The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 38 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

The University of Calgary campus in the winter of 2015.

University of Calgary –  Image courtesy University of Calgary.

Peter Offers Three Choices

January 22nd 1966, Calgary

My beloved Biene,

I passed the exam, also the one in English. But this appears unimportant to me in the light of your coming this spring; I will write you the details of the exam some other time.

I fear that a few things I wrote must have hurt your feelings. I am sorry and apologize. You are in the least responsible. Rather the causes for all the troubles rest with me. That’s what I think; for I have critically examined myself. You know, when I am separated from people and I am sitting for hours at the same spot and study, then painful loneliness takes control over my heart. It comes from nowhere, from the silence of a tortured soul. However, I am aware that this pain can be alleviated by a sociable life and above all by the giving and receiving of love. You see, dear Biene, in our separation I often did you wrong, when unexpected news and such moods came together in a perilous brew. From now on I will make an effort to separate the two from each other.

O Biene I appear to me like a stubborn grumbler, because I must voice my objections all over again. I worked out with my brother that as a typist in an office you will barely earn enough money for the flight back home. And how do you propose to get to Canada, if your father is not willing to pay a single penny for the fare? Biene, forgive me please, if I seem to be so harsh; but you appear to dream about a happiness that still needs to be acquired with all our strength. The wedding is just the beginning of a lengthy struggle and not the final station of perpetual bliss. Whether we stay in the basement or whether we move (by the way I found a three-room apartment with a balcony, shower, bath etc., which will become vacant in the spring), we will be lacking everything. I am still eating from the plastic plate my mother once gave me when I was a boy scout. We will need tableware, cooking utensils and a few pieces of furniture. My brother is willing to pass on a few things to us. But it goes without saying that he can’t give away everything. I got to know many student couples, who started like this and have been quite happy all the same, because they could watch their day-by-day progress. But they did not start with debts, which would be the case, if we worked all summer not for our apartment, but for your return flight.

I see only three solutions out of this miserable situation: EITHER you follow completely your mother’s advice, come here for the summer, make your decision and work in a household, where you don’t have to pay for room and board, OR we get married after a certain waiting period and we let your father pay for the flights to and from Germany OR in case he doesn’t, you stay in Canada and we invite your parents to come. Later when we are financially better off we could fly together to Germany. I think this is a reasonable and responsible suggestion and I wished you would think it over during a quiet moment.

Peter’s letter to be continued

33 thoughts on “Chapter 38 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

  1. taphian

    Your suggestions were really good, dear Peter. It was really a long and stony road to being with Biene, a walk over 7 bridges. I’m always waiting for the continuation. Have a nice weekend, kind regards from cold and rainy Hamburg, Mitza


    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Dear Mitza, I like the comparison of our story with a long and stony road. It has all the ingredients of what one finds in good novels: plenty of obstacles and challenges that need to be overcome. Thank you for your continued interest, even though you know the happy end to the story!


  2. Stella, oh, Stella

    Your proposals seem very reasonable to me. I just wonder, if her father would have paid a return ticket for her … 😉

    However, she was working in the meantime, no? So she might have saved some money herself for a/the flight(s). I am excited to read more …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      The money she saved was sufficient to buy a ticket to Canada. If her father had not paid for the return ticket, she would not have intended to fly home. As it turned out, she did not fly home at Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy

    I can feel the aching behind your words, Peter. You were too hard on yourself, I think, but also so amazingly self-aware for a young man. No wonder Biene took the risk and joined you! I look forward to the rest of your letter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      That is indeed a very nice thing to say. For me to come to Canada was an adventure with the backup provided by my two brothers and a sister. For Biene it was a plunge into an unknown world. She only knew me and took the risk to join me. Have a great weekend, Amy!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jodi

    Oh Peter. So good to read your post knowing things turn out so beautifully in the end or I would be terrified of the ending and the hanging and waiting. It is so hard to remember how challenging these things were before FaceTime and email and iPhones. I can remember being a little girl and watching the cartoon called the Jetsons. It was set in a futuristic time where people could pull up screens and talk to each other face to face. It seemed so otherworldly. And now that is our time. But this was so romantic this way

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      You are so right, Jodi. Few people of the younger generation can imagine how it was without cell phones, internet, social media and instant communication. Thank you for following our story with so much interest. Have a great weekend, Jodi!


  5. Edda

    Mir drängt sich bei jeder Fortsetzung in Deinem Blog unwillkürlich die Vorstellung auf, wie Ihr jeder für sich mit seinen Ängsten und Fragen alleine zu kämpfen hattet, Peter! Biene hatte alle gegen sich (auch wenn ihre Familie sich aus Besorgnis um ihre Zukunft gegen Euch stellte) und Du hattest es Deinen Worten zufolge auch nicht gewagt, so richtig mit einem Deiner Geschwister zu reden, oder? Aber schön war es wiederrum, daß Du von einem Deiner Brüder Unterstützung angeboten bekommen hast! Es war wirklich zum Verzweifeln für jeden von Euch!
    Und es stimmt schon, für Biene war es auch noch eine Reise ins Ungewisse, jedenfalls das neue Land betreffend..Trotzdem hielt sie an ihrem Versprechen, so bald wie möglich zu Dir zu kommen, fest.
    Du hast klar erkannt, was Ihr für Euer zukünftiges Heim alles anschaffen mußtet mit den wenigen finanziellen Möglichkeiten, die Ihr hattet…
    Und die Prüfungen hast Du auch noch so gut absolviert..
    Mal sehen, was in Deiner Fortsetzung noch steht!
    Herzliche Grüße aus Sottmar.👋👋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Es ist immer eine große Freude, deinen Kommentar zu lesen. Dein Verständnis für unsere Situation lässt erahnen, dass du mit deinen eigenen Erlebnissen und derer, die dir nahe stehen, Einsichten gewonnen hast, die dir es ermöglichen, so mit Gefühl auf all das einzugehen, was uns vor fünfzig Jahren bewegt hat.
      Heute Morgen gleich nach dem Frühstück habe ich Biene zum Strand genommen, haben dort Bocce gespielt und sind dann noch ins Kanu gestiegen. So verbrachten wir eine erholsame Zeit, bevor die Tageshitze von 30 Grad uns belasten konnte. Viele liebe Grüße auch an unseren lieben Dieter!


  6. PlantsandBeyond

    Dear Peter, Its is nice to know the ending to your young adult love saga, although its refreshing to see the rationale of your choices and taking charge as a loving male. No wonder your women chose you 🙂 Hope you have a wonderful weekend. Your writing is beautiful and captivating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      I’d wish I could publish more. But there is editing and translating to be done, as most of our letters were written in German. Have a wonderful start of the week, Cornelia!


  7. Ann Coleman

    Your story takes me back to a time when we didn’t have constant contact with the ones we loved, and had to trust that our letters and cards got to them and they understood what we were trying to say. I remember how much I valued my husband’s (then just a boyfriend) letters when we were separated. Honestly, it helps to know that your story has a happy ending. It would be beyond sad to know that you and Biene didn’t ultimately lend up together!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Joanne Sisco

    You make a good point about marriage being just the beginning. So many of us started off married life with nothing and slowly built a life together. Our lives were defined by hard work, sacrifice, and uncertainty.

    In comparison, it seems couples today expect to be launched off on a footing at least equal to their parents.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      I agree with you, Joanne. Not only are the expectations of today’s couples too high when starting out their marriage, but they also miss out on creating a meaningful relationship through hard work and faithful dedication to their common goals. Thank you, Joanne, for your insightful comment!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. banactee

        Getting married is not essential for passing the valleys and mountains of life. After 34 years of living and being together with my companion, etc. without official document it does not feel so much different. Now could be the right time for a marriage, we had time enough to get more than aquainted. Time will tell. Nice weekend @ Ulli

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peter Klopp Post author

        I agree with you, Ulli. In the eyes of the law of the country you are married (even if not officially) after you have been living together under the same roof for two years or so. Thus, getting married is not essential to experience the ups and downs of life spent together. But you need to view our particular situation within the cultural context of the mid sixties, when Biene and I got married. Nowadays, people still get married for that special occasion that brings family and friends together for that joyful event. Likewise have a nice weekend! Peter

        Liked by 1 person

      3. banactee

        You misunderstood me. I remember very well my childhood and youth in the stuffy 60s and its conservative predominant mentality somewhere in Westphalia. So your leaving to Canada a real good choice.

        Liked by 1 person

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