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Boggin’s Cleaning Lady

August 11th, 2015

Boggin had a cleaning woman, who came in twice a week.  The cleaning woman, let’s call her Kathrin (since that was her name), was of German origin; she spoke with a thick German accent.  Not unusual in upstate Illinois, an area that had been settled, despite the French name of Des Plaines, by German farmers, toward the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Boggin was relatively liberal, for her age and time.  Both politically and religiously.  An Eisenhower Republican, I guess she’d have been. She didn’t let her prejudices show, though I’m sure she had some.  But as a Congregationalist who had married a Jew (Oppenheimer changed to Opper some time around the First World War), she really couldn’t afford prejudices.

She loved to talk politics with Kathrin, who was almost a Nazi throwback; Kathrin could rant, and Boggin would goad.  One day, they got into religion; the subject of Jews came up.  You can imagine Kathrin’s stand.  Finally, Boggin said, “Well you know, Jesus was a Jew.”

“Ach ja,” replied Kathrin triumphantly, “until he turned Cat’lic!”

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