The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Chapter 40 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

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calgarypeacebridge

Calgary Peace Bridge – Photo Credit: http://www.ucalgary.ca

Tackling a Delicate Problem

The Idealist is Voicing his Opinion

Conclusion of Peter’s Letter

Dear Biene, regarding children you found a seemingly good solution by suggesting that we should go and see a doctor together. I would like to broach this hot topic right away. The doctor will help you in no other way than to recommend to you to swallow that notorious pill. Allow me to tell you, dear Biene, why I harbour such a profound resentment against any such plan. Please do not consider me old-fashioned, when I launch an attack against this form of birth control, even though it is being hailed as a great medical success story.

I do not wish to talk about the obvious health related consequences at this time, but more importantly rather discuss the hidden psychological effects on our life together. In my view the interplay between tension and relaxation determines our creativity. Ideas are sparked by the inner tension and within the subsequent state of relaxation rests true happiness. If now by using the pill our relationship deteriorates into something rather common or even vulgar, where inner tension never surfaces and, if it does, is immediately dissolved, then – so it appears to me – our life will taste no better than lukewarm water. Therefore, Biene, let us be ‘old-fashioned’. Watch your internal calendar and if your biological clock is halfway accurate, we will find a useful solution. I strongly believe it would be far better for us to become parents than to lead such a distastefully ordinary life.

As to my studies you should know that I have practically regained the lost  years of my German army time by having started my studies here in Canada. Since I am taking senior courses in German literature, I am ahead of my Canadian fellow students in my academic placement by at least two years. So should I have to interrupt my studies next year, I could already expect to earn a fair teacher’s income.

My dear Biene, should I have used another hurtful word in my letter, please do not be offended, but let your anger burn and your wrath be directed at me.

Always in love with you,

Your Peter

31 thoughts on “Chapter 40 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part III

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      At the time of writing the letter, I felt it needed to be said what was on my mind. It was a bold move on my part being so open about a topic that was mostly taboo in those days. Thank you for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Stella, oh, Stella

    Interesting your thoughts about the pill. I hated it because it changed my body, so I stopped taking it. There were other means …

    Later on I found out that a friend of mine got thrombosis from the pill. She had to be taken to the emergency room several times before they got the idea that it could be the pill. And physicians don’t subscribe the pill to women who had cancer, they don’t even get plant hormones, isn’t that interesting indeed … 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Brigit, I am so glad that you lent your support to the young man’s ideas of fifty years ago. I felt at the time that hormones and artificial chemistry when added to the body would be harmful. Now we know that the use of the pill is harmful indeed and should be avoided as a means of contraception. Thank you again for your support!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. thecedarjournal

    Interesting… there is a generation gap here. How do your kids and grandkids view “the pill” or any form of contraception? Not tossing stones just want to see if there is a cultural and generation difference within your family. I know that among my women friends of the 50-60 generation I think most of us find it safe and that it has also resolved other hormonal issues. Better than abortion, although I feel it is a woman’s right to her body to make that choice not a government to make that choice.

    Ok… off my soapbox….

    Peter- For your generation to talk so openly with your future spouse about these issues is and was wonderful! Going into a relationship without talking about core values damages relationships from the start. Also the fact that you worked so hard to make up lost time and to really learn English in order to fit into Canadian life is admirable. I wish I had learned Dutch (or any other language) fluently when I was in college. But, then that was not the road I travelled.
    Thank you as always for sharing this personal story. I love reading it and it gives me hope that the world can survive the current isolation mentality.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      One thing I can state without hesitation. Biene and I never pushed our views onto our five children nor did we force them in any direction in terms of career choices. The question of the ‘pill’ never came up, but had they asked, we would have shared our views.
      Thank you, my friend, for responding so profusely to my post. Thank you too for praising my openness about a delicate topic, which was almost a taboo so many years ago.
      You live in Holland, your husband and all the people in the NL speak Dutch. I am sure that as the years go by you will speak it like your native English. Best wishes! Peter

