Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)


Margaret Bozyan, in her interesting account about her meeting with her future in-laws, reminded me of how my husband George was introduced to my family and I to his relatives.

When George and I decided to get married we were old fashioned enough to ask permission. George wrote to his family in New York-- since we were in Berlin--asking them for their blessing. I, too, wrote them a letter, introducing myself. Since I had learned English in school, but did not speak it very well I had some difficulty expressing myself. I started by writing "I am a black girl," meaning my hair and eyes are dark. I can imagine my future parents-in-law' s consternation when reading this statement. Though George had read my letter he did not make any changes in the wording. In some future letter he must have explained the description I gave of myself. We waited impatiently for an answer. About three weeks later a letter arrived welcoming me into their family. That same evening George visited my family and spoke to my parents while I waited in another room. What they spoke about I never found out, but my father brought out a bottle of champagne that my parents had put aside after I was born just forthis purpose. We all drank to a happy future. The next day was my mother's birthday and, as usual, the whole family gathered to celebrate. George was introduced to my uncles, aunts, and cousins; he “passed” with flying colors.

Looking  back, we were really like two innocent children. We were both medical students, and I had never been away from home, except one term in Heidelberg. Now I would have to leave my home and my family to start a fresh life in a foreign country. We had no financial support, the world was at a brink of catastrophe (1933). How catastrophic the future turned out to be, no one could have foreseen. But we both would have a profession, we had each other and we were full of hope. Two months later we got married.


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