Chapter 21 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part IV

One Misfortune Never Comes Alone

I was still reeling under the blow of the unexpected military transfer to Maxhof, Bavaria, when another one hit me like a bolt out of the blue. Biene wrote that she had met a young Dutch man by the name of Henk, to whom she was now engaged. They were dreaming about their own home at the edge of a forest near the city of Arnhem and were planning to get married. The news nearly tore me apart, all the more as Biene described our relationship as merely a nice correspondence between friends. Although my emotions were running high, I immediately responded to her letter and thanked her for being honest. It was a miracle of sort that I agreed to keep writing her. That promise was so terribly out of character, so contrary to what my pride and sense of honor would have allowed me to do that there was only one explanation. I was still in love with her.

Biene on Vacation at Lake Ammer 1963
Biene on Vacation at Lake Ammer 1963

Sleepless nights followed. I held endless conversations with myself. At times I would place the entire blame on my shoulders. Dieter was perhaps right, when he said that a kiss is more powerful than words, passion stronger than tender sentiments expressed merely in letters. Then the American folk song ‘On Top of Old Smokey’ was going through my mind during those agonizing hours of wakefulness. The apparent truth of the line ‘I lost my true lover for courting too slow’ hit me especially hard. Suddenly the pendulum swung into the opposite direction. For a short while, I found relief by putting the blame on Biene. ‘Surely, one does not get engaged overnight’, I argued. ‘Why didn’t she write me sooner? Why did she allow the correspondence to drag on so long? What about her other pen pals, the young man from Morocco for example? Does she want to keep all her options open? Is she like a bee, as her name implies, flying in a kind of romantic dance from flower to flower to see where she would find the sweetest nectar?’ Having experienced both ends of the emotional spectrum, I finally settled for a more balanced view. The wildly swinging pendulum was coming to rest in the middle. Concern for Biene pushed anger and jealousy aside; she might have responded to the lure of marital bliss too quickly. These internal monologues went on and on through several nights, at the end of which I was completely exhausted. But I had calmed down enough to finish my letter to Biene with the words, “Just one thing you must promise me. If you perceive a danger for your happiness in that you cannot distinguish between true friendship and love between a man and a woman or if your future husband does not like our correspondence, then have the courage to say goodbye. For I do not want to destroy your happiness.”

Frauenkirche, Munich, Bavaria - Photo Credit:
Frauenkirche, Munich, Bavaria – Photo Credit:

With my Phillips tape recorder in one hand and a heavy suitcase in the other, train tickets and army papers in my wallet, I stepped on the Intercity train to Munich. Private Gauke, whose first name I no longer recall, accompanied me to our destination. We were both in uniform, as this was a requirement when traveling on official assignments. While the high-speed electric train was rushing toward the Bavarian capital, Gauke tried to cheer me up by pointing out all the advantages of the prestigious truck driver’s license later in civilian life. But he succeeded only partly in pulling me out of my morose taciturn shell. He did not yet know about the other problem, for which the possession of a driver’s license offered no solution. In Munich we had to catch a local train to Starnberg. Thousands of passengers were milling about the main station. At the crowded automated billboard announcing arrival and departure times I spotted the wrinkled face of my former scout leader, Günther von A. He was as surprised to see me, as I was to see him. What were the chances of this occurring? Once in a million or less. And what were the chances of still being in love with Biene? The question made me think about fate and destiny, a topic that philosophers and theologians great and small have been grappling with for centuries, a can of worms, which I decided in my present state of mind to leave unopened.


12 Replies to “Chapter 21 of the P. and G. Klopp Story – Part IV”

  1. You describe events that occurred almost half a century ago with quite some details. That’s surely commendable. I wish this post was long enough to describe further events! Well written, Peter!


  2. Manchmal ist das Leben unfair,stimmts,
    Peter? Du schreibst so detailgetreu und bist wieder mit dem ganzen Herzen in der Vergangenheit,dass ich alles bildlich vor mir sehen und nachempfinden kann.Deine grosse Enttäuschung,dass das Schicksal wieder mal in vielerlei Hinsicht ganz anders für dich entschieden hat…!
    Mir ist sofort beim Lesen spontan der Inhalt eines Werkes eingefallen,über das wir “damals” im Latein-Unterricht selbst ein Gedicht fabrizieren und auch noch vorlesen mussten…
    Auf alle Fälle war das vorgegebene Thema “Hassen und Lieben”. Da haben wir Mädels (11 .Klasse) uns ziemlich heftig reingestürzt..😊👍
    Wie gut zu wissen,dass deine und Bienes Love-Story ein happy end hatte…
    Bin gespannt auf die Fortsetzung..


    1. Vielen Dank, liebe Edda! Ich schätze deine Kommentare, die soviel Mitgefühl und Verständnis zeigen. Ich bin auch ganz erstaunt zu lesen, dass es in der DDR noch Lateinunterricht gegeben hat. Neun lange Jahre habe ich mich mit dieser antiken Sprache abgeplagt. Doch heute bin froh darüber. Es hat mir sehr beim Erlernen der englischen Sprache geholfen.


  3. The first cut is the deepest, Peter. Good that you can describe even such a pain in a good way. Have a nice weekend, regards from sunny Hamburg, Mitza


    1. Thank you, Mitza! Many greetings from Canada. Summer days are forecast for next week with temperatures in the 30’s. This is much appreciated after so much rain in our part of the world.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Seems to be a great weather forecast after so much rain. We’re having a lot of tempests in the South with thunderstorms, hail, floodings and even small tornados. We have sunny weather, 25 degrees and also tempest forecast for the evening. So maybe better take out a swimming noodle, hehe

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh dear! I didn’t expect that to happen! This was such a vivid account, so I had a real feeling of the shock you felt and the subsequent confusion in your mind. I’m glad, though, that in the end, your main concern was for Biene’s happiness. That speaks very well of you. Now I’m wondering what will happen next.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bun, for your kind words! There was a time when I would have been embarrassed publishing such personal details of my life. But now I am ready to boldly present to the world one of the most exciting, most turbulent phases of my entire life. And I wonder how many wonderful stories are being lost because people feel too timid to write them down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think you may be right about that. It is a shame to think about the number of stories that are lost. I don’t know anything about about most of my family beyond my grandparents, for example, and not even that much about them. I don’t know how they felt, what key events happened in their lives and why they acted as they did. I wish they had written it down, but truthfully. The best biographies are always the ones where people are honest.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Wenn dieser Teil der Geschichte in einem Buch stehen würde, hätte ich vorgeblättert um zu sehen, ob die Geschichte gut endet – ich bin froh, dass ich es hier schon weiß;-) – es ist so schön geschrieben, dass mir mein erster Liebeskummer wieder eingefallen ist *ggg*. Herzliche Grüße nach Kanada, Cornelia

    Liked by 1 person

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