The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 1 of the P. and G. Klopp Story


The Monster

“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”  Charles Dickens

There lives an evil spirit in us all. It puts fetters on your feet and shackles on your thoughts. It impedes good deeds and wastes precious time, not minutes, hours, or days, but years, decades, even en entire life span. Many have learned to master it, but I am not one of them. For me, it is a monster of titanic strength and insidious cunning. As long as I can remember, I have been struggling with this maleficent force that has been leering at my weaknesses and taunting me from within. Yes, I do admit, I often succumbed to it, but also successfully put up resistance against its crafty attempts to lure me into the swamp of idleness when vigorous action was required. That monster is commonly known as procrastination. It has been working hard to thwart my plan to write a family history.
The project had been on the back burner for almost fifty years. Before we got married, Biene and I decided to prepare an outline of the history of our two families. To keep things simple, we wanted to retrace our roots only as far back as our grandparents. We immediately went to work. Biene asked her mother and other close relatives for information on her family background, while I contacted Uncle Günther, a retired army officer, who was also very interested in the history of the Kegler family, my mother’s branch of the family tree. At first Biene and I were very excited about what we felt would develop into a joyful and rewarding project. It was like creating a symbolic union of our families before becoming husband and wife. However, procrastination reared its ugly head, threw all kinds of obstacles into our path, erected seemingly insurmountable walls, and slyly whispered into our ears, “Postpone, delay, sleep on it. Give it up, it’s too difficult, it can’t be done.”
Indeed the task of just going back two generations proved to be extremely difficult. There were no problems on my mother’s side (Erika Klopp). Uncle Günther had done a thorough job in compiling all data with the usual vital statistics starting with my mother’s parents Carl and Elisabeth Kegler, then giving an account of their six children, three boys and three girls. Four of them married and had children. In the two booklets that he duplicated for his nephews and nieces he went with his descriptions as far back as to the great-grand parents. For each person in the Kegler Clan, my uncle wrote a one-page curriculum vitae with a list of dates as well as of their accomplishments. But on my father’s side (Ernst Klopp) a bewildering picture emerged that was far too sketchy and complex for me, the twenty-two year old young man, to tackle. My grandfather, Peter Friedrich Wilhelm Klopp and his wife Emma had all together sixteen children, of whom my father Ernst was the youngest. Personally I knew only four aunts who were still alive, when the research of our roots began: Alma and Jula in Berlin, and Anna and Meta in Freiburg located at the southwest corner of Germany. Following several massive heart attacks, my father died on February 25th, 1964 in Michelbach, where he was buried. Giving in to the delaying tactics of procrastination, I did not write to those remaining aunts, until they too had passed away and had taken their knowledge with them into the grave.
While I was serving as soldier in the German NATO Forces from 1963 to 1965, Biene and her twin brother Walter were still attending high school and lived with their parents in Velbert near Essen. Biene did not fare much better in her family research. While she made much progress in gathering data about many of her relatives, her efforts to gain detailed information about her sister Elsbeth were completely stymied. Biene’s mother (Elisabeth Panknin) did not wish to share any particulars about her first-born daughter except that she hinted at some tragic event in the distant past. A veil of a secrecy hung over the unwritten story of Biene’s sister, who lived in Gotha in the former German Democratic Republic. So the obstacles that confronted us in our family research appeared insurmountable to us, and the project began to fizzle out and was put on the back burner for almost five decades. You see, there were more important things for us to do, such as getting married, attending university, finding work, and above all raising a family. Five boys were born almost with  the precision of an arithmetic progression: Robert (1967), Richard (1969), Anthony (1972), Michael (1974), and Stefan breaking the progression by being born six years later. Providing for their basic needs, food, shelter, education and love, took up all of our energy and time. In short, writing a family history was totally out of the question. But when Stefan left home for his IT training in Calgary, Alberta and I finally retired from my teaching profession in 2001, I thought that now was time to get back to my family research.
However, procrastination threw new obstacles onto the path, which I now thought to be wide open and leading directly to the final goal. It reminded me that I still had so many other important things to do. Its threatening voice from within was loud and clear, “Plant and tend the garden in the spring, mow the lawn at least once a week, don’t forget the garden needs weeding, you must also harvest what you planted in the spring, go huckleberry picking with Biene, in the fall you must gather and split firewood for the long winter months, repair broken-down household appliances, shovel snow from December to February, etc., etc….” I noticed that it was using the stick to intimidate me with that endless array of chores. There was also the softer voice of temptation, “These are your golden years, Peter, enjoy them, catch and live the moment, Carpe Diem! why burden yourself with the past. Participate in the simple pleasures of life, while you still can. Remember, your project was doomed a long time ago, because you lost all your living sources with the death of your aunts, uncles and parents.”
So another twelve years slipped by. The list of activities that filled my days to the brim grew more plentiful with each passing year. When friends and family asked me how I was enjoying my retirement, I replied, “My days aren’t long enough to accommodate all the things I want to do!” On second thought, I should have said more accurately, “My days aren’t long enough to accommodate all the things I should be doing!”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Vigilant Knight

