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She had parked far away and was walking along a paved walkway through somebody’s yard as a short cut to get to her car. She had traversed this path many times before and never had a problem. But today, the woman who lived in this house was waiting for her in ambush. As my mother began crossing, the woman threw a bucket of water at her screaming, “YOU’RE TRESPASSING. YOU’RE TRESPASSING!” My mother was in such a state of cold, wet shock, she couldn't say or do anything. After all, she WAS trespassing. So, what could she say or do? The woman was blocking her way. So, there was nothing my mother could do but to turn around and go back the way she came walking to her car the long way through the streets.
As she walked along the street soaking wet, my mother came to a man who was sweeping his driveway. She felt embarrassed to be walking through the streets of our town dripping wet and that she needed to justify herself to this man She explained what had happened . He was very sympathetic and said, “Lady, that is terrible. I am so sorry that something like that happened to you. But you know what you can do? Next time you need a place to park, you can park in my driveway. It is perfectly okay. Just remember anytime you need a place to park, you can park here. But you know what the real problem is? The real problem is all these Jews moving into our community.”
It just so happened that my mother is one of “those Jews.” Her response explains why she is my hero. As she turned to go, walking away in her dripping, wet dress, she replied to him, “Well, it just wasn't a very Christian thing to do.”
The postscript to this story is that after my mother arrived home, she was still very upset. The rest of the family was not yet home, and my mother needed to talk to somebody. She went over to our next door neighbors who were good friends and told them what happened. It just so happened that the husband in that family was an attorney. He offered to write a letter to the woman who had thrown the bucket of water. He didn't write to the man who had uttered the ethnic slur. although my mother had revealed that part of the story as well. These neighbors were not Jewish, and my mother was usually self conscious talking to non-Jewish people about topics that related to Judaism. However, in this case, she was so upset that the whole story spilled out. I realized later it was quite appropriate for her to divulge the whole story because not only was this man an attorney, but he also, happened to be an attorney for the ACLU! (The American Civil Liberties Union)
However, he only wrote to the woman who had tossed the bucket of water. He politely, suggested that instead of throwing water, she could post a no trespassing sign. Of course, my mother never trespassed through that lady’s yard again. Nor did she park in the driveway of the man who had told her she could park. After all, if he found out her religion he might also throw a bucket of water- or worse! After her beauty appointment, my mother walked the long way through the streets to reach her car. She did notice though that the woman had posted a no trespassing sign.
My best legal advice to you would be to post a no trespassing sign before you resort to dousing an innocent trespasser with a bucket of water! It also would not hurt to have an ACLU attorney as a neighbor who would be willing to write to the bigot and explain he should avoid ethnic slurs because he never knows to whom he might be talking.