Ernst Klopp (1900 -1964) and his Family – Part 35

Separation and Divorce

Great was my joy, when Father arrived. After two years of living only with Mother and Aunt Mieze this was a welcome change for me. What I didn’t know at the time was that my parents were drifting apart due to circumstances beyond their control. Mother having no employable skills had allowed herself to be bound completely to Aunt Mieze’s generous arrangement by taking over the housekeeping duties in exchange for room and board, all expenses for herself and me. Father suffering from periodic back pains and other health issues could no longer find meaningful employment. His former administrative talents in agriculture were not in demand, especially not in the city of Wesel. Mother expected him to take up any employment. Even sweeping the streets or working for the sanitation department would have been all right in her eyes, she once confided to me. So as time went on, Father was facing a dilemma, either to continue to depend on Aunt Mieze’s charitable hospitality or to seek work completely out of line with his agricultural expertise.

Peter Playing Chess with a Friend

But while he stayed with us, half a year or more, he did his best to create a sense of togetherness between himself and me, a kind of late bonding between father and son. He took great interest in my studies at the high school. He had heard of my difficulties in Latin and devised a motivational scheme to help me with grammar and vocabulary, which he himself had never learned. He also noticed that if I did get into trouble at school or at home it was primarily due to the fact that I, often wrapped up in my dream world, lost track of time. His plan, which I immediately embraced with great enthusiasm, was that I should earn my very first watch by studying Latin with him. For every exercise from my text-book, for every successfully completed vocabulary drill, for each translation into Latin he awarded me one point and recorded it meticulously with date and type of work into a little writing booklet. Once I had obtained the grand total of 500 points, he would give me the promised brand-new watch. When he left, I was not only the proud owner of a watch, but also more importantly my marks in Latin had soared to the second highest level one could get on the report cards. Moreover, I had accumulated so much knowledge that I was coasting along for four more high school years before slipping back to the more common satisfactory standing. It was also during Father’s short stay that he taught me how to play chess. His legacy was not only that I had developed a lasting passion for the ancient language of the Romans and the royal game of chess, but also that I harbour only the fondest memories of my father. Little did I know that I was not going to see him again for six long years.

Mother, Aunt Maria and Peter

Father feeling useless and totally dependent left our apartment one day, perhaps with the decision never to come back. Not long after his departure, my mother being prodded to act by Uncle Günther initiated divorce proceedings. She must have felt very secure with her sister providing the means for a comfortable living. So to accelerate the rather lengthy process of divorce prevalent in the German bureaucracy, she waived all her rights for support and governmental  assistance programs associated with her marriage with Ernst Klopp. This turned out to be a grave error in judgment. Later down the road after an initial period of pleasant living, after her sister Maria passed away, she became virtually penniless and had to spend the rest of her life in a senior citizen home run by the welfare department.

20 thoughts on “Ernst Klopp (1900 -1964) and his Family – Part 35

  1. Es war eine so schwere Zeit.Jeder versuchte täglich,sich im Alltag nützlich einzubringen.Deine Mutter hat sich aufgeopfert und hart gekämpft. Dein Vater war physisch und psychisch sehr angeschlagen. Er konnte sicher auch nicht verwinden, dass er seine einst so verantwortungsvolle Arbeit verloren hatte.
    Ich finde es ganz rührend,wie er sich um Dich gekümmert hat.Und Ihr beide habt ja auch so schöne Erfolge für Dich erzielt.
    Es ist wirklich traurig , dass es zur Scheidung Deiner Eltern kam.Aber es gibt eben in manchen Situationen nicht viele Alternativen…Deine Mutter hat auch so viel kämpfen müssen.Ihre Entscheidung hat sie sich reiflich überlegt.
    Sicher wäre ein Weiterführen dieser Ehe für beide unglücklich gewesen..

    Liebe Grüße!!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ach, liebe Edda, du schreibst immer so liebe Kommentare. Und du hast recht. Trotz dieser tragischen Entwicklung bin ich so dankbar, dass ich eine wunderbare Zeit mit meinem Vater verbringen durfte. Morgen gehe ich auch gewiss auf deine liebe Mail ein und die wunderbaren Winterbilder von Dieter.


  2. Peter, although, this was a tough time for your family, how good that you got some time to get some happy memories with your father. Learning to play chess has