I am on an island. I have never been on an island before. It is called Norderney, I asked Miss Manfred and she showed me how to spell it. Miss Manfred is in charge of me and I must do as she says. But she smiled a bit and I wasn’t scared. I’ve never been sent away before. Everybody says it’s good for me but I miss Mum. Mum packed a suitcase for me, with my knickers and vests and socks and my skirt and blouses and my dress and shoes and plimsolls and even my nighties. She wouldn’t pack any toys, not even my Pummelchen*, she said, you will only lose them and anyway, toys from home are not allowed.
Sanatorium is a bit like school except I have to stay here all the time and sleep in a room which is called a dormitory and there are six of us, all girls, and we all have to lie on our beds in the afternoon and rest. Miss Manfred says that the doctor says we are all tired after lunch, but I am not tired and I asked Miss Manfred if I could read a book if I had one.
We are allowed to write a letter home but we have to show it to the lady who sits with us in the big room, where we eat and write letters and draw pictures and play games. The lady asks us many questions about how we are and what we like to do and if we like the Sanatorium and the nurses. I didn’t know that there are nurses, but the lady says that this is not just a children's home but also a Sanatorium and that there must be nurses. And doctors. The doctor said I must have a thorough examination, and he needs to check me. There was a nurse but she didn’t look like a nurse. she didn't have a white apron on; I was scared, they made me take off my vest and they didn’t give me a sweetie. I couldn’t manage all my buttons and the nurse helped me.
The doctor said I must go into a very special dormitory, for very special children. We get extra attention and the ward is called isolation. Miss Manfred is very nice to us, she is never cross, even when Susie cried all night because she missed her Mummy and we couldn’t sleep because she made such a racket. I cried a bit but very softly, so nobody heard me.
I wrote a letter to Mum. I think I was very clever to remember my Mum’s name from before she married my Dad. I didn’t think you could write a letter to two people so I wrote it just for Mum and I put her name on it, Miss Josten; I even put her other name on it, Miss Katherine Josten. I asked her to send me my winter coat and my Heidi book. I showed the letter to the lady and she put a stamp on the envelope. She smiled at me but she didn’t say anything.
I don’t know what all the fuss is about, my Mum sent the coat and the Heidi book and a letter saying that I was very naughty and the lady called me in and she smiled again and she said I must put my Mum’s proper name on the next letter.
But the name she said I must put on the envelope is my Dad’s name I said, not my Mum’s. The Lady smiled a bit more and she said, all the same, could I please do as Mum asked and then she said that she enjoys having me and I am not to worry and she will tell my Mum that she likes me and that I am a good girl.
*Pummelchen = rag doll