Living in a Home for 11 Years In 1969 the Pfennigparade (an equivalent to the American March of Dimes Foundation) finished building a home in Munich for polio survivors . Children from all over Germany who were disabled by polio were looked after and cared for in this home. As we were not really ill any longer the hospital was not a suitable place for us in the long run. My parents gave up their apartment in Puchheim, moved into the Pfennigparade home and we learned to live together as a family. I got my own room which for me was beyond all imagination, I had not even dared to dream of that. The iron lung was my bed, but otherwise the room was not different from any normal child’s room. I enjoyed my own space with all my heart, at least during the day. The nights, however, were disastrous. I had never slept alone in a room and therefore was easily frightened. With an improvised battery-operated bell my father connected my iron lung to their bedroom so that I could let them know when I needed anything. I rang the bell over and over again. I needed to be certain that my parents really heard me, that they were there, that I was not alone. No more was there an undisturbed night for the family. As the sleepless nights never seemed to end, it was decided one day that I should sleep in the respiratory ward of the Pfennigparade home. This proved to be an extremely good solution for everyone. I never needed to ring the bell because just like in hospital I was certain that someone was there and my parents enjoyed their well-deserved night's rest. While the school years in the hospital were regarded as occupational therapy now the time had come for real serious teaching . This didn’t particularly interest me, but I accepted it as part of my new life. What I found really inspiring in the Home, were the many new people I met. I did not only find friends among the disabled quickly but also among the many people doing their ‘civil service’ (instead of the military service) - a thankless and poorly paid job. The young men were often not
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