Chapter 22 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part X

koblenz-altstadt
City of Koblenz – Photo Credit: Ferienwohnungen.de

Vittorio’s Entanglement in Sex, Love and Marriage

In our room there was a 17-year-old volunteer with the Italian sounding name Vittorio. At this tender age he was the youngest soldier in the signal corps. He had committed himself to a five-year service in the army and was obviously seeking a life long career with the Armed Forces. As a government employee in uniform he had a sizable income at his disposal, which he squandered with his buddies in the local bars and in establishments of questionable reputation. So it was no surprise to any of us in the room that eventually he fell victim to one of the ladies of the night that was plying her trade in the lucrative barracks city of Koblenz. What I found bizarre, even shocking was that he was openly bragging about his amorous adventures with a prostitute, who had apparently singled him out as an easy target. Even the most hardened comrades in our room gave him contemptuous looks when he treated his sordid affair as if it was true love. At the end of a long weekend he felt especially inclined to proclaim from the top of his bunk his progress with the most wonderful woman he had ever met. I wondered how many women he could have possibly met considering that he was only seventeen. A more outspoken roommate asked him in a sarcastic tone, “Are you paying for her services?”

“Not any more than what you would if you took your girlfriend out on a date,” Ramona was quick to reply.

“Well, well, you don’t seem to understand. Let me put the question to you a bit differently. Are you paying to have sex with her?” Everyone in the room was itching to know how the argument about this hot topic would end.

falckenstein-army-barracks-koblenz-casino-falckenstein-kaserne-koblenz-org
Falckenstein Barracks – Photo Credit: casino-falckenstein-kaserne.org

Vittorio was not easily intimidated. He knew how to fight back. He was aware of the saying that a good offense is the best defense. So he countered, “If you were a volunteer soldier and had a tidy income like me, wouldn’t you make her gifts and give her money because you love her?”

I was sure that our roommate must have felt a bit nettled by Vittorio’s suggestion that as a draftee with a mere pocket-money he would be in no position to argue with him on this matter. Unable to respond to this powerful argument, he resorted to the most obscene and offensive language I had ever heard. If this had been the end of the story, I would not have considered it worthy of being part of my autobiography. As a matter of fact, the story was just beginning.

In the weeks that followed Vittorio was getting more and more quiet and was no longer bragging about his most wonderful woman. I thought that he was afraid of our unnamed roommate. But I was wrong.  One Sunday evening he returned much earlier than usual to our room. He appeared to be in a very agitated state of mind. Not caring whether we wanted to listen to him, he started ranting and raving about the woman he once loved so dearly. We were stunned by the complete reversal of his opinion and wondered whether or not we heard him talk about the same woman. His language now was just as crude and offensive as if his antagonistic roommate was still lecturing him on the definition of women of ill repute. He described the most wonderful woman in the world as a crooked slut, who first was content with twenties, then wanted fifties, and now demanded his entire monthly income.

“I am finished with her,” he screamed, “I will not see her again; she is a whore; she can go to HELL!” Then he threw himself on his bed and cried like a little boy that he actually still was.

aaltstadt_koblenz
City of Koblenz – Photo Credit: Wikipedia.org

It was near the end of the summer shortly before my transfer to Marburg, when a woman walked through the barracks gate and requested to see the commanding officer of the second company of the signal corps. The above lieutenant learned that one of his soldiers, Private Vittorio to be exact, was the cause of her being with child. The officer concerned about the honor and respectability of the army in general and of his unit in particular had Private Vittorio called in and confronted him with the woman he had vowed never to see again. The officer after having established the truth of the woman’s claim suggested in unmistakable terms – one might say he decreed that Vittorio marry the woman who was expecting his child. Upon proof of marriage Private Vittorio would receive two weeks of paid leave for their honeymoon.