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Amy

    OMG, Peter—although back then there were undetermined risks in taking the Pill, the idea that it would destroy your sex life is just beyond puzzling! Most women felt liberated not having to worry about getting pregnant before they were ready, and that made their sex lives better!! What a very strange notion you had—that somehow sexual satisfaction comes from the tension of taking a risk of pregnancy. I hope that life has taught you otherwise!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh how hard it is to understand a twenty-year old idealist of 50 years ago! I do not recall exactly what was on my mind then, but this much I do know. In my letter I discussed perhaps in a convoluted way the idealized world of a spiritual and intellectual creativity which was to be the focal point of our marital relationship. The sexual revolution and subsequent liberation from the fear of getting pregnant was not the topic of my letter. By the way, we managed to do well without the pill, raised five children, who are all doing well, and we enjoy our retirement now with the feeling that for us at least we had made the right decision. Thank you, Amy, for sharing your viewpoints!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amy

        I hope my viewpoint did not offend you. It’s just that for so many women of my generation, the pill freed us from anxiety (though I admit I hated the side effects back then—today doses are smaller, and both my daughters are on the pill, one married, one not). I guess I did miss your point as I did not understand how being on the pill would reduce creativity. I am sure, however, that Biene, knowing you better, understood. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Peter Klopp Post author

        Dear Amy, how can a different viewpoint offend me? Isn’t tolerance for other people’s thoughts and feelings the essence of a well functioning society, where bigotry, racism, sexism, etc should have no place? I respect your point of view and even in part accept and approve it. Knowing you from reading your blog I believe that you would agree with me when I say that the time has come and for me was already present when a husband takes on his share of responsibility in making sure that his beloved wife does not have to live in fear when it comes to intimate relations. The next post will offer a more balanced view coming from my professor of German literature. Thank you, Amy, for your comment! Silence would have perhaps offended me, but not your honest words.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Amy

        Thank you, Peter—you are a very kind and open-minded person. You are sharing something so personal that I wanted to be sure that I had not been insensitive to your feelings. I am glad to know I did not offend you.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. arv!

    It is difficult to digest for most of us but tempering with body systems and nature does have its cost. I’m glad that you took a firm stand even if it appeared old fashioned. Right or wrong is a matter of perspective. It is important to take a decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Some people downplay the danger of putting hormones and pharmaceutical substances into their bodies. Some medication is harmless, but most when taken for a very long period of time have often severe side effects. From our perspective we took the right decision. Thank you, Arv!, for your insightful and supportive comment!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. taphian

    Du kannst froh sein, dass Biene sich Dir untergeordnet hat, lieber Peter. Mich hätte es schon gestört, aber ich bin auch eine Generation jünger und wollte immer selbst bestimmen, was ich tue. Liebe Grüße Mitza

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ja, du hast recht, liebe Mitza. In der folgenden Generation in den siebziger Jahren dachte man schon ganz anders. Unsere Korrespondenz deutet zwar an, dass ich zu der Zeit eine dominierende Rolle gespielt hätte. Aber nichts kann weiter von der Wahrheit entfernt sein als diese Annahme. Die Kinderfrage hatten wir gemeinsam beschlossen, wie du auch aus ihrer Antwort auf meinen umfangreichen
      Brief später entnehmen kannst. Nun sei herzlich gegrüßt aus dem noch immer heißen Kanada!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Edda

