Chapter 29 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II

Occupational Dreams and a Trip to the Dairy Queen

Downtown Calgary in the Mid 1960’s

Every morning before breakfast the newspaper boy came by on his bicycle and dropped off the Calgary Herald at the front entrance. Actually he only dropped it off on rainy days, which happened very rarely in this semiarid climate. On all other days he would not even get off his bike. He would grab a paper from his bag and in a precisely calculated arc would land it right in front of the door. Before you knew it, he was already on the way to the next house. Later in the morning, when I granted myself a break from painting Gerry’s house, I would rush into the house and grab the Calgary Herald, which my brothers had left on the kitchen table. There was only one section in which I was really interested. I did not care about local, national or international news. Instead I quickly thumbed through the thirty odd pages of this massive newspaper until I reached the classifieds. There I soon found out what was hot on the job market. Day after day I noticed that there was an incredible teachers’ shortage in the province as evidenced by the large number of teaching positions in practically all subject areas, but especially in math both at the junior and senior high school level. The children of the baby boomers were flooding the school system, while many teachers were retiring.

Peter’s Nephew Wayne 1965

But I did not ignore the ads from the mining, oil and other resource based companies, which were trying to attract high school graduates offering free training in their respective fields with pay. Reading about all these promising positions was like entering a dream world. In a sense it actually was a dream world, more accurately put a fantasy world. I did not recognize in my unrestrained enthusiasm that it was a long, hard road from the effortless reading of an ad to landing the job of my dreams. I found out much later that the positions had often been filled at the time, when they finally appeared in the newspaper. However, as to the openings in the teaching profession, I had a fairly realistic picture in my mind. I further learned that the farther away one was prepared to move away from the few major cities into isolated areas, where young city slickers would not be eager to live, the greater were the monetary and housing incentives that school boards were willing to offer. It was not uncommon in those days to offer $500 up front for each year a candidate would commit himself to teach with subsidized housing and isolation allowances to sweeten the pot.

Of course, in spite of Biene’s and my agreement we had made with each other to wait for two or even three years, deep inside we were always hoping for a quicker way of getting us two back together again. The first hint that Biene shared the same desire perhaps even more so came when I wrote her that I had almost made a foolish mistake in my career planning by responding to an ad from the IBM Company, which was looking for trainees in the fledgling computer industry. Indeed I felt, I would be the right candidate with my high school diploma and aptitude in math and analytical thinking. From Biene’s reaction expressing regret that I did not commit such foolishness, I could see that she too was counting on a shorter waiting period for our wedding date. In spite of these occasional flights of fancy that I allowed myself to paint a different future for Biene and me in Canada, I squashed any ideas that smacked of immediate gratification with regrets to follow in its footsteps. I realized that I could only be a good husband, father and family man, if I found fulfillment and satisfaction in my professional life. As one Gerry’s friend so correctly once stated, work you enjoy doing is not work at all, rather it could become a source of relaxation and happiness. It was my hope and aspiration that one day teaching would do the same for me, and so also for Biene and the family.

Peter’s Brother Gerry and his Wife Martha – 1965

One day, after I had finished my paint job to Gerry’s complete satisfaction, he drove the family and me to the nearest Dairy Queen. He mentioned to me that I had a special treat waiting for me. I did not quite understand what he was ordering and wondered as to why he kept repeating the word Sunday. ‘What a strange world, in which one had to order a dairy product two days in advance’, I thought to myself. But then what a delightful surprise it was first for my eyes, then for my taste buds, after Gerry handed me on a large cardboard tray a gorgeous ice cream sundae served with syrup on it, whipped cream, chopped nuts and strawberries! It was truly a heavenly treat, even richer, creamier and more delicious than my grillage torte my mother used to order for my birthday parties in Germany.

15 Replies to “Chapter 29 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II”

  1. I always wait for the continuing story to track how your life goes on in Canada, dear Peter. It’s always very interesting and well written. Have a nice Sunday. We just live in a turmoil here in Hamburg. If you can read Spiegel online. A lot of our town has been demolished and plundered due to the G20 summit. I’m happy I live outside. Kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hamburg has been on the news a lot. Our prime minister Justin Trudeau is also at the summit. Demonstrations have an important function to play in a democracy, but they should never deteriorate into violence. Thank you, dear Mitza for your continued interest in our story!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dairy Queen: the universal language! (But seriously, thanks for sharing your story, Peter. It is so interesting to follow, and you write it in such a way that I feel as if I know everyone involved!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would definitely visit a Dairy Queen more often, if we were living closer to a major center. Right now BC forests are burning. Fortunately our area has not been affected (yet). Thank you Ann for your continued interest in our story!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Besides all the turmoil going on in the world, I can’t wait for you to continue your story. Nowadays it has become so very different in applying for jobs, it’s all online now and that makes it very difficult and very competitive. Ja das Leben hat sich total veraendert seit deiner Zeit damals.
    Liebste Gruesse aus Californien , when I came over here 27 years ago from Germany it was really different here, especially now since this president, well I won’t even go into details for now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vielen Dank, liebe Cornelia! Ich habe mich sehr über deinen lieben Kommentar gefreut. Leider brennen bei uns in BC viele Wälder. Zum Glück ist unsere Gegend so weit verschont geblieben. Thank you again for your interest in our story!


      1. Oh nichts zu danken, Peter, danke dass du Zeit gefunden hast fuer deine Antwort. Oh nicht nur in BC Brennen die Waelder, sondern auch hier im Sueden von Californien brennt es bereits so viel. And thank you again for all your most interesting posts, sharing the family history.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yes, that big sundae was delicious and I am still dreaming about it. Hang in there, Bun, our dramatic love story is not quite finished yet. Hope to see you active soon at your blog, Bun.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. My dad would buy me a hot fudge sundae as a treat. They use to taste so good. When I have one now I always think of my dad and how much better they tasted when he was alive. I also like the picture of downtown Calgary. Those were the days when the life of a city was centered in it’s downtown.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed, when you can associate an event with a pleasant memory, it remains with you for a long time. Also pictures like in my case trigger memories that have been buried within you for a long time. Thank you for your thoughtful comment!


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