The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

The Wonderful World of Cacti

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Wednesday’s Photos

Photos by Klaus-Dieter Barge

In my youth I once watched the Walt Disney documentary ‘The Living Desert’ (Die Wüste Lebt). It showed how the arid landscape after a rare rainfall literally exploded into a colourful display of the blooming desert flowers including the incredibly beautiful shapes of the cacti. As it often happens, the images gradually faded from my memory and all that remained was the idea  that cacti are nondescript plants extremely prickly and not exactly pretty to look at. Therefore, I am very grateful to my friend Dieter Barge who told me about his passion for raising and cultivating a large variety of cacti in his greenhouse. He kindly provided the photos of these marvelous desert plants complete with their botanical names. I turned the images with the help of a video editor into the short two-minute video below. Enjoy.

Chapter 39 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II

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The Bridges

City of Calgary – Photo Credit: City of Calgary

Dear blogging friends, you may have heard that I am having problems with the Internet connection. I depend on the goodness of my neighbours whose Internet is still working. In the meantime I will have only time to publish a post at odd times and perhaps give a quick like for your posts. Please do give comments as before. As soon as things turn back to normal I will try to respond to all of them. Thank you!

Three Options for Biene

February 25th, Calgary

My dear Biene,

Actually I was less disquieted by your second last letter than I had expected to be. Perhaps the reason for that is that the time for your arrival is approaching and that many problems will go away on their own. For unity with his nature a man can only achieve in marriage, and in it rests the possibility of our happiness. This thought allowed me to go steadfastly through the last couple of months, although I always felt the temptations, about which you have written me. You once spoke of the great assurance of the protective effect of my ring. I sometimes wonder, if in the presence of your parents, relatives, and friends you are still wearing it.

Even though I am no longer fearful about the dangerous uncertainty, my main concern in all letters was consistently ringing the alarm, namely that you want to come to me and leave your parents about your true intentions in the dark. I am sensing that this weakness will be the beginning of never ending problems. Therefore, I ask you to let me clarify this point for you. Let me write to your parents that

  1. you will fly to me in the spring and look at land and people,
  2. decide to marry me and stay
  3. or fly home and don’t marry me.

Please write me a clear yes or no. Each way shall be OK with me. Take your time.  For it is an important decision. Dear Biene, what I need here is an emotionally stable wife, who rather spurs me on to stay than to beg me, driven by homesickness, to return to Germany. I would also like you to have the courage to fight for the love, which you esteem so highly, and defend it.

At Christmas you condemned my letter to your parents so quickly and asked me to apologize. I heard of women, who followed their husbands out of love, although they knew that they had done something wrong. And at Christmas I had only wanted your best! O Biene, could you only this time be resolute and tell me to write this letter to your parents. I would be a lot happier then. Otherwise your mother’s solution would be the best way out. All parties except you perhaps would be content. Of course, you will still have to convince the ambassador that you wish to thoroughly study the country first, before you decide to take Canada as your new home country and marry me. That decision would be all right for me considering that I have to jump over the next hurdle – English was the first – as student teacher at the local high schools. For to marry, then seeing my wife fly away again, spending huge amounts of money, never mind who pays for it, I see all this in its total senselessness in the highest degree as cause for inner strain, which I must avoid at all cost now and in the near future.

My dear Biene, you see therefore either way is fine with me. You can decide for one or the other without fear, because no answer will hurt my feelings. But in secret I still hope you would go for the first one, because I wish that you become my wife.

Always in love with you!

Your Peter

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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This post is one day early.  We are having internet problems. I need to post whenever it is available. Thank you for your understanding.

Wednesday’s Photos

Small Sample of the Flowers in our Yard

Two weeks ago we looked at the Alberta rose as it dominated with its soft colours and its very own peculiar pleasant smell the landscape across the three western provinces of Canada. Today it is time to view some of the many flowers of our own yards in the Arrow Lake region. Here are five flowers that attracted my attention today. The bottom flower is actually a weed and I would have pulled it, if its tiny petals had not ‘cried out’ not to do it. The flower head across does not measure more than 3 mm and its beauty can only be appreciated when taken as a macro photo. If anyone knows the name of this lovely flower, let me know.

DSC03060Nastertian

Heaven’s Portal for the Bees

DSC03053BushFlower

Flower of an unknown Ornamental Shrub

DSC03050RoseAfterRain

Rose Buds after the Rain

DSC03045Pansy

Pansy’s Intricately Lined Face

DSC03069Weed

Tiny Weed and yet so Pretty

Chapter 39 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part I

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bk-paus12372_city-of-calgary

Calgary with the Rocky Mountains in the Background – Photo Credit: aagroup.ca

Biene Hitting Rock Bottom

“I think this is what we all want to hear: that we are not alone in hitting the bottom, and that it is possible to come out of that place courageous, beautiful, and strong.” – Anna White

Biene in Distress

February 6th,1966, Velbert

My beloved Peter,

I have not been feeling well for quite some time. I must come quickly to you. Every day I am expecting news from the embassy. I received my first salary today and now have saved up over a thousand marks.

family157

Biene wrote this letter at the back of this early Picasso card.

