For those of you who have seen Young Frankenstein, the name Frau Blucher will bring to mind Cloris Leachman at her oddest and eeriest. She plays the housekeeper and former girlfriend of Doctor Victor Frankenstein. Her hair is done up in a strict bun, and her clothes are old-fashioned, even though the movie takes place during the twentieth century. Every time her name is said, the horses neigh, and she has an unsettling presence. Keep this in mind when I tell you that I met the real-world version of Frau Blucher while working at the Acrapolis one day.
It was a sunny day in the summer of 2012 when Frau Blucher came to visit. Patrick, my coworker, and I were upstairs in one of the apartments in the mansion. I was outside on the roof sanding the exterior of the windowpanes, when I heard what I thought might have been a knock. I turned off the sander and stood for a moment, waiting to hear something. I decided I had just heard Patrick moving in the apartment and went back to sanding. Suddenly, Frau Blucher was knocking on the window in front of me. It scared me half to death.
Frau Blucher was dressed in a bright blue shirt and denim capris. She had on a turquoise necklace and her eyes were a striking, startling blue. She carried in each arm a miniature dachshund, to which she occasionally addressed herself. Her hair was the color of gray which I had always presumed Frau Blucher’s was. This woman introduced herself and began to explain how she had ended up inside, on the second floor of a strange house: “I knocked on the door and no one answered, but it was unlocked so I let myself in to see if anyone was around.”
Over the course of the next ten minutes or so, she explained to me her connection to the house, or lack thereof. “I saw this house first a few years ago when I was taking my dogs for a walk, and I went back to look for it, but I could never find it until today. When I saw it, I wanted to come talk to the owners. You really need a caretaker here.” In spite of her apparent attraction to the house’s exterior, it seemed clear that she saw it as a rundown place and wanted to let us know that it obviously was in need of more care. She also explained that she wasn’t from around here. In fact, she was just visiting from Wyoming. When she found out that our boss wasn’t there, she asked for his contact information and Patrick took her over to talk to him. As I recall, by far the most memorable part of the experience was that someone would feel comfortable walking into a stranger’s house, and bring her dogs with her. Her appearance and the eeriness of the encounter were so like what I imagine meeting Frau Blucher would be.
After talking to our boss for half an hour or so, Frau Blucher left. I haven’t seen her since, so maybe she lost the mansion again, or found the duties of a caretaker at the Acrapolis too daunting to face. The mansion attracts an interesting sort of person. People come to the house looking for work or a place to live, and stay to chat. Of all the people I’ve met there, though, Frau Blucher was the most peculiar. Cloris Leachman will forever seem like a personal acquaintance to me.