Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

In Detention

Last night I had a dream. 
Fräulein Dr. M., my teacher at the Barkhof, a Gymnasium (= academic highschool) in Bremen, visited me. 
Fräulein Dr. M.'s teaching subjects were German and English, and she always has been one of my role models. She was a Lady. Elegant. Kind, but stern. Sophisticated. (She did her Ph.D. in a time when most women weren't even allowed to do their A levels. And paid a price: she wasn't married. Everybody had to call her "Fräulein", a grown-up woman, fortyish. With the arrogance of youth we thought she was "past it" - though we noticed that men adored her. But she kept her private life ladylike to herself. Married later.) 
So, what was she doing at my bedside, sitting  there upright in her absolutely charming cherry red lady's suit? (That dark red suit was one reason why I admired her: it was très chic, it was vivid, not those drab black and grey clothes the other teachers wore. Yes - I was superficial with 16 -- come to think of it: still am). 
"Britta", she said, "your blog..." (in dreams you seldom wonder). 
"Yes?", I said warily.  
"It's off the point", she said. "Look at your heading: If not now, then when? Then look at your last post." 
"I know", I said sulkily, "I wanted to say that when the sun shines but you are too lazy because it is cold outside...
"Then say what you mean, for heavens sake! Why did you choose that title, by the way?
"Well, I saw so many women giving up because they get older. I wanted to encourage them to accept their age but in spite of it spring into action, make the most of it." 
Fräulein Dr. M. looked deeply amused. "You? You speak of accepting one's age - and never tell anybody how old you are? May I remind you of the incident at ..." 
"No", I interrupted hastily, "don't. Admitted: I am not happy with that title.
"Ah", said Fräulein Dr. M. "Why?"
"It sounds so - desperate. Like those awful new-age sayings - written in lipstick on a mirror - "Today is the last day of your life" - I always feel as if a gun is pointed at my back. I am a quite happy person, I don't want to be reminded every day of my mortality." 
"Ah", said Fräulein Dr. M. again, rising. "My dear: you are in detention. I give you two hours to think about what you want. Meaning: Keep the header - or toss it away. But stick to the point".  


  1. You have very lucid dreams! I rather liked your, If Not Now Then When, title.
    I need to be reminded not to put things off, which I do constantly.
    I equally like your, Joy of Living, title however! x

    1. Dear Penny,
      I (sometimes)write a dream-diary - very interesting, because one can see what comes from actual happenings, which is subconcious, and which is I-don't-know-what.
      Hope "Joy" gives motivation :-)

  2. Hello Britta:
    Oh dear, it is rather alarming when the world of the blog is no longer limited to the waking hours but also enters the world of dreams!

    1. Dear Jane and Lance,
      I have an American blogger friend who says the real world and the cosmos of blogland are not that different - so things can mix (especially when something like that title is nagging for days :-).

  3. She's still trying to teach you, then. Usually, it is my dreams which enter my blog, not the other way round, and this post is - actually - just that! What is the difference between reptiles and mammals? Reptiles do not dream. They have no sub-concious (so I am told).

    1. Dear Tom,
      yes - happily she is one of the good cops :-)
      I didn't know that information about reptiles (must have to do with their sort of brain?) - I am just viewing "The Private Life of Plants" of my big Attenborough-DVD-box: they definitely have no dreams/subconciuos (or?? As we now have animal-psychologists -- this is maybe a new vocation? :-)
      Must try to weed the High Self.

  4. Wonderful dream - and dreamer! I think that we do get messages in our dreams. Minerva ~

  5. Dear Minerva,
    messages in our dreams - I am very attentive to them, and think that often we learn something we noticed but didn't judge right or were to busy to put attention to. .

  6. Oh dear Britta, you really are conflicted about your title to have a former teacher invade your dreams to chastise you about title and content. Like Fraulein it or toss it.

    1. Dear Janet,
      I did toss it, as you see above :-) But sometimes it is really weird who just moseys in into ones dreams (a friend of mine and I had talked about her some weeks ago).

  7. Britta, my scalp and arms are all tingly after having read this amazing recounting. I love Fräulein Dr. M. and her discreet but pointed manner, a true lady. I feel a swirl of implacable emotion at everything she represents. My husband says that the Jungian interpretation of dreams has it that everyone in the dream is a manifestation of some part of you.

    This post has such an immediacy to it! (Obviously on more than one level.) But I feel as if I have been visited by her, too. For what it's worth, I have never seen you as superficial, and I don't imagine you were at sixteen, either. Just because a woman appreciates the peculiar hum of cherries in a field of charcoal does not make her superficial. It makes her alive to the top, yes, but not necessarily inured to what lies beneath.

    Go, dear Britta! If not now, when?


  8. Dear Suze,
    "the peculiar hum of cherries in a field of charcoal" - that is such a vibrant image, Suze- I love it, and will keep it as a valid description of her in my heart! We really loved her - because she was a person who "saw" us, and impressed by her example (and she was one reason for me to study German-, English- and American language and literature - because she had what a good teacher constitutes: blazing with passion & knowledge for her subjects).
    As to superficiality: thank you - I will think about that.

  9. My goodness, Britta, I wish you would make up your mind !!This is all frightfully confusing!
    You were witty and pretty.You were sending letters from Hamburg and Berlin, from your garden in high heels and from your kitchen-ladder doing your home basics.You shared your happiness of the day and your search for perfect timing.
    WHEN - IF NOT NOW is the right time to decide on ONE proper header for your blog - one that will cover all your various refreshing ideas and interests. It would be so much easier to follow you, and follow you is all we want. So have mercy on us and stick to one title! I hope not to have annoyed you (or your other followers), but then you can always delete this straight away.
    Looking forward to your next BBB (Britta's Berlin Blog),
    yours Truely.

  10. Ha, my dear Anonymous (might it be that YOU ARE FRÄULEIN DR. M.??) - you are right in most points. Only: the Hamburg blog was never on air in blogspot - only on my private website :-) .And you will have noticed, I hope, that I always wrote with full intent three thematically very different blogs: "Gardening in High Heels" was always a blog with only one theme: the garden (and that does not interest everybody); and "Britta's Happiness of the Day" was always only for poems - but I take blame for changing from "You are witty and pretty" to "Britta's Letters from Berlin" ("If not Now then When" and "Joy of Living" you find always under the same berlinletters- blog address).
    When I have decided on the title: will you come out into the light and follow me, because you seem to like my blog?

    1. Might do.
      But only if you keep on dreaming of me.

    2. I love mysteries :-)
      "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.”

  11. So you love mysteries?
    Well, that makes it very easy for me to please you -
    by remaining just that: a mystery!
    Nevertheless, I hope you will still let me follow your blog!?? :-)

  12. I like if not now, when. Came to you via the Hattatts and can see why they follow you.

  13. Dear Elizabeth,
    thank you! You're welcome - I find it so fascinating how the bloggers interact.