Mrs. Bogaty – lyrics

MRS. BOGATY (Words and Music by Hali Hammer)


Mrs. Bogaty lived in the left front apartment

On Davidson Avenue, Bronx 53

My mother would visit, I’d sit in the armchair

As they’d talk in Yiddish, I’d swing both my knees


Mrs. Bogaty lived in Apartment 1A

The drapes always drawn and the blinds ever closed

The light filtered in, I think back on that scene

It kept out the memories, or I now suppose


We’d go to the Laundromat around the corner

I helped – it was something that I liked to do

And once in a while her sleeve would rise higher

And there were some numbers etched in a tattoo


Mr. Bogaty’s vision was never so good

It had something to do with the camp of his past

Mrs. Bogaty lucked out & got a work detail

And didn’t meet up with a shower of gas


Mrs. Bogaty came here from some place in Poland

She spoke seven languages quite fluently

German, Russian, Hungarian and a few others

But English fell short in her word mastery


So she made a living by filling out papers

In whatever language would happen her way

And shipped off the parcels – I saved stamps she gave me

And put them in a book that my son has today


When I was in college I came back to visit

Her apartment – a time capsule of long ago

Mr. Bogaty had passed on some years before

And now Mrs. Bogaty lived there alone


As I spoke in English she answered in Yiddish

When we came to a word that we couldn’t explain

She had a dictionary in Polish & English

We’d figure it out & start talking again


And nowadays I don’t think of her that often

But once in a while I find she comes to mind

Neither language nor age ever defined our friendship

Based on the foundation of just being kind (2x)



Leave a Reply