Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part V

          A Mysterious Thing Called Love

The Ryndam Approaching Canada

      We had already set back our time on board by three hours, which meant that we had covered more than half of the total distance of our route to Canada. Like a giant magnet the approaching American continent channeled and directed my thoughts and feelings towards it as to make me feel at home before we even arrived at the port of entry. At Adolf’s portable radio, which he had bought on board at the duty-free shop, we picked up the first Canadian stations and eagerly listened to music and news from the island province of Newfoundland. Yet, in spite of my joyful anticipation of soon setting foot on my new homeland, there were also moments, when being alone in our cabin I began to examine in a critical manner my motives for leaving Germany.

     For my brother Adolf the voyage was simply a return to where he belonged after the successful completion of his journeyman program as a machinist. My sister Erika, a fully trained and certified nurse, wanted to escape the deplorable working conditions in the German hospitals, where she was overworked and underpaid.

My Brother Adolf Chatting with a Butcher’s Couple

       But what about me? Wasn’t I a fool to leave Germany, where I could have enrolled in any of the post-secondary programs leading to a diploma in my favourite field in high frequency technology? The words of the kind army major at the basic training camp were still ringing in my ears and entered my thoughts about a great opportunity I may have missed. He had urged me to consider a career in teaching at the technical army schools as a high-ranking and well-paid officer. I could have also gone into teaching with excellent prospects in Germany. Seeing all these real opportunities I realized the painful irony of my situation. Even though I had never met Biene’s parents except for a brief encounter at the Baldeney campground, I was unknowingly sharing their conservative – we would say old-fashioned today – expectations for their future son-in-law. I felt like they did that to be acceptable to marry their daughter I would have to be able to support her. To achieve this goal, I needed a minimum of six years at a German university in order to become a high school teacher or an engineer in electronics. At the time of my immigration to Canada, there existed a two-years teachers’ training program. This would have been a crash course, which upon successful completion allowed the student to go out and teach as long as he or she was willing to put in the extra course work in summer sessions to complete the diploma requirements. So the main reason for me to emigrate was not to seek better jobs, to enjoy a greater sense of freedom, or to experience the grandeur of the Canadian wilderness, albeit very appealing in and of themselves, but that it was a means to an end, i.e. to get married to Biene as soon as possible. It was truly paradoxical that in order to be close to Biene in the future, I had to be far away from her, At this point in time we couldn’t even dream of meeting in the next couple of years.

Adolf in his Tiny, but Cozy Bunk

          It is a strange thing about love. We feel its power, yet we cannot describe it. It has no physical location, even though we assert we feel it in our hearts. It has no substance, yet we say metaphorically love is in the air. However, we know it exists whenever we are in it and feel its tug at our heartstrings. We begin to see things associated with our beloved that we did not see before. So it was the case with Biene and me. I was on my way to Canada. All of a sudden this relatively unknown country from a German perspective had taken on an entirely new meaning for Biene. If love had not established a connection to this alluring country across the Atlantic, she would not have cared much about it, when her sister Elsbeth in Gotha romanticized about Canada and the wonderful things she had seen on TV. But now the floodgate of associations was wide open. Anything that had even remotely to do with Canada filled her heart with joyous anticipation. Somehow its name had taken on an auspicious meaning for her. She bought travel books on this second largest country in the world. Soon she described herself tongue-in-cheek as an expert on Canadian affairs. Whenever something related to this country came up on the radio, she perked up and eagerly listened to the news. On her daily trip to the teacher’s college in Wuppertal she walked by a large clock that indicated also the times in many other locations in the world. Of course, she would be interested in knowing the time in Calgary, where I would soon arrive by car with Adolf. When a seminar with slide presentation on travels in North America was offered to the general public at a community college, Biene attended the session. The presenter Martin Winter had traveled across all the Americas. He showed his slides of the Canadian wilderness, the majestic Rocky Mountains, serene lakes and raging rivers. When he talked about Calgary and the Stampede, the greatest rodeo spectacle on earth, Biene was so thrilled, she went to see him after the presentation and told him that her fiancé was just then on his way to Canada. ‘One day’, she wrote me in her enthusiasm for this wild and beautiful country, ‘you must take me camping to one of these glorious mountain lakes.’

14 Replies to “Chapter 27 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part V”

  1. Very interesting motives to emigrate! Most people emigrate for better life and economic conditions as you mentioned. But for you it was a different reason. It looks like you were quite committed towards marrying her, thus choosing unconventional path.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m happy to hear that you have good memories to share about your life. When we make any decision, we usually go by our feelings. Only time proves if it was in the right direction or not! It’s great that things turned out well for you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s a human nature. One of my teacher said Humans act on emotions and then justify with logic. This is in stark contrast to what they usually say – act on basis of logic!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. If people wouldn’t have looked for new horizons, America wouldn’t have been discovered, but maybe also Columbus had some doubts about what he would find in an unknown country like you had, dear Peter. Your story is always interesting, kind regards from cold but sunny Hamburg, Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, dear Mitza. An adventurous spirit needs to be present, if one wishes to explore the unknown. Of course, in my case I had my brother and sister with me and had another brother in Calgary waiting for our arrival. We finally have also some sunshine here and we use every opportunity to be outside. Thank you for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You were lucky, dear Peter that you had your brother and sister with you and another brother that waited for you. When I was twenty I went all by myself with a train from Hamburg to Venice and then with a ship all through the Mediterranean Sea to Haifa. A really great experience.
        Hope you will have warmer weather soon, regards Mitza

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ich finde,es war sehr mutig,dass du deinem Leben eine so ganz andere Richtung gegeben hast-auch wenn du Verwandte hattest ,die dir schon “vorausgeeilt ”
    waren..Trotzdem gehört schon eine gehörige Portion Mut und Unternehmensgeist dazu,die Zukunft in einen fremden Land aufbauen zu wollen.Und der Grund dafür ist so ein schöner gewesen:Du wolltest deine Biene so schnell wie möglich bei dir haben-und ihren Eltern beweisen,dass du deiner zukünftigen Frau ein” gesichertes ” Leben bieten willst und das auch schaffst! Dafür habt ihr beide eine lange
    Zeit der Trennung auf euch genommen..👍
    Liebe Grüsse aus Sottmar!👋👋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vielen, vielen Dank, liebe Edda! Du kannst meine damalige Situation so wunderbar nachempfinden. Natürlich war bei meinem Kanadaplänen auch eine gute Portion Abenteuerlust dabei. Doch meine Motive gründeten auf meinen Wunsch eine gute Lebensgrundlage für Biene und mich zu schaffen. Wie schön, dass du die Zeit gefunden hattest, in den turbulenten Tagen vor und nach der großen Geburtstagsfeier meinen Blog zu lesen. Da sage ich dir nochmals Danke, liebe Edda!!!


  4. I can imagine how Canada must have been built up in Biene’s mind to seem almost a mythical place. Just reading about your situation all these years later, I feel excited for you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Bun, for choosing to be part of our life’s journey! I share all your comments with my wife. She sometimes claims that I am living too much in the past. But what is the present or the future without a full awareness of the past?!

      Liked by 1 person

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