The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 34 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV


Biene’s Bold Reaction to Five Letters from Germany


Key Player #4 of Chapter 34: Papa Walter Panknin

As the drama unfolds I will introduce for each part of this chapter one person, who played a major role in our desperate struggle for being reunited in Canada.

November 2nd 1965 Didsbury

My dear Peter,

Before I respond to your messages and also tell you about my life here, I want to deal with the main issue at hand. Dear Peter, my parents and my brother’s reaction came so unexpectedly for me that every letter from home was a real shock for me.

First of all my brother wrote, who until now has only written this long letter to me. He tried to logically explain that our plans are against all reason that out of several reasons I would be unhappy with you in Canada and above all that I would make my parents unhappy. Shortly afterwards I received an equally long and logical letter from my father with similar arguments and the threat that if I acted against all warnings and reason, I would in no way receive any support from him. Then finally came a long letter from my mother. She desires that we two come together and that she was prepared to let me go ‘one day’ to Canada. However, influenced by my father and brother’s arguments, she too thinks that it would be too early and that we would only be unhappy. Even my brother-in-law and sister asked me in long letters to take everything into consideration and let reason prevail rather than listen to my heart.

Dear Peter, as I can only roughly indicate to you, their main concern was about my happiness and the fear to lose me. Therefore, Peter, I cannot feel any anger or disappointment. You are right, Peter, my parents must have hoped all the time that everything, as you said, would fizzle out between us at the end. And only now I understand as to why without any objections they let me go to England. I believe that they hoped it would lead me to different thoughts. Dear Peter, you can imagine in what kind of conflict I find myself! I have never been so determined in my life as now! I come to you, even if I have to earn the sea voyage myself. My decision is final, and nothing can dissuade me from it. Therefore, Peter, prepare everything.

My parents fear that the hard work would make me unhappy. O Peter, I realized here in England how physical work in harmony with intellectual work creates happiness. And to work together with you for our life can truly make me happy! Mrs. Lande literally cried, when I told her that I would have to leave at Christmas time. She thinks that never before had a girl managed to do so well with the work and the children as I have. These words give me self-confidence; for I came  with no experience whatsoever. My mother always says, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way.’ I also believe in it. Sometimes I think that I am hard-hearted and egotistical, because I want to come to you, although I know how much pain I am causing to all the people that love me. Yet, Peter, don’t we need to live our life as our parents lived theirs? My father writes that he would rather travel to European destinations four times a year than to spend a single penny for a trip to Canada to visit his daughter, who has abandoned her home country. You too will feel while reading this, how much these words have hurt me. When I come home for Christmas, I will talk calmly with my parents. If they insist on their position and refuse us any help, then Peter I will come in spite of it all. I have so much confidence in our future. Perhaps we can only convince our parents with an iron will! O Peter I think that I appear so hard-hearted toward them, for I can sense how they must feel. But I know that it is right to go to you.

In the meantime you will have received my brother’s letter. Don’t take it as an insult that my parents have used my brother as mediator. I am more offended than you; for I know that only my brother’s influence could have changed my parents’ mind. However, Peter, all parents would just like my parents try to keep their children at their side, especially if it means to let them go into a world of uncertainty. And Canada is for them uncertainty. We must understand them. But nothing can change my decision.

My dear Peter, now I have not yet dealt with many of your questions and problems you brought up in your letters. However, I shared the main issue with you so that you can undertake all the necessary steps and you can tell me what I need to do. As always in a big hurry, unfortunately!

Be lovingly embraced by your Biene

Having observed in the past quite a few of Biene’s vacillations during times when decisions of the heart had to be made, I felt total admiration for Biene’s courageous handling of a dilemma out of which there seemed to be no escape. In my eyes she ruled like a queen over the complex issues that were going to haunt us for a long time to come. Indeed I was awed by her bold stand against the odds that were stacked against her. However, what I did not realize at the time, when her letter  gave my anxious heart a lift, was the fact that Biene was fighting far away from home the  good fight in the safe haven of her British employer.

34 thoughts on “Chapter 34 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV

  1. Amy

    That is one strong young woman—defying her parents for love. It must truly have been real love. I can’t wait to hear what happens. Did her father soften? Her mother obviously was more nurturing and understood that her child’s happiness was more important than keeping her close. I anxiously await your next chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Amy, for your heart-warming comment! Biene’s father was a stubborn man, who only softened his attitude towards us, after our first son had been born and we flew to Germany to visit our parents.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. taphian

    Hut ab vor Biene, lieber Peter. Sie hat es genau richtig gemacht. Jeder muss sein eigenes Leben führen, und Eltern, die ihre Kinder nicht gehen lassen wollen, sind irgendwie egoistisch. Wen man liebt, läßt man gehen, denn dann wird er/sie immer wieder zurückkommen. Ich bin sehr gespannt, wie die Eltern auf ihre Haltung reagieren werden.
    Ein schönes Wochenende aus dem ewig regnerischen Hamburg, liebe Grüße Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ja, du hast ganz recht. liebe Mitza. Meine Mutter, die ganz auf unserer Seite stand und hat vier von ihren fünf Kindern nach Kanada gehen lassen, sagte dazu das folgende: It is easier in spite of the great distance to visit relatives in Canada than those in East Germany. And we will lose our children we try to hold captive. In a higher sense we will regain them, when we let them go.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. thecedarjournal

    I guess the time frame this took place Canada must have been like a strange moon. Much to far away and people who spoke a strange language. Funny how much the world has changed and yet families always seem to remain the same in many ways.
    These letters are some wonderful history.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Leanne! The letter we kept for more than 50 years brought a flood of precious memories to the surface. It is my hope that our grandchildren when beginning to show some interest in their family roots will be glad to read all this one day.


