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

DECEMBER 6, 2010 7:28PM


Rate: 31 Flag

"It would have been thirty-four years today," sighed Shirley Finklestein."

"What woulda been thirty-four years?" Betty asked.

"My wedding anniversary." She explained. "Saul, may he rest in peace and I would have been celebrating today."

 "So what are you doing tonight?" Betty asked.

"What should I do? I ain't got nobody top celebrate with," she said." I'll just stay home and watch TV."

"Well you can come over here, Shirley," her friend offered. "No sense sitting home and feeling sorry for yourself."


Shirley put on her flannel nightgown and sat on the sofa. She picked up a copy of the People Magazine and thumbed through the pages.

Betty's words echoed in Shirley's ears. "No sense sitting home and feeling sorry for yourself."

Olive Garden.

For years, Saul took Shirley to the Olive Garden for their anniversary. Dressed in his best blue suit and blue and red tie, he always made her feel like a princess.

"I'll take myself to the Olive Garden. Like old times.Maybe I'll feel better," she consoled herself.


"Table for one." Shirley said, as she approached the front counter.

"Yes ma'am," the hostess said cheerfully. Shirley noticed the tattoos on the woman's arms as they both walked toward the very back of the restaurant. "Oh, I'm afraid we have no deuces available. Do you mind sitting at a four top?" the hostess asked.

"No," Shirley replied, as she the hostess laid a menu in front of her. Shirley took a seat and stared at the three empty chairs at her table.

"Enjoy." The hostess said as she walked away.

Soon the waiter walked over carrying four glasses of water. "Would you care to order a beverage or would you prefer to wait until the others arrive?"

"If we waited until the others arrived, I'd be dead," Shirley replied."

As she ate her shrimp scampi with unlimited salad and breadsticks,  Shirley Finkelstein recalled her life before Saul. She wasn't always the princess.


"Welcome To The Traphagen Junior High School Ninth Grade Dance," the banner read. It was mandatory for every student to attend.

Grudgingly, Shirley entered the room and stood by the table of cookies and punch. The boys leaned against one wall, the girls fidgeted across from them on the opposite wall. The music was playing but no one was dancing.

"OK ladies and gentleman," the teacher, Mr. Lessing called out. "Grab the hand of the person directly across from you. Everyone is going to dance to this next record." 

Shirley grabbed the hand of  Billy Burnbaum and they began slow dancing. Her first dance with a boy. She couldn't help but notice that Billy had a grimace on his face.

"What's the matter, Billy?" Shirley asked innocently.

"Just my luck to get stuck with the second ickiest girl in the ninth grade," he complained

Shirley was taken aback by his comment, but had to ask the obvious question. "And who is the first ickiest girl in the class?"

"Phoebe Wellman," he answered calmly.

Shirley looked at Phoebe. Her hair was uncombed and sticking out at every angle. Phoebe wore the same dress to school everyday. Phoebe smelled.

"I think I've had enough dancing," Shirley said abruptly to her partner.

Maybe she was a tad chubby...well...fat.. Maybe she wasn't charming around the boys. Maybe she didn't know all the answers in class, but Shirley knew she was no Phoebe.

But that experience followed her throughout junior high school and high school. She wasn't pretty enough. She wasn't thin enough. No boy would ever want her as a girlfriend. And therefore, no boy ever did.

Until Saul.

Saul loved her unconditionally. Saul protected her from the world. No more the second ickiest girl, on the contrary,  Saul called her his "Princess." From the moment she met Saul, Shirley never doubted herself.

But her heart ached for her deceased partner. Coming to the Olive Garden was a mistake. "What's the use?" she asked herself. "Saul is dead and that's all there is to that." She sighed."I'll never find another Saul. Shirley began to cry.

Looking through her purse for a tissue and finding none, Shirley got up from the table to go to the ladies' room for some toilet paper to dry her eyes and blow her nose. She purposely left her sweater on the chair so the waiter wouldn't clear her table and seat another party.

When she returned, she grabbed the waiter's eye, "Check please..."

That had been their little joke. Shirley would always be the one to say "Check please," but Saul would quickly reply "Oh no, my princess. This one is on me."

"That's all been taken care of, Ma'am. You check has been paid," the waiter informed her.

Astonished, Shirley asked, "By who. I ain't been sitting with nobody."

"A man." the waiter replied. "A man in a blue suit and a blue and red tie. He said to say,'This one's on me, Princess.'"

A tear welled up in Shirley's eye as she got up from the table.

Maybe it ain't all ancient history," she thought. Maybe in his own way, Saul is standing right next to me all the time."

Shirley Finklestein walked out of the Olive Garden and, for the first time in a long while, she felt like a princess.