Vittorio told us later how things had been arranged in the office and that he was going to get married. Having flip-flopped once more he proudly announced that he was the happiest man in the world to have such a wonderful woman for a wife and soon to have a family. His words were gushing out in a sentimental torrent. This time nobody dared to interrupt him; even the quarrelsome roommate kept quiet. Vittorio had chosen a dubious path. I felt pity, even compassion for the young man who had in my opinion such a small chance of success in his upcoming marriage. I never found out what became of him and his wife to be.

Shortly afterwards I was on my way to Marburg. I left Koblenz with mixed feelings. Not aware that with the recommendations from the commanding officer I would soon be teaching again I looked back with regret at the rewarding instructional sessions, which I had enjoyed so much. I would also miss Josef Hegener and our nature excursions into the local hill country . On the other hand I felt relieved to get away from the revolting environment that our room had become of late. Even though I had been open-minded about listening to and jokes, I knew that Vittorio’s story was not a joke. It was a personal tragedy that shocked me to the core. If there was one good thing that came out of this sordid affair, it made me more determined than ever before to seek and strive for a better world. While an ideal by its own definition remains unobtainable, it nevertheless provides a vision and a goal worth aiming for. To the extent we struggle and make the effort to approach the ideal, we define our human character. With a fresh new sense of optimism I was looking forward to spend the remaining 180 days of my army time in Marburg. I promised myself to meet Biene again, as soon as an opportunity would present itself. For me she represented the embodiment of the light and the hope for a better future.

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

10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Sehr lustige Geschichte, lieber Peter. Meine alte Großtante hat immer gesagt: Wenn der P…. steht, dann ist der Verstand im Eimer. Ich glaube, sie hatte recht, hehe. Gut, dass Du eine andere Sorte von Beziehung zu Biene hattest. Ein schönes Wochenende aus dem feuchtkalten Hamburg, von Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

      • Immer gerne, lieber Peter. Leider bin ich momentan ein wenig “blog-müde”, weil es so viel nicht sehr hochwertiges “Zeug” gibt. Sprichworte und Fotos von pinterest zu posten, die man nicht selbst gemacht hat, ist ja nicht so die Kunst, und manche bombardieren mich mit mindestens 10 posts per day. Ich schau mir immer alles an, gebe likes, kriege aber fast nichts zurück. Schade.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ja, du hast Recht. Man möchte doch auch ein klein wenig Dank und Anerkennung für seine Bemühungen sehen. Lieber weniger Blogger, die einem folgen, und dafür bessere Qualität. Hab noch ein schönes Wochenende, liebe Mitza! Herzlichen Gruß aus Kanada!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Many of your incidents of life has lessons. Young boy falling for a woman of a questionable repute is a common story. Sometimes, its difficult to distinguish between love and infatuation. sometimes, your vision gets blurred with love or passion and you can’t see things clearly. That’s the case with this young lad.
    well narrated!

    Like

    • Thank you, arv!, for your comment! I like how you made the distinction between love and infatuation. True love must go together with faithfulness, which is being tested not only during times of separation, but also in the light of frequent temptations.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I guess its difficult to distinguish between two. But to test you should ask yourself what all you like about this person. One must make a reasonable analysis of the relationship. Temptations? Yes they do present themselves, its up to us on what we choose. 🙂

        Like

  3. It’s hard not to feel sorry for Vittorio. Although I didn’t think so when I was the same age, seventeen is so very young. It’s hard to say how sorry I feel for his new wife because we don’t know her side of the story. It doesn’t sound like the best of starts, but who knows? I remember from my high school history class that Justinian’s wife Empress Theodora started out as a prostitute and had a baby when she was little more than a child herself. The imperial couple ended up making a pretty formidable team!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a small confession to make. As much as I like to be as truthful as possible, I felt the need to change the name of this young soldier. You are right, there is always hope as there will be the odd exception to the law of statistics in relationships like the one Vittorio experienced. I am amazed at your memory, Bun, that allows you to recall historical events you learned in your high school years. Amazing!

    Like

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