sense that Steve is "stuck" with Natalie for the rest of his life.
The other realatives went away willingly to let him move on......not good ol' Natalie!
Wow! And to think this all happens at an amusement park!
I think people "up there" know all and see all. I think Steve's father could see the thirteen year future....let's hope for Steve's sake his father wasn't a math major.
Loved the story.
Steve - GREAT post - AGAIN! So - how's that hot dog!?!
You won't ever shake Mom. Mom's are like that!
steve you never fail to move me. R. Bea
You are something else . . . this is just amazing and beautiful and so full of truth. Makes me just wanna hug you.
Lovely! A tearjerker!
some mothers are harder to come to grips with than others (i know; mine, too) but it feels like you succeeded. thank goodness for aunts, janet and otherwise. great script, steve. now go have an ice cream. ;
This is bittersweet.

I enjoy your love songs and odes.
Ah Stevie. She just won't go, will she? rated x 100 in my head.
Mom's have a tough job. A real balancing act of sorts. Funny thing is, my mother never gave me much grief, but my sister plays mother to me all the time. It's sweet, but annoying as hell.

Of course she realizes that I'm only fifty-four years old and am irreparably irresponsible. She tries so hard to make something out of me. Heehee. It's so cute.
That was really poignant. You know how to get to the heart of things.
OMG, Steve, such a powerful parallel in your mother. She acts kind of mean, and doesn't want to let go, but I know as a mother of adults,20's, late teens, I don't know if I have sufficiently let go. I'm always biting my tongue, so I know I am TRYING. Sorry about the effects of her controlling on your adult life and hope she has not such a hold on your personal relationships now. Really, my friend, give yourself permission to seek your happiness. Remind yourself everyday if you have to...this is the only one we get. (((HUGS)))
wow. this brought tears to my eyes. i love the way you tell your story.
I like the way you are both observing yourself and yet living the story-very effective perspective.
I had every intention of writing this as a play...but after I started, it wrote itself as a short story...you never know....you just have to let it go where it wants to go.
Stevie - it's time to cut yourself some slack ...
Steve, In twelve years from now, get as many credit cards as you can and max them out.

Great story as always.

@Leepin Larry: You made me laugh...as usual.
Have you ever considered joining Open Salon?
PS: We have a lunch date twelve years, twenty-nine days from now. My treat, of course.
I think I'll have to read this again. There is a lesson it it from many points of view.
Mothers are hard to shake. Sometimes that's a good thing.
@Scarlett: I am amazed that this story has been interpreted two ways.
So be it.
If the reader enjoys the story and gets something from it, the point of view is theirs to choose.
"Have I ever considered joining Open Salon"?
I've thought about it. Does joining OS, entitle me to some discount at Costco?

How about lunch in 13 yrs and 1 day? ... just to make sure you stick around.
I think this piece did read more as a play than as a short story. And the ending was particularly dramatic. "Don't get lost," was both surprising and inevitable. Nice work.
@Leepin Larry: Lunch in thirteen years and one day sounds good....but I think I should leave you a sandwich in my will just to be on the safe side.
Tuna or Chicken Salad?
A 13 year old sandwich isn't safe even without the mayo. Maybe a gift certificate to a restaurant would be a better choice.
I think with Natalie, "Don't get lost" means "Don't do what you want to do, do what I'd want you to do." I hope your "I won't" means that you've decided to wander off on your own because you know where you are going and won't be lost at all.
Whoa, this was beautiful. Masterfully written! I love the premise, the characterization through the dialogue - very well done!
@Bellwether: That is my interpretation. Natalie ain't going nowhere. "Don't get lost" means don't ypou dare slip away from me.
My"I won't" (to me) means "Yes Mother, I know this will never end."
But to those who see Natalie's gesture as a loving one, that's OK too.
@Leepin Larry: I tend to agree with you. We should hedge our bets. Will a thirteen year old gift certificate from Applebee's be sufficient?
I will leave the details up to you and your attorney's discretion.
BTW, does Applebees serve Lobster Thermidor?
@Leepin Larry: Don't worry.
Applebee's will serve anyone.
This is great. I can't wait to go through the archives and read them all. Are you writing a new one every day?
Amazing, Steve... She let you go, and wanted you to just be safe.. 'Don't get lost..'.

Wow.. amazing one today..
another darling post, darling. xox
Good one Steve! Real life, indeed; wonderfully written.
Most excellent. You really should write a memoir if you already haven't. R
Your writing etches a clear portrait of a powerful haunting. In one of your comment responses you say "I just can't shake her". I may be way off here, but have you tried embracing her? I can imagine a cautionary tale humorously told with a hint of endearment for her eccentricities.
Just a thought. I enjoy your writing, thanks for sharing.
@next please: thanks for your comment. You are not the first person to make this suggestion. I am a tough one for forgiveness. Maybe in time I will be able to change my attitude.
Steve this is wonderful!!!
This is a remarkable piece, and you are one gutsy guy for allowing your pain to hang out like that. I don't think I could do that.
You can write! Rated.
This was masterful storytelling.
Highly Rated
Awesome writing. An allegory perhaps that frankfurter? I am afraid I might be that type of mom..... Exceptional piece.
Loved it Stevie. I say what everyone else said. Whichever way they said it. hell, this piece was so good that even openroom came by 4 times.
You didn't get lost.You're found. Beautiful piece.
Fantasic, Steve. Just fantastic.
I have no words, Steve. And for me, that's pretty damned hard.
I must go dry my eyes now.
I understand this and you have written it so touchingly and beautiful. I am sure you could write a collection of these images and influence a number of parents and children for the rest of their lives. I am struggling with something every holiday that comes and I wish I could read something about it and it reach a perspective such as the one you are offering here. You have enormous talent. Rated.
Mine is still doing that! Now my Aunt Mary, she was great. I would go to her house to visit, so we could have hot dogs for dinner, or cabbage soup -- she made the best cabbage soup!
I don't know how you do it...make me laugh and cry all at the same time. You're brilliant! Something about those darn Mothers.