Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

My First Experiment

For my fourth birthday, I received a dollhouse. It was a beautiful dollhouse, consisting of a dining-room, a bedroom, and a kitchen. It was appointed with all the necessary furniture: a dining table and chairs, beds with bedspreads, diverse chests, and even pictures and a wall mirror, but what I liked  best was a little tank attached to the outside wall of the kitchen. When I filled it with water I could open the sink faucet in the kitchen and and wash the doll-house dishes. I would put the dolls to sleep in the evening, dress them in the morning, and serve them meals in their dining-room.

My birthday—March 14-- is shortly before Easter, and on Easter morning I found a marzipan rabbit on my breakfast plate. I decided not to eat it but to place it in the doll house. To my surprise I found small Easter eggs each morning in the doll's bedroom. After a few days I asked myself whether this bunny really laid the eggs? I decided to put the precious marzipan rabbit into a nearby flower pot. The next morning, to my I horror, I found that somebody had watered the plant and my poor rabbit was covered with earth and water and had partly melted. No more eggs were found in the dollhouse. I was so disappointed that I never forgot the episode. After all it had taken place during the First World War, in Germany, when all candy was very rare indeed.

I now believe that this primitive experiment eventually taught me to question the truthfulness of supposedly factual  statements unless concrete proof was given, whether the assertion was made at home or in school. This way of thinking or skepticism, eventually led me to science, specifically to medicine and ophthalmology as my specialization. Ophthalmology, is a field that leaves little room for uncertainty and questionable diagnoses, and where nearly everything can be seen clearly.


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