The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 37 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part I


Beautiful Rocky Mountains in the Mid 60’s

Staying the Course

“I have only made this letter longer because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” Blaise Pascal

Peter’s Tug-A-War with Biene

His Letter – Part I

January 6th, 1966 Calgary

My dear Biene,

Tomorrow we write our English exam. Before in a state of utter confusion I puton the test paper a thousand times your name down and fail to write a satisfactory essay, I want to quickly take a big burden off my chest.

I would like to clarify just one more time our present situation for you so you have something to cling to when new challenges arise. I can understand your father’s attitude perfectly well, because he is indeed losing his only daughter. But understanding must not lead to self-sacrifice. I am standing on the left, your parents on the right; you are in the middle and can only go to one.

My dear Biene, let me recount one more time how everything has evolved. Perhaps it will help you. Last summer waiting anxiously for a sign of life from me, you became desperate and asked me to let you come. Did you then openly talk to your parents about our plans to get married? When after work I came home dead tired and often with bleeding hands, when there was no word from the university, then your parents would have perhaps persuaded me to return to Germany. Later on when during my studies one success after another made me feel strong and confident, I believed that it was time to think of your coming to Canada. You didn’t only joyfully agree, but encouraged me in every letter to ask your parents for your hand in marriage. How well they were prepared I found out in your brother’s reply. You too were surprised at the unfriendly reaction and yet should have expected it. Then you became admirably brave and said, ‘I come in spite of it all!’ I remarked to my brother Gerry that they can all respectfully bow their heads before you. That’s how proud I was of you.

Then I waited for a reply, even though it was very difficult for me. Nothing was forthcoming for a very long time. But what did I hear sounding across from England? ‘Don’t wait too long, Peter’. So then I went from the university to downtown Calgary and started the lengthy application process for your immigration. A lot of things had to be done, because they never had a case before, in which a student was going to be the sponsor. While I was doing all this, you were dreaming about our wedding. Is it possible that you wrote nothing about this to your parents? This would have been the simplest thing in the world. For what one writes with calm reasoning, becomes clearer and more distinct in one’s mind than if one had to present the matter face to face. I can only explain your parents’ consternation in the light of their lack of awareness of our wedding plans.

You write that I should apologize to your parents. I read my letter over and over again. I cannot take away one iota. It is correct. If I apologize, your parents will despise me for my weakness. But this does not matter. What is more important that you desire that I apologize and with that you indicate to me – tears are almost welling up at this thought – that you no longer stand completely on my side. For above all, these plans were yours and mine. I gather this from your request not to write about them to your parents. O Biene don’t you see that your battle is already halfway lost!

Letter to be continued


30 thoughts on “Chapter 37 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part I

  1. Amy

    Oh, dear—I don’t think I would have reacted well to this letter, and I hope that Biene responded better than I would have! You are questioning her love and feeling betrayed—that comes across clearly, but so does your anger. It reminds me of my own hard-earned lesson that I should never write in anger, and if I do, I should never send what I write until at least 24 hours have passed. I am very curious to see what you wrote in the second part of the letter!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      You are spot on with your impression, Amy. I am glad you were not the one I wrote this letter to. Ten years ago I would have still felt very much embarrassed publishing it. But now honesty demands not to sugarcoat the reality, which ultimately brought about a happy end. Thank you, Amy, for not holding back your opinion!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Amy

        Well, it’s easier to give an opinion knowing that things worked out. I would be much more sensitive if I didn’t know that. And why be embarrassed? You were young, in love, and feeling quite desperate. I get it! I am sure I wrote many angry letters in my youth. We all get wiser after enough bad experiences!

        Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Arv!, for expressing your admiration and for lending support for my strong stand! To love sometimes means that one has to be firm and not waver in one’s convictions. My apologies for responding so late to your very kind comment!


  2. kopfundgestalt

    For me it is very difficult to understand, how such a relationship, merely consisting of letters, can stand the test of time. Additionally you were living on different continents for quite a Long time. You couldn’t speak to each other directly. So no one really knew what was going on.
    Reminds me of a nightmare. Illusions, misunderstandings and so on. …the one and only thing that counted, was your love.
    The love – rememberance of intense feelings you had with her. I sometimes think love just makes crazy, in a way. You feel bound to a love and can’t let it go. It’s kind of a verdict.

    These are my thoughts. For clarification I can also write in German, which i do much better.
    Thank you, Peter!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Lieber Gerhard! Vielen Dank für deinen ehrlichen Kommentar! Ich muss zugeben, dass, wenn ich auf all die Jahre zurückschaue, mir das Ganze wie ein Wunder vorkommt. Und andere in Erstaunen schütteln ihre Köpfe. Doch so war es.
      Du kannst ruhig deine Kommentare auf Deutsch schreiben, wenn es dir leichter fällt, dich klarer auszudrücken.
      Ganz liebe Grüße auch an deine Frau aus dem warmen sommerlichen Teil von Kanada!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. kopfundgestalt

        Ich schreibe gerne in Englisch, auch wenn ich nicht geübt bin. So bleibt es etwas in Fluß.
        Bei kniffligen Anmerkungen ist wohl Deutsch angesagt, sonst kann man leicht missverstanden werden. Und von Dir missverstanden zu werden, täte mir schon weh!
        Gruß aus dem Spessart! Auch an Deine Frau!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Edda

    Es ist immer wieder das Gleiche- das ewige Thema Liebe wirft doch stets auch Konflikte , Fragen ,Mißverständnisse und Unsicherheiten auf. Ich kann mir kaum vorstellen, daß es Beziehungen gibt, die (zumindest am Anfang) ohne Probleme sind. Ihr hattet es besonders schwer. Ich kann mich durchaus
    in Euch beide hineinversetzen. Du, Peter, warst am Verzweifeln und hast Dich
    allein gelassen gefühlt, konntest ja auch mit niemandem sprechen und hast somit den für Dich einzigen Ausweg gesucht und Deine Gedanken aufgeschrieben um sie Bine mitzuteilen. Bine stand auch unter immensem Druck, alle erwarteten von ihr, die ” einzig richtige Entscheidung” zu treffen.
    Und diese Entscheidung sah für für jede “Partei” anders aus.
    Dann kamen noch Deine Zweifel an ihr dazu. Ich hätte nicht mit Euch tauschen mögen…
    Bin gespannt auf die Fortsetzung….
    Herzliche Grüße!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Liebe Edda, das war mal wieder ein Superkommentar. Vor deinem Einfühlungsvermögen kann ich nur meine Hochachtung aussprechen. Wieder empfehle ich einen Blog für Dieter und dich. Ihr habt eurer Familie und der Welt viel an Gedankengut zu geben.
      Morgen früh fahren wir Stefan besuchen und dann natürlich unsere süße kleine Lizzy. Ganz liebe Grüße aus dem sonnigen Kanada!


  4. Stella, oh, Stella

    Like “Pure Glory” I am glad to know that the ending was a happy one.

    Your story could have gone the other way, your feelings could have faded away, but they didn’t, so there must have been something genuine in both of your ‘s feelings. This is quite rare, and I am happy for both of you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you so much for those heart-warming words, Brigit! To have people like you with a genuine interest in our story gives me a big lift and the motivation to carry on with the Klopp Family project. Greetings from summer -like and sun drenched Western Canada!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. taphian

    that was really a very good letter that put everything on the point, dear Peter. I like the way you dealt with this problem. Nice to read every week, have a nice weekend, kind regards Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      This was a difficult time. My greatest worry was that Canada Immigration would reject Biene’s application in light of all the suggested changes. Thank you, Mitza, for also seeing the need for a firm commitment to the original plan. Have a beautiful Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Ann, for your support! As you can see, the readers have different opinions on this particular question. It really all depends on the interpretation of my letter to Biene. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. thecedarjournal

    I also think Peter that maybe people with strong feelings of love and separation understand the challenge of the situation and of the time frame it was set in. I really relate to your story as a former soldier who had to spend years away from loved ones with little contact or limited contact. These long waits can make most people go crazy and for the strong and determined make them wrote more directly in order to understand if feels are shared.

    I love that you have these letters after so long, that you have the courage to share them. I have written letters like these and most over the years have ended in camp fires. The words now only exist in my memory and with God.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you so much for very personal comment! It is interesting to note that people of that particular era relate best to our love story.
      Also your mention of being a former soldier makes me wonder if you are a partner in the ‘cedarjournal’ blog, whom I haven’t met before.
      Burning your letters in camp fires must have been a bitter-sweet experience for you. As for me, I am happy today that our letters did not go up in smoke. Have a great week!


      1. thecedarjournal

        LOL same partner/writer of cedar journal. I am a bit younger, but can really relate to your story. The fact that I burned the letters is a result that my many stories have different endings than yours. It took me a very long time before I found (maybe he found me) my life partner.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peter Klopp Post author

        Thanks for the clarification! The part of having been ‘a soldier’ had me puzzled. I guess you used as a figure of speech. Have a great time kayaking with the man who found you!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. corneliaweberphotography

    Hm, dear Peter, usually I have my words ready to respond , after reading your story, yet this time I’m some how running out of words. As a Biene back than I would not have taken your letter easily, yet now I understand that it was written out of despair. I wonder how Biene responded to it, as a wise woman. Have a great week dear Peter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      It is very good to put yourself into somebody else’s shoes. I will publish her side of the story and her response. I like how some lady followers are beginning to react to my frustrations by gauging their own feelings on this crisis.
      Have a beautiful week, Cornelia!

      Liked by 1 person

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