Exploring the history!


Collecting stories from family historians who are climbing their family trees and planning trips to where their ancestors actually lived!

Creative Huntress' Journey

Story, Photography, and Lifestyle

Educated Unemployed Indian

Trying to benefit from education & (a little) from unemployment!

tanja britton

Lives and writes at the foot of Pikes Peak

Applegate Genealogy

Helping others discover their roots

Poetry and Prose

From soul to soul

Little Fears

Tales of humour, whimsy and courgettes

"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Deepa Kadavakat

Celebrate the ordinary & beautiful self

Susan Rushton

Celebrating gardens, nature, photography and a creative life

Backyard Photographer

Spark creativity by capturing the world around you one photo at a time


Independent blog about literature, philosophy and society in words and images


Photography & Nature

The Hejhej blog

Another blog that you dont need

The Flowers of Art

In the kingdom of life, with the strokes of the brush, the bow and the pen, artists have sowed their hearts to contrive, fields rivalling in beauty the Garden of Eden.

The Timeless Treasure

A Sneak Peek of My Life !!!

Theresa J. Barker

literary & science fiction writer

Jupp Kappius

Zur Erinnerung an Josef "Jupp" Kappius


Exploring the world of ideas through books

Sophie und ihre Welt

Bücher - Fotos - Kurze Zeilen - Literaturkunde - Malen - Momentaufnahmen - Musik - Ohrensessel-Gedanken - Philosophie - Tagesfreuden - Therapie - Werken - Worte - Zitate

A Walk to Stressfree Life

be thankful for this blessed life!!!

Karolina Górska & Piotr Jurkiewicz

fotografia z naszej perspektywy

Melissa Blue Fine Art

Celebrating the Healing Beauty of Nature

Celebrating the Healing Beauty of Nature

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

The Back Road Chronicles

Curious soul...and it makes me wanna take the back roads!


Go Explore

Inspire me

Love, Relationship, Lifestyle, Purpose, Marriage & Family

Travelling around the world

Traveller, photography

Intrepid Venture

Exploring the realms of the arts, sciences and politics

Megha Bose

A peek into Megha's mind


This is a journal about the things that inspire me: a beautiful landscape, a good book, a fascinating museum.

Candid Chicana

Chicano Culture, Self-Development & More

Frank Solanki

If you want to be a hero well just follow me

Plants and Beyond

Green Plants Based Living and Gardening


age is just a (biggish) number

Think Ahead

Des' Online Journal


Relationships reveal our hearts.

Wondering and Wandering

"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live! Methinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow..." --Henry David Thoreau, August 19, 1851

Frau Stich-Schlinge

handGemachtes & allerlei Tüddellütt

Stella, oh, Stella

Garten - Reisen - Lesen - Musik - Handarbeiten - Motorbike no more! - Wandern ...

%d bloggers like this: