The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

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

Campus sign by the arch with the new logo. 2016

University of Calgary –  Image courtesy University of Calgary

Peter’s Pleading Letter and Biene’s Reassurance

(Conclusion of Peter’s Letter)

Dear Biene, I also want you to have your freedom to decide. During the first six weeks here a double burden will rest on your shoulders. I have no choice any more, since I have made mine already in December. So your yes will also be my yes and your no will be my no. Look at everything carefully when you come including the things that might shock you and then decide whether you can bear the absence of your relatives and friends for a long time. If you think you can, then throw our love onto the scales for the final decision.

The poem expresses the worry that dream and reality are no longer as close together as they once were in Michelbach and that the role in a family as wife and mother would no longer mean as much as then. How can I possibly explain that later after a few years, when we will be doing better, you would want to study from morning till evening  and to withdraw  as wife and mother from the family just to obtain a diploma? Biene, please understand me correctly. At the university there are many inspiring individual courses, which offer opportunities for intellectual enrichment. I would be the last one to oppose such desires. But a full university program as you desire indicates that you have begun to look at life, love, and marriage with different eyes. The goal that I once vaguely and exuberantly set in our book of dreams is still worth striving for and has already taken on clear and concrete forms. Yes, we evolve and we must work on us, but we should never ever attempt to change our character. Actually I don’t worry too much about you. For I know how much you are exposed to your mother’s influence. She planted contradictory ideas into your heart. Here her endeavors for your security are going too far. Perhaps in her fear about you she believes that one day I could abandon you or we could separate and then you wouldn’t have a profession to fall back on. Please reexamine earnestly if such wishes in you are genuine or if they merely represent a favor towards your anxious mother. For me this is a question of utmost importance and I hope it is for you as well.

Again I seem to be so stiff-necked, and it hurts to be like that. Just follow that one path that once had been the right one for both of us. In fact I am not commanding you to do anything Rather I am imploring you not to deviate from our life’s ideals. Even if we cannot reach them completely, the work and the endeavour towards them will provide sense and purpose of life. In an active and meaningful life true happiness will not be very far.

Give my kindest regards to your parents and your brother Walter

For now be lovingly embraced by your Peter

January 31st, Velbert

My dear Peter,

just a few lines! How much I feel for and understand your worries! Have no fear. All my dreams about our future are still the same. And I will try everything to realize them with you, believe me. As to the money my parents (my mother actually) are prepared to pay the return fare. But I will do it only as you suggested, because I know my father has enough money. If only I were already with you, then everything would be easier. I am waiting for more information from Cologne. At the moment I am completely exhausted; but I will soon answer all your questions. I am so happy that you passed your exams. Peter, I shall always be, God willing, a good wife to you.

I love you.

Your Biene

45 thoughts on “Chapter 38 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part IV

  1. Amy

    That reply must have warmed your heart. Can you explain the issue with the university? Did Biene want to go to school? Did she ever get the chance to go to the university? Had she finished her undergraduate studies by this time? I forget how old she was at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Finally, I get to answer your questions. Biene’s mother always wanted her daughter to be more independent. She was afraid if our marriage fell apart (as she definitely expected it) that Biene would have no security. So in addition to all the other pressures she wanted Biene also to become a teacher and take teacher’s training. Not only was this against our plan, but also would have been financially speaking a total disaster. As I pointed out to Mitza in German (next comment down), when our five boys were growing up and leaving their nest one at a time, Biene took distance courses with the University of Waterloo and earned a BA degree with distinction. Today at age 74 she is still working as EA (educational assistant) for our local school district and loves working with children. At the time of our crisis Biene had just turned 21, an age where she could legally make her own decisions. Have a great Sunday, Amy.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. taphian

    Irgendwie habe ich das mit der Uni und Biene nicht so ganz verstanden, lieber Peter: Du wolltest nicht so gerne, dass Biene mal studiert, weil sie sich dann nicht genügend um Eure Familie kümmern konnte? Konnte man früher nur mit Einwilligung des Ehemannes studieren? Ich bin froh, dass es heute anders ist. Schöne Grüße aus dem heißen Hamburg, Mitza

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Liebe Mitza, da muss ich doch dir einiges zur Klärung mitteilen. In meiner Sorge um unsere Pläne, die wir ein Jahr zuvor zusammen geschmiedet haben, habe ich Biene nur daran erinnern wollen, nicht so schnell den Traum von unserer zukünftigen Familie aufzugeben. Die Idee vom Studieren kam natürlich auch von ihrer Mutter, die wollte, dass ihre Tochter einen Beruf hätte, falls wir uns aus irgendeinem Grund trennen sollten. Übrigens als unsere fünf Söhne fast erwachsen waren, nahm Biene Fernkurse mit der Universität von Waterloo und erhielt mit meiner Unterstützung nach zehn Jahren ein Diplom (BA) mit Auszeichnung in englischer Literatur und Französisch. Sie arbeitet schon seit über 20 Jahren in einer Schule im Nachbarort, wo sie als EA (educational assistant) in der dortigen Grundschule arbeitet. Wie du siehst, haben wir unseren großen Traum, in Kanada unser Glück zu finden, verwirklichen können. Liebe Grüße aus dem schönen kleinen Ort am Arrow See.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Des

    Peter, it’s kind of funny that I can’t always tell what’s really happening behind the scenes, as I’m sure you weren’t. For instance, how much influence did Biene’s mother really have over her decisions? I’m sure you know the answers to all these questions now, but back then? I can see how your imagination got the best of you sometimes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Des, what you are saying is so true and should be some kind of advice for everyone in similar situations. The thoughts based on the uncertainties of life are rarely fit to comfort you. In hindsight everything looks simple, but at the moment of despair a positive attitude towards a good outcome might help a bit. Thank you, Des, for your valuable comment! Best wishes! Peter

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pure Glory

    Oh the worries and anxiety that comes through in your letter, Peter. It is amazing that Biene in a few short lines puts to rest some of your worries and reassures you of her love and commitment to you. When you are apart and communicating by letters, it is easy to have the imagination run wild. I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      You are so right. How much pain and agony could we have saved ourselves if we had had access to a phone. We could have clarified many a problem almost instantly. Thank you so much for showing so much genuine interest in our story!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pure Glory

        You are welcome, Peter! It is good you are writing your story. Your children, grandchildren, and others such as me, find it a cliff hanger. I am enjoying each chapter.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh Tiny, this story is full of surprises. So many unexpected things happened to both of us. When one reads the entire story from the moment we met on a campground in Germany, it is truly a miracle that we two got married in the end. Have a great Sunday!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Edda

    Ob ich so lange bei all den Widrigkeiten so tapfer durchgehalten hätte wie Biene? Ihr müssen doch bei so vielen “Gegenreden” seitens ihrer Familie fast die Nerven durchgegangen sein…Anstatt Mut zugesprochen zu bekommen, hörte sie so viele “Wenn,aber, und wenn es nicht klappt.. ” Und finanziell bekam sie auch keine Unterstützung..Das Gegenteil hätte der Fall sein müssen.
    Dabei war sie doch innerlich schon längst bei Dir und Eurem gemeinsamen Leben..
    Da waren doch Deine Zeilen goldrichtig, Biene sicherheitshalber in Erinnerung zu rufen, was für Ziele Ihr Euch gemeinsam gesetzt hattet -und zwar für Euch beide und nicht für die anderen..und davon ist ja Biene auch nie “abgewichen”..Das hat sie Dir wiederum sofort versichert..Ich finde,sie ist und war eine sehr starke Frau!!
    Liebe Grüße!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Du scheinst wirklich mit hellseherischen Talenten begnadet zu sein, liebe Edda. Wenn es dir möglich gewesen wäre, würde ich dich beschuldigen, unsere Liebesbriefe heimlich gelesen zu haben. In der Tat, wie du im nächsten Kapitel sehen wirst, sind der armen Biene fast die Nerven durchgegangen. Doch will ich weiter nichts vorwegnehmen. Auf jeden Fall danke ich dir für deinen lieben Kommentar, den ich auch gleich Biene vorgelesen habe. Es ist wirklich eine Freude zu sehen, wie viel Anklang unser Familien-Blog gefunden hat. Herzliche Grüße auch an Dieter! Sag ihm bitte, er soll sich mit den Kakteenbildern Zeit lassen.


    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Dear Luda,
      I thank you for writing such a kind comment. I read it to my wife Biene and she is always pleased to hear how this old story resonates with so many people mostly of the older generation. The blog is intended to be for our children and grandchildren, but some how has found many followers who identify with the problems we had to overcome such a long time ago.
      I do not know why WordPress had put your comments into the spam folder. It is another lesson for us to check every once in awhile what is hidden behind the scenes.
      Have a great week, Luda!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. PlantsandBeyond

    Hi Peter just left you a reply in the disappeared so I’m trying again. I was saying that it’s so touching the way your wife wrote that she loves you. Her laugh is coming right through the letter. You don’t hear nowadays very often for any about it to strive to be a good wife or a husband. What a great example to new generations. Have a wonderful Saturday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you, Cornelia, for your kind and insightful comment! Having rescued the lost dream I also felt so much better, especially after Biene had sent me her heart=warming reassurances.
      Thank you also for the good wishes for a summer day. Unfortunately, it is cool and rainy at the moment. Not the best weather to celebrate Canada’s birthday tomorrow.


  7. kopfundgestalt

    Very difficult, what I have read. As I understood there was no practical chance for her to study – also because you both wanted to have children.
    When the children left home she began to study very late. Did she miss to do that early on?
    One thing is for sure: Even by following your letters the last months I can’t fully understand your situation back then. What I feel is pressure, anxiety, deep commitment and a long time without certainty that everything will turn out fine, even with the strong bond of love..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Indeed, you appear to have a very good feel for our situation back then, even though there are so many things that people in the 21st century do not understand. This was not the time of instant communication. Also as my blogging friend in India once pointed out we did not live in a time of instant gratification, at least this was obviously not the case with my wife to be and me. Thank you, Gerhard, for taking the time to read this somewhat long winded story!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ann Coleman

    I’m so glad you got the reassurance you needed from Biene! Your love was really tested early in your relationship, but I would imagine that just made both of you more sure of your commitment to each other!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Good assessment of our relationship, Ann! Any crisis, problems, disagreements and disappointments small and big appeared minor by comparison to what we have gone through. But wait, the story has not ended yet …

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Bun Karyudo

    Oh, I’m so glad you added the short reply from Biene. I would have worried until your next post about how your letter had been received. Incidentally, I admire that you were able to reflect on such a complex and emotionally charged situation and then convey your feelings about it so clearly in writing. That isn’t easy to do. I was particularly struck by the line, “So your yes will also be my yes and your no will be my no.” What an elegant way to express it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Thank you for the generous accolades, dear Bun! I felt that I had to add Biene’s response to my letter to same post so it would not become another cliff hanger for my readers.
      By the way most of these letters had to be translated, which is not always easy when you deal with the complexities of life described in another language.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Bun Karyudo

        I can imagine. I’d guess they are very successful translations since the English reads so well. (Of course, I’ve no way of knowing how closely they follow the original German!)

        Liked by 1 person

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