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Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)


Wedding Trip

Three weeks after our rather unconventional wedding ceremony we decided to take a belated wedding trip for a long weekend. The spring semester of  medical school had ended and the fall semester did not start until October. We packed a back-pack, which my husband carried and with the equivalent of ten dollars (45 marks), we left. We took a small local steam-engine powered train with bells which rang at every crossing that took us to Stechlin, about one and a half hours north of Berlin. It was-- or is--a small village at a lake famous for its chateau and immortalized in the novel Der Stechlin (1897) by the North-German writer Theodor Fontane (1819-1898). After our arrival we looked for a place to stay and found a farmhouse with a sign in the window: “room to let.” The farmer's wife showed
us to a small house surrounded by a large garden and for fifty cents a night it was all ours. There was no running water but a pump in front of the house, where we could wash al fresco and an outhouse down the road. Before we left for our trip my mother had given me a batch of telegrams congratulating us on our marriage. My naive mother thought I would find time to answer them. I am sorry to say that they never were answered but they did come in handy. The next morning we were woken up by frantic peeping in front of our window: a young bird had fallen out of its nest and the parents were frantic We did our good deed and put it back in the nest. Several days later when we left it was still alive.

We did a lot of hiking in the surrounding forests. This part of Mark Brandenburg is as flat as a pancake and the land is very sandy. At one time it was called the sandbox of Prussia. In earlier days this sand was used to dry ink on written texts, much as a blotter might be used today. The forests were dense with pine trees, and blueberry bushes covered the ground. These region is noteworthy for its innumerable lakes.  Since no one was around, we would strip and plunge into the waters.

Techlin was mainly a fishing village with a few hotels for summer guests. Several miles away was a lovely chateau, Schloss Rheinberg, made famous by a novella (Rheinsberg: ein Bilderbuch für Verliebte [A Picture Book for Lovers]) by Kurt Tucholsky (1890-1935), a poet and satirical writer of short stories. The novella relates the story of a young couple visiting the chateau; this book was beloved by all young people in love. We therefore decided to hike to it. My husband was as usual smoking his pipe, the smoke smelled sweet to me and I asked him to let me take a few small puffs. That was the end of our hike. I felt rather sick, and when a bus came along we returned to our lodgings. Unfortunately we never did see Schloss Rheinsberg. We had four wonderful carefree days by ourselves; little did we know that it would take 23 years, until we were able to be alone by ourselves again.

p.s. Several weeks ago, I found the little love story and reread it with great pleasure. However, gremlins must have invaded my apartment and taken the book for I can no longer find it. I was certain where I placed on my bookshelf, but it is no longer there.

 


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