  4. Inge

    Hat of to Biene such strong women she is, sitting on needles till I hear more.
    Have a Great week end, stay Healthy and Happy, you both have gone true so much,
    True Love has to succeed a Life Long after all that.
    Love Inge.


  5. Edda

    Das waren ja niederschmetternde Briefe, die von Bienes Familie als Antwort auf Eure Zukunftspläne kamen.Alles andere als ermutigend. Am meisten weh getan hat sicher die Reaktion des Vaters,Biene alle Unterstützung zu verweigern, sollte sie zu Dir kommen..So etwas ist am meisten enttäuschend.
    Und das kann sehr viel kaputt machen. Ist man älter, kann man einiges nachvollziehen und verzeihen,..aber mit Härte wird oft nur erreicht, daß alle “Parteien” sich gekränkt voneinander abwenden …
    Es war mutig von Biene, sich in diesem Falle klar auf Deine Seite zu stellen! Sicher hat sie es sich nicht leicht gemacht, auch werdet Ihr noch mit vielen anderen, Schwierigkeiten , die außerdem noch auf Euch zukamen, zu kämpfen gehabt haben.Da wird es noch einiges auszufechten geben..

    Herzliche Grüße, Peter, gute Besserung wünschen wir Dir!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Wie du schon erahnst, kommt noch so manches auf uns zu. Bei all meinen Schwächen konnte man mir niemals vorwerfen, dass ich nachtragend bin. Und Papa Panknin, so hartnäckig und, wie es dann später herausstellte, so knauserig er bei späterer finanzieller Unterstützung auch war, hat nach der Versöhnung niemals verbitterte Gefühle mir gegenüber gezeigt.
      Vielen Dank auch für eure lieben Wünsche! Ich habe heute die Krankenschwester in Edgewood gesehen. Sie hat mir die Brandwunde gründlich gereinigt. Es geht langsam aufwärts. Liebe Grüße aus Fauquier!


  6. kopfundgestalt

    A tremendeous letter!
    How can someone have so much confidence?! It’s beyond me.
    As a man I would also have felt some “guilt” because the main burden seemed to be on her side. And there is some burden to really make the dream come true on your side.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      I read your comment with great interest, as it appears to me that your made an attempt to put yourself into my shoes. You speak of ‘guilt’ you would have felt under these circumstances. For me it was more the frustration of not being able to do much about the problems that Biene was facing. Thank you, dear Gerhard, for your kind and insightful words!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. theburningheart

    What can I say?
    I am old fashioned, and miss epistolary relationships, like the ones you had in the old days, today, nobody care to write to each other, but that awful texting! 🙂


    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      I am in total agreement with you. There is a place in our modern digital age for emails and texting, when a quick message needs to be sent. But when it becomes the only form of communication, I am beginning to worry.


  8. Bun Karyudo

    I think I see where this may be going. It’s hard not to be impressed by the fortitude the two of you have shown up to this point in the story, but as I mentioned in my last comment, I know that it is extremely difficult to stand up to the strongly-held opinions of those we love and respect. Once Biene returns to Germany, the poor thing is going to be surrounded on every side by unrelenting opposition to her plans. Worse still, it will come from people who genuinely care for her. How could anyone remain entirely unswayed by all this? A degree of self-doubt and soul-searching would be a very understandable human reaction to such an emotional onslaught.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Dear Bun, you continue to amaze me with your uncanny perception of our problematic and complex situation. Biene’s problem was that she fully realized that her parents opposed our plans out of genuine concern for her happiness in a distant land with an unknown adventurer. It would have been easier for Biene if she had developed a hostile attitude towards all who were opposing our plans, which she could not. Bun, I cannot say it often enough how much I appreciate your insightful comments. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. entdeckeengland

    Oh, what a dilemma, to know you have to hurt someone. Many people in this situation would choose to stay with what they know, i.e. with the parents, especially as they have a point. Biene couldn’t know if it would work out between you two. A very brave woman. Lots of love to both of you, Peggy

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Peggy, for pointing out what other people would have done under similar circumstances. Love is a powerful force able to remove obstacles including those thrown on the path by well-meaning and loving parents. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Peggy!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Ann Coleman

    Biene sounds like a very strong young woman who was very sure of her love for you! But she also sounds like a compassionate person who could easily understand her parent’s attitude and fears (although I have to say that her father’s stand seems a bit too hard for me to understand entirely.) I’m sure she’s in for a tough time when she returns to Germany, but it is comforting to know that she ultimately ended up as your wife!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ann, it seems to me that the story has generated enough interest that people are willing to read it, even though they know that it has a happy ending. I guess it is not the outcome, but the story itself that fascinates people. Thank you for your kind words, Ann!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ann Coleman

        Your guess is correct, Peter! Even knowing that you two do get together in the end, you are writing the story in such a way that many of us are enjoying it very much. That says a lot about your writing skills, all of it good. Reading about the history of you and Biene is very interesting!!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Perhaps they had her best interest at heart, but also from a very selfish perspective. If I had returned to Germany there would have been no objection. Thank you for following our story with such great interest!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Untraveled Routes

    Wow…reading that letter gives me goosebumps. This brings back so many memories…when Ashish and I were planning to get married, his family was absolutely against it and we had to battle lot of odds to convince both the families. Well, I can’t wait to read the next chapter.
    Take Care ☺️☺️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you for your kind words of appreciation! Our love story must be especially appealing to people like who experienced similar opposition from their family. I am glad that Ashish and you were able to get together in the end. Many thankful greetings from distant Canada!


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