When did you realize you were poor? How did you notice it?

Realizing must have started very early, because I was always aware that we had to save.

My parents had to flee both from the countries in which they were born as Germans in World War II.But when they arrived in Germany, they were the strangers, the refugees. In the camp they got to know each other, my father was allowed to teach as a teacher, which he had also studied in Yugoslavia. The degree was later not recognized so that he was an aid worker as long as I can think. He was still suffering from stomach cancer at a very young age, he was scared for the rest of his life and drowned in alcohol until he took his own life just before my 9th birthday.

I was the third and last child.When my mother came out of the hospital with me there was nothing to eat in the house and no milk to prepare a vial for mcih. My first dress was my older sister for my father’s funeral. My mother didn’t want to take me with her and then when she was told this is not going to wear a colorful summer dress. My clothes came from neighborhood clothing donations and I was often laughed at by the other children when they recognized their clothes, only slightly adapted to me.

Our typical meal at the weekend was a chicken for five people.Once a friend of my sister was visiting. She didn’t want a chicken, that was poor people eating. My mother dismembered the chicken. Breaded and briet the parts individually. For the friend, she took a piece of chicken breast, cut it into shape and breaded it. It was served to the girl as a schnitzel.

Every school trip, every new issue was a small disaster.When I came to school, my godfather offered to give me a mark of pocket money every week. I didn’t buy anything, saved it for several weeks in a small purse and it was then stolen from me. Because I wasn’t paying attention, I didn’t get any money the next month. It was stopped when we visited a friend of mine who had moved to another neighborhood. When her mother heard about my pocket money, the friend got her first, but duetly higher. We went to a kiosk and bought sweets. The first time I had ever spent my money but then I said I was reckless, should have saved it, put it on the savings book. That’s why I didn’t get anything. Even when I came to boarding school and had to staple myself or buy a pen, I only got 10 marks from my mother during the visits. The round trip ticket cost 9.80 DM. Books were bought on the weekends or I had to beg and show full booklets to get extra money.

And yet there were also many beautiful moments.Running around in the area. Having a home where my friends and those of my siblings were always welcome (at least until my stepfather showed up) and were never sent away when there was food.

I also learned to save, even when I felt I could afford everything after my studies.And my daughters have also learned to live with little.

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