At the moment I feel so depressed that I am not as strong as you would like me to be. But this time will also pass. I don’t want to see anybody and yet I have to put up a nice front every day, which is getting on my nerves. I feel totally run down. But Peter, I must quickly come to you. Do not be distressed; otherwise I become really sick.  Hopefully my father didn’t write you anything bad. I can’t take it any more! Dear Peter, if you don’t lose your trust in me, I will find it also again in me.

After all I belong to you! Your Biene

February 13th, 1966, Velbert

My dear Peter,

In what kind of painful unrest must you have been through my silence! Peter, please forgive me. Now I feel better, and it seems to me as if I had gone through a dangerous illness. Peter, my nerves and my entire being were completely out of balance to the point that I had almost lost myself in something at the end, which would have ruined our entire life. But now I have overcome this weakness and I feel my faith and strength return again. How I yearn for that day, when the long wait will be over! O Peter, I am ashamed of myself that I almost did not succeed in fending off the insidious indifference, which suddenly appeared as an enticing way out. But now, Peter, you need not be worried about me any more. I only hope that you are fine and that no treacherous temptations seek to lure you, when you suffer too much from loneliness.

When I am with you, Peter, it would be perhaps best to go and see a doctor to get some professional advice. For I feel we should not have a baby for the first little while. Do you think, he might be able to help us?

My dear Peter, when you are lonesome, always think that one day it will be like in Michelbach again, where together we were happy and sad. And for our wedding, Peter, we two drink a bottle of Moselle wine just like we did on that evening in the thunder and lightning storm.

All my desires and dreams still live in me and still have the same power.

Yours in love, Biene

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

A Canoe Ride and a Nice Find

The other day my wife and I went for a canoe ride on our beautiful Arrow Lake. It was a big surprise even for us that there was no other boat on the lake on that Saturday morning. From Detta Beach we decided to head north for a change. It was a perfect day: no wind, only a few clouds in the sky, and the temperature just right. Feeling happy and relaxed, we let the electric motor do the work for us. Of course, we had taken our cameras with us to capture some of the magnificent scenery. After about 4 km we found a good spot to pull our canoe ashore. A beautiful piece of driftwood attracted my attention. The thought immediately occurred to me to load it onto the canoe and let Biene use it to decorate our garden. Here are the pictures of our trip. Enjoy.

IMG_3670LakeshoreIMG_3663DriftwoodIMG_3668BieneIMG_3675Detta

 

 

Chapter 38 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV

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Campus sign by the arch with the new logo. 2016

University of Calgary –  Image courtesy University of Calgary

Peter’s Pleading Letter and Biene’s Reassurance

(Conclusion of Peter’s Letter)

Dear Biene, I also want you to have your freedom to decide. During the first six weeks here a double burden will rest on your shoulders. I have no choice any more, since I have made mine already in December. So your yes will also be my yes and your no will be my no. Look at everything carefully when you come including the things that might shock you and then decide whether you can bear the absence of your relatives and friends for a long time. If you think you can, then throw our love onto the scales for the final decision.

The poem expresses the worry that dream and reality are no longer as close together as they once were in Michelbach and that the role in a family as wife and mother would no longer mean as much as then. How can I possibly explain that later after a few years, when we will be doing better, you would want to study from morning till evening  and to withdraw  as wife and mother from the family just to obtain a diploma? Biene, please understand me correctly. At the university there are many inspiring individual courses, which offer opportunities for intellectual enrichment. I would be the last one to oppose such desires. But a full university program as you desire indicates that you have begun to look at life, love, and marriage with different eyes. The goal that I once vaguely and exuberantly set in our book of dreams is still worth striving for and has already taken on clear and concrete forms. Yes, we evolve and we must work on us, but we should never ever attempt to change our character. Actually I don’t worry too much about you. For I know how much you are exposed to your mother’s influence. She planted contradictory ideas into your heart. Here her endeavors for your security are going too far. Perhaps in her fear about you she believes that one day I could abandon you or we could separate and then you wouldn’t have a profession to fall back on. Please reexamine earnestly if such wishes in you are genuine or if they merely represent a favor towards your anxious mother. For me this is a question of utmost importance and I hope it is for you as well.

Again I seem to be so stiff-necked, and it hurts to be like that. Just follow that one path that once had been the right one for both of us. In fact I am not commanding you to do anything Rather I am imploring you not to deviate from our life’s ideals. Even if we cannot reach them completely, the work and the endeavour towards them will provide sense and purpose of life. In an active and meaningful life true happiness will not be very far.

Give my kindest regards to your parents and your brother Walter

For now be lovingly embraced by your Peter

January 31st, Velbert

My dear Peter,

just a few lines! How much I feel for and understand your worries! Have no fear. All my dreams about our future are still the same. And I will try everything to realize them with you, believe me. As to the money my parents (my mother actually) are prepared to pay the return fare. But I will do it only as you suggested, because I know my father has enough money. If only I were already with you, then everything would be easier. I am waiting for more information from Cologne. At the moment I am completely exhausted; but I will soon answer all your questions. I am so happy that you passed your exams. Peter, I shall always be, God willing, a good wife to you.

I love you.

Your Biene

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