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???????


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FEBRUARY 4, 2011 5:47PM


Rate: 32 Flag

"Relax Shirley, we have plenty of time." Saul said as he buttered another roll. "Sit with me a little longer."

It was Wednesday, "All-You-Can-Eat Spaghetti Night" at the Fresh Meadows Diner. An event the Finklesteins rarely missed.

"I know Saul, but Betty is saving me a seat. Right in front of the number caller." Wednesday was also Bingo night and Shirley didn't want to be late. She slid her seat out and started to rise.

"Shirley, please," Saul begged. "Sit down. Have a piece of pie or a nice piece of cake."

"Dessert? Feh! We can always have dessert," Shirley replied. "This is Bingo night, Saul. I've got to go."  She stood up and kissed Saul on the forehead. "Now finish your meal and wish me good luck."

Saul smiled. "You don't need luck, Shirley. You'll always be a winner with me."

Shirley turned as she approached the door of the Fresh Meadows Diner. She  looked back at Saul. He was waving good-bye to her. She waved as she flew out the door.


"BINGO" Shirley yelled as she stood up. There was a collective groan . "Look!" she exclaimed. "I got Bingo. Right here. Four corners." She pointed to her card. "Look!"

"Please hold your cards until the Bingo has been verified," the caller announced.

But there was no doubt in Shirley's mind.

She was a winner.

"Betty!" Shirley yelled from the caller's desk. "Fifty dollars. I won fifty dollars! Fifty dollars!"

"Will the lady in the third row please sit down so we can continue?"

"Oh," Shirley said apologetically, "Sorry." She sat down.

"Fifty dollars," she whispered to herself and giggled.


Shirley ran up the two flights of steps. No time for an elevator. She rushed into the apartment.

"Saul, Saul," she yelled. "Guess what? I won! Right here. Look! Fifty dollars." Shirley walked into the living room, but Saul was not there. He wasn't in the kitchen and he wasn't in the dinette. Maybe he was in the bedroom.

Saul was lying on the bed. Shirley rushed up to him. "Look!" She fanned the  five tens and waved them in front of his face. "Bingo!" she yelled gleefully.

But Saul did not move.

"Saul. Saul. Wake up. I have wonderful news."

But Saul did not wake up. She shook his chest. "Hey Sleepyhead. Get up."

Shirley grabbed Saul's hand. It was cold. Like ice.

She threw the money on the floor, ran to the phone and dialed 911. "Rush. Please." Shirley yelled frantically. "It's my husband. He's collapsed." She waited for a response. "Yes, that's it. Sixty-fourth Circle. Right on the corner."

She sat on the bed and held his hand. She knew there was need for them to rush. She just knew.

Betty ran downstairs when she saw the ambulance pull up.

"It's Saul," Shirley said mournfully. It's Saul. He's gone.

Shirley and Betty watched silently as the medics wheeled  Saul Herman Finklestein out of the apartment he and Shirley had shared for twenty-one years.


"How could I have known?" Shirley asked herself a million times over the next few years. "How could I have known?"

She sat on the bed and relived her last few minutes with Saul as she had so many times before.

"Relax Shirley, we have  plenty of time." Saul had begged. "Sit with me a little longer."

And whenever she thought about that day, Shirley wished she had.


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!st. Even from my sick bed.
Oh Steve, this is a sad one. I wasn't expecting that. Shirley and you will always be winners in my book.~r
oh my, what a beautifully written story that will affect all readers. you are my winner!
Touching...a good thing to remember...to take that moment...xox
Who knew the Fresh Meadows Diner had Spaghetti Wednesday?
Great story as usual.
Well, I wasn't expecting that one....
I guess we allmust stop and appreciate what we have.
I bet we all wish we could have "sat with" a loved one a little longer...
How sad. Not what I thought was going to happen, but just a little more about why Shirley feels the way she does and who she is. You are a wonderful story teller.
Thanks for your comments, everyone.
This story is dedicated to my father, Sol Katz, who died under similar circumstances thirty years ago next month.
I love Shirley and this story was so sad but so well written.
Rated with hugs
...at least they waved good-bye.
A very sad story.
My sympathies to Shirley...
Cherish all your loved ones.
You never know when they will be gone.
Touching story.
Oh this is so sad. Such sweet people and such mal chance. You really knew how to grab a reader and break their heart with this one!

What powerful ending!!

You set it up beautifully!

Oooooooooo what writing..... I'm jealousing all over the place here....

You threw us a sad curve this time, Steve. Beautifully written and a reminder to not take our loved ones for granted.
This one was from the heart.
I left a family dinner before we were finished because I had to go to work.
That was the last time I saw my father.
I am so sorry we lost those last few minutes.
Winning isn't everything. Nice tribute to your dad, Steve.
Brilliantly written! Poor Shirley, my heart goes out to her. Steve, you're the best storyteller I know.
Thank you Fay.
You were very kind to me today in your e-mail and I want you to know I appreciated it.
You can tell that this one hit a personal chord. Lesson learned, I hope.
I liked this, especially the dialogue. Thanks for posting it.
I'm wondering what Saul had for dessert.
What a touching story Steve. Just goes to show that you should always eat dessert. Please continue the saga of Shirley. Sad and funny alike. Rated.
Another great one, even if true and sad.
Your dad was so well loved. He was a winner for sure. This story was told O.Henry style, tender and sweet.
Wonderful Steve. Stikes a chord.
We never do know, and thus we create regrets, day by day. Some won't come to roost for many years. The hardest are those that are immediate -- when turning back the clock almost seems possible. Poor Shirley.
It is doubly heartbreaking to learn from the comments that this really happened to you. It almost seems like Saul (Sol) knew his end was near.

I think do too.
The last time I looked in his eyes, I think he knew.
poor shirley. well done, steve, but so sad.
Your writing is so tight and sublime- dialogue so real that I can actually hear Shirley as I read. Sad, cautionary story reminding us not to take life for granted - especially when it comes to those we love. A beautiful remembrance of your father.
I love the kitchen sink drama, and I mean that sincerely. Have you ever read or seen the play Our Town? Not the movie version with William Holden, that they sweetened up, but the real play. It is just heartbreaking, kind of like this. Poor Shirley. Poor Saul. Poor everybody.
:( Very good, sad, but good!!!

Beautifully done, Steve.