    Ich denke, Peter, daß in Eurer Situation vor so vielen Jahren die Liebe zu Dir Biene wohl veranlaßt haben könnte, Deinem Wunsch nachzukommen, die Pille nicht zu nehmen..? Denn ihr selbst hätte es doch mehr Sicherheit gegeben, in der Zukunft selbst mitbestimmen zu können, wann Ihr ein Kind in “gesicherten” Verhältnissen aufwachsen lassen könnt.Zumal Ihr für Euer gemeinsames Leben ja finanziell beide sorgen wolltet. So hattet Ihr es doch geplant…Da war der Wunsch nach der Pille schon die naheliegendste Entscheidung..Das denke ich jetzt..
    Allerdings kann ich mich andererseits auch erinnern, (ehrlicherweise muß ich das sagen) , daß ich selbst in jungen Jahren dem Wunsch meines
    Mannes , Papa zu werden , sofort nachgegeben hatte und die Pille absetzte..obwohl ich mein Fachschulstudium noch nicht abgeschlossen hatte….Wir haben es nie bereut..
    Es kommt eben immer darauf an, ob beide Partner wichtige Entscheidungen zusammen treffen…
    Mal sehen, was Biene antworten…😀
    Euch beiden ein schönes Wochenende!!
    Edda

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Ja, liebe Edda, da hast du wieder mal den Nagel auf den Kopf getroffen, indem du sagtest, dass beide Partner wichtige Entscheidungen zusammen treffen sollten. Der Wunsch auf Kinder und auf eine richtige Familie war bei uns beiden von Anfang an die Grundlage unserer Beziehung. Doch wollten wir anfänglich warten, bis ich mein Studium abgeschlossen hätte, was nun das Vernünftige in unserer Situation gewesen wäre. Doch schon zu Weihnachten nach unserer Hochzeit im Mai, war Bienes Verlangen nach einem kleinen Peterchen zu groß, um weiterhin vernünftig zu handeln So hatten wir dann im September unseren kleinen Robert und haben es so wie ihr nie bereut.
      Viele liebe Grüße an euch in Deutschland, liebe Edda und lieber Dieter!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Des

    Peter, this letter has lead to many interesting comments from very diverse points of view. However, I read something entirely different in it. You already noted that the “obvious health related consequences” were not the issue you wished to address in this letter. I think it had more to do with your belief system and life itself. I think I’ll cut it off right there, and please don’t be offended if I’m on the wrong track. Either way, I very much respect your concerns regarding an important life decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Dear Des, you are definitely NOT on the wrong track. This letter was not to discuss the potential health hazards, as you and I said. Actually this rather difficult treatise (I must admit it is very hard to understand even for me fifty years later) can only be understood if one traces back my life’s intellectual and spiritual journey to the humanistic courses of classical German literature I had taken at the time. So even though I don’t exactly recall any more what these studies have given me, I know that they had a lot to do in the formation of my ‘belief system’ and the thoughts about life itself. Thank you, Des, for your excellent understanding of that part of the letter that brought about such a lively debate!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Tiny

    Addressing a ‘hot’ topic so directly at that time was courageous. I have a different view point and was happy with my/our choices, but fully respect the choices any couple feels is right for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ann Coleman

    I’m sure that might have been a hard letter for you to write, but honestly, I think it is good that you were being so open and honest with Biene about your feelings on the subject. Each couple has to decide what is right for them, and that also means that each person in the relationship has to be comfortable with the decision. The pill is certainly not for everyone, especially in those days when the side effects were something to think twice about.

    And one of the things I love about your blog is that you don’t shy away from difficult and sometimes controversial subjects. You share your opinions honestly without attacking anyone who believes differently. That’s a breath of fresh air in these troubled times!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Peter Klopp Post author

      Oh, thank you, Ann, for your encouraging words! I feel humbled and honoured by your thoughtful comment. I could have easily left out this letter to Biene from my blog. But why should I be ashamed of the courageous action of the young man in his early twenties, I thought. In retrospect, we did the right thing. We were blessed with a wonderful family of five boys, all of whom turned out to have a very successful and happy career and private life. Thank you, Ann, again! You made my day!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. PlantsandBeyond

    Impressive and sincere. Peter, you were only 20? Your way of direct communication needs to be taught in current society. That way there would be fewer misconceptions. Fascinating to read your follower’s responses, as well. So many lives, so many opinions And I love the lukewarm description. This is one of my favorite ways of describing certain relationships…..

    Liked by 1 person

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