Autobiographical Essays

Beate Caspari-Rosen, MD (1910 - 1995)

About Dreams

Since my childhood I have been a restless sleeper, waking several times during the night and having vivid dreams. I can still remember a nightmare from my childhood, when I was seven-- years old and had a high fever. I dreamt that I had been put into a long oil hose and was suffocating. Perhaps it was the book my mother read to me the day before that insinuated itself into my dream: Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves. I never again read the book or even touched it.

Most of my dreams are pleasant, and I may have five or six different dreams a night. I may remember some of them as I wake up during the night but after falling asleep again they have melted away by morning and only wisps of them may follow me into the day. I do not wish to interpret them. In my childhood one could buy a “Dreambook” that interpreted  dreams long before Freud appeared on the scene with his sexual and erotic interpretations; I wonder whether the old dream book interpretations and Freud's analytical interpretations coincide. Anyway, I will never recount my dreams, for fear that my friends may examine my subconscious life.

The other night, however, I was awakened by hearing loud and urgent calls;  "Mommy” the voice said. Waking up I answered "yes Susan," and then realized that I was here in bed and that the cry of my child for help happened a long time ago. When my daughter called me the next day I said reproachfully "Susan, you woke me up last night" and then told her my dream. She said: "That's funny, several nights ago you woke me up calling ‘Susan’ ".

 In my dreams I am always young. Although my husband has been dead for twelve years [George Rosen died July 27, 1977, thus this essay was written in 1989], he is at home in my nightly wanderings and I accept him as if death had never occurred. My daily life goes on peacefully and only after I wake up do I realize my eternal loss.        

I was once asked whether I dream in German, my mother tongue, or in English, my second language. I “watched” my dreams the night after this question. I discovered that I dream in English and in color.


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