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Okay, you've done it again. I am typing through tears. This was just marvelous. R
Steve Katz.. this made me cry..
I finally found my Saul after decades even though he does go to temple. I am going to make him read this. This was wonderful.
Rated with hugs
Oh, my. This gave me goosebumps. Dreams can be true! A very touching piece, Steve. ~R
All it takes is one person to make you feel special.
Thanks, Natalie, Linda and FusanA.
Steve! I've missed you. This one is really, really good.~r
Shirley Finklestein is one of my favorites and so are you. Great, great story. Loved the ending.
Too bad that Shirley and Saul didn't get to spend more happy years together...they sound like they were the perfect couple.
Another good one, Steve.
It just goes to show that there is someone for everyone out there. All you have to do is make it through those horrible high school years. Great as usual. Waiting for more Shirley. Rated.
Hard as it will be, let's hope that someday Shirley finds herself another Saul.
Great story!
Outstanding story, simply outstanding...thank you.
Good to see you back in such fine form. Really enjoyed this.
steve, another super story...sweet yet sad, simple yet complex.
Dammit Steve... you rock. what an incredible ending... I am so happy for Shirley... wow...
So touching Steve! Just lovely to be reading something by you - I am never disappointed. :)
your heart is full of good things, stevie.
I thank you and Shirley told me to tell you that she thanks you too.
Steve - So sweet, made me smile. Rated
Really appreciated this one...
Firstly: you write like you know how.
Secondly: your Shirley makes people cry.
Thirdly: give us some more... I would love to see Shirley on the big screen -- when do we see women like this in movies?
Thank you Cleotheo.
Shirley may be unsophisticated, but she is honorable and sincere and is still open to experiencing life.
I have never used a character more than once before.
I look forward to seeing where Shirley goes from here.
Thank you all for your encouraging words....I will try not to disappoint.
That's it for you. You get a permanent Zumapick. Your writing makes me know that I am in the presence of greatness when it comes to telling a story. Hugs, too!
Oy! I am kvelling so! I'm going home and have a nice bowl of cholent with some left over challah bread from Shabbos. Then - not to make it a total loss - I'll down a piece bopka with a glazzeleh tay!
Hey - peoples - this Steve Ketzeleh is a somebody! To write from the heart! It gets you right in the 'boich' - if you get mein drift! A toisand geshmockte kisses! Shakespeare could take a few lessons from Steveleh! Dahlinckel - you'll come for lunch. I'll make you pitcha with horseradish - you'll plotz it's so good. And - you'll tell me more about Shoiley. What a 'balabustah!' Regards and 'luff'...
You write these stories and I just wish I knew where they came from. Somwhere deep inside I think. Great Post!



and absolutely terrific!


Rated with all my paws and my tail!! :)
Sweet! Good twist at the end: wasn't expecting it at all. The flashback to ninth grade was the perfect middle, too: sets up why Saul was special. Nicely done, Steve: I really enjoy your touch.
Yes. Your Life shines through as if You were a lovable as Shirley. Temple.
No grouch!
You cheers!
Ya sip milk!
Ga Ga goo!
I mean that you remind me of my Families Family Tree Photo Album shots.
A Mug shots.
You childlike.
When I open my Family Album I see photos of me in silly bow ties. Husky britches.
On page # one`
of the album?
There's a photo.
I am in a caged crib with diapers, a bow tie, and a Rocky Road Ice Cream Cone. I have a ice cream cone, a messy face, and there's the photo my parents cherished? It is the One Night Stand Photo of`

The Red Rose Motel.
Dad always called us`
You darling Princess.
tease? My sisters were
Princess. I was chubby.
I wore blue foot booties.
I was the poor boy born.
Happy Motel Room Day!
I hope that makes sense.
I get Old Timers no tomb.
Some tombs are very sad.
Folk can examine a Life to transcend those potential damaging hard times. You bring back `Child.
Unless we be as the lil' `Child.
Adult, and innocent as a`Child.
Dad calls to me `Ya lil' bastard!
Ya big no-louse `Ya rot politico!
Ya stinkin' foul`Ya poop pants!
Fun read
Darling story! Shirley is quite a gal.
Pretty sappy Steve. Just right for December holidays, long live Shirley and Saul!
Please define sappy.
Awww...when I read about how this happens in real life sometimes (surprising, anonymous generosity) I think about the beneficiaries...and you've fleshed those thoughts out perfectly into a full-on story.
I've missed Shirley. Glad she's back
Sappy = you couldn't get away with it if it weren't the Holidays.
My sincere apologies to you.
I had no idea I was trying to get away with anything.
Steve? I hope you know I'm pulling your leg... apologies back to you for offending. None was intended.
Thanks for responding.
I overeact sometimes.
No offense taken.
Now on to our next posts!