Chapter 16 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part I

 

Summer Employment, School, and Ballroom Dancing

 

“Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world.”

Voltaire

 

Berlin Gate of Wesel - Photo Credit: wikipedia.org
Berlin Gate of Wesel – Photo Credit: wikipedia.org

On a side street not too far from the post office and the Berlin Gate – not to be confused with the Brandenburg Gate of Germany’s capital – was a small electronics store. The owner was also a contractor who did most of the electrical wiring jobs for the apartment buildings, which were popping up like mushrooms in the early sixties. I was well known to the staff as I had often dropped in to ask for nonworking radios, which I would then cannibalize for parts. One day I felt especially courageous and asked if they had a job for me. To my great surprise the boss immediately hired me to work as an electrician’s helper on the various construction sites in Wesel. For the next week or so I had to punch holes into the concrete walls using hammer and chisel. For the first time in my life I began to see the connection between hard work and earning money. Being quite unaccustomed to this type of work at first, I often hit my hands and fingers leaving bluish and bloody reminders of my clumsiness at the end of the day. I worked under pressure, because the rectangular holes had to be ready for the certified electrician to wire the junction boxes. One day the foreman asked me to run over to the shop and ask the boss for construction holes, as they would be needed immediately. Very proud of having received such an important assignment, I ran as fast as I could to make the request for something that sounded quite mysterious to me. When the boss had received the message, he asked his employees with a twinkle in his eyes if they had seen any of those construction holes lying around.

          “I believe that some of those holes are on the top shelf over the counter”, the lady of the sales department answered. The boss reached for them and placed them into my outstretched hands. In total disbelief I stared into my empty palms. Then I realized that I had been fooled, when he said, “Here are half a dozen of these holes. Now rush back to the construction sites and make sure you don’t lose any.” With this remark the entire staff could no longer restrain themselves and burst out into good-natured laughter indicating their prank had worked  on the novice employee. For my part I was quite a bit annoyed that I had become the laughing stock, but took some consolation in the fact that every newcomer in this business had to undergo the same humiliating initiation.

Peter's Notebook on Electronics Theory
Peter’s Notebook on Electronics Theory

At the end of one of my shifts a young aggressive salesman, who had been standing outside the store, cornered me on my way home and bombarded me with an endless stream of words extolling the advantages of becoming a member of the Bertelsmann Book Club. It represented one of the largest publishing houses in Germany, the young man asserted. Eager to get home and totally unaware of the financial consequences, I signed on the dotted line of the contract. As long as we lived in Wesel Aunt Mieze (Marie Kegler) paid the quarterly membership fee. She assumed correctly that if I was going to do a lot more reading as a result of this commitment, it would help improve my language skills not only in the remaining school years, but would hopefully create an appreciation of good literature.

Membership Card for the Bertelsmann Book Club
Membership Card – Bertelsmann Book Club

In the meantime my boss had been informed by the safety board that it was illegal to have an electrician’s helper at my age working on a construction site. Apparently it had to do with laws governing safety and liability issues. However, he kept me in his employ at the store, even though there was absolutely nothing for me to do. For most of the day I hung around in the store, where pop music from the latest stereo equipment attracted a lot of potential customers, mostly women deeply touched by the sentimental love songs in vogue in those days. Occasionally I ran an errant for the people working in the repair and service department. During those days I discovered that working life is boring if one does not have anything meaningful to do.

Old Radio with Valuable Parts for Peter's Hobby - Photo Credit: antiqueradio.org
Old Radio with Valuable Parts for Peter’s Hobby – Photo Credit: antiqueradio.org

One day I saw a short piece of solder on the floor. No cow was attached to it like in Rainer’s birthday speech. I put it in my pocket thinking it might come in handy when working on my electronic projects at home. A few minutes later one of the technicians, who had watched me pick it up, reported the incident to the boss. It is quite possible that my employer was truly outraged over my pilfering or perhaps it provided the perfect pretext to let me go from a place where I had outlived my usefulness. Whatever it was that made him fire me, something good came out of it. It created a moral sensitivity in me with regard to theft. No matter how small, petty, insignificant an item seems to be, whether it is piece of solder or a pen belonging to an office, in the realm of absolutes there are no gray areas. Theft is theft.

Autobiography Book Germany The P. and G. Klopp Story Writing

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. very good story, Peter. My grandparents were members of the Bertelsmann Club, too. I still remember how these books looked. It was not really world literature, but still I started reading so many thousands of books up to now. You really had an interesting life. Have a nice week-end, regards Mitza

    Like

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Miza! I remained a member of the Club for more than 40 years. The books were shipped to Canada and that way I maintained a connection in a litarary sense with Germany.
      By the way I could not locate your post on Luebeck. Is there a search function on your other blog?
      Kind regards, Peter.

      Liked by 1 person

      • dreimalkunst.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/weekly-photo-challenge-converge/
        This was the photo for the WPC “converge” I made from Luebeck, Peter. Hope you like it. Have a nice week-end, kind regards Mitza

        Like

  2. It was interesting to learn about your early job. It’s a shame your coworkers teased you when you asked for those construction spaces, though. If you’d asked me, I could have given you some. I have a large supply that I keep on a shelf between my building spaces and my assembly gaps. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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 )

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s

O' Canada

Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border

Mrinalini Raj

I LEAVE YOUR ROAD TO WALK ON MY GRASS.

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

corneliaweberphotography.wordpress.com

This photography blog is about art, passion, people and places

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To Live as Kate

A modest attempt to share my life with you as I try to find myself.

My Blog

Losing myself in reverie

Karen Painter

Historical Fiction Author

Denney Home Place

~ et mea Messis erit ~

Pure Glory

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Ellie's Blog

Personal Blog

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Simply Photography by Ileana Alberti

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” Ernst Haas

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

Rainy Day Reflections

Reflections about life, photography and my attempts at creativity.

I Suck at Marriage

I wonder who doesn't suck at marriage on some level...

O' Canada

Reflections on Canadian Culture From Below the Border

Mrinalini Raj

I LEAVE YOUR ROAD TO WALK ON MY GRASS.

Tripambitions

It contains the world best places and things.

corneliaweberphotography.wordpress.com

This photography blog is about art, passion, people and places

Amazing Tangled Grace

A blog about my spiritual journey in the Lord Jesus Christ.

To Live as Kate

A modest attempt to share my life with you as I try to find myself.

My Blog

Losing myself in reverie

Karen Painter

Historical Fiction Author

Denney Home Place

~ et mea Messis erit ~

Pure Glory

The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork. Psalms 19:1

Ellie's Blog

Personal Blog

John's Space .....

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost

Simply Photography by Ileana Alberti

“I am not interested in shooting new things – I am interested to see things new.” Ernst Haas

shivashishspeaks

ALL U WANNA KNOW

Rainy Day Reflections

Reflections about life, photography and my attempts at creativity.

I Suck at Marriage

I wonder who doesn't suck at marriage on some level...

Escape a lifetime

inspired by new places, new people and new possibilities

Neysa Sanghavi

Pura Vida "Pure Life"

Stories

a part of Life

Haley Bailey

Love. Beauty. Inspirations.

Zibaldone

Heap of Stories

Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Adventures in Genealogy

HOPE

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

simonbowlerphotos

Welcome to Simons Blog where I like to share my favourite images with you

TheCagedBirdSings

The song of a heart can never be caged...

social underground

Life. Love. The Human Condition

Josephina-Creations

Idei creative, design, reciclare, bricolaj, inovare, arta, planificare urbana eco

Kids641

Family

Wings Of Poetry

Layers Of Life

Tom's Nature-up-close Photography and Mindfulness Blog

Mindfulness, Philosophy, Spirituality, Meditation, Awareness, Religion, Nature Photography

Scott's Place

Fact and Fiction

Untraveled Routes

Journey Begins..!!!

This Tiny Blue House

Frugal lifestyle & Parenting Blog

kaffeeundkekse

Alltagsrezepte und mehr

Blog about Mexico's Must Have Seen

Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, Riviera Maya, Cenotes, Sian Ka'an, Cozumel, Bacalar, Mahahual, Monterrey...

Glamorous Without The Guilt

To accomplish great things we must dream as well as act

Wandering Iris

Wandering through life, getting better every day.

Art Expedition

a painter´s attempt to conquer the great white canvas

GERDA KAZAKOU

Eine lose Sammlung zur Dokumentation meiner Werke und Gedanken

Footloose Forever

Travel Diary of A Wandering Mind

Learn Fun Facts

An Archive of Curious Facts for the Curious

%d bloggers like this: