The art of the story
„The Wild Days
The story of
He doesn’t have a season ticket. He doesn’t have the money. Nevertheless, Peter attends every St. Pauli home game. He accompanies three wheelchair users. A few days before the game, the 58-year-old collects the tickets. On game day, he finally helps the disabled through the chaos around the stadium. This is not only exhausting but above all requires a high level of commitment. Peter has been doing it for five years.
For someone who lived on the streets for 20 years and who was heavily addicted to alcohol, this is nothing to be taken for granted. What motivates him? One of the wheelchair users is Peter’s best friend. The two have known each other for 40 years. “We had the same probation officer, lived in the same men’s hostel, and spent a lot of time at the Salvation Army in St. Pauli,” Peter recalls.
As early as his infancy, his overtaxed mother had placed him in a home, and at the age of 18, he wound up on the streets for the first time. Instead of looking for an education, he started stealing. He was caught and eventually went on “vacation in Fuhlsbüttel,” as Peter puts it.
Back on the streets, he spent a lot of time with a new buddy from the Salvation Army. At first, he worked as a showman, but later he just messed around and drank a lot, says the Hamburg native. Often in the company of his friend. Who, however, suddenly disappeared after the separation from his wife. That was around the mid-1980s. There was no Facebook. No StayFriends. As a result, the two lost track of each other.
Peter didn’t even realize that his buddy first ended up in a wheelchair because of a bone disease and later even in a home because of his alcohol addiction. They would certainly never have seen each other again if his friend hadn’t been offered a place in a residential home in Hamburg five years ago. “He then started looking for me,” Peter says. “That’s where he thought I was: Goldener Handschuh, Silbersack, and all the other bars we used to hang out in.”
But unlike his buddy, Peter has gotten his act together: He is no longer a regular in any pub. He still drinks, but far less often. And he has his own apartment. He has had his own apartment since 1999, and regular magazine sales give him the stability he needs. He joined Hinz&Kunzt 20 years ago. After all, the coffee counter in the Hinz&Kunzt sales department was also where his friend tracked him down. “He asked for me there. Of course, they knew me, and as a result, we found our way back together,” Peter recalls.
The initial surprise has grown into a real friendship again. On weekends, they go to the stadium – together with two other residents from the home for the disabled. Or Peter accompanies his friend to the water. There they go fishing. “We’re a bit older now,” says Peter with a grin: “I guess the wild days are over.”
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Text: Jonas Füllner
Foto: Mauricio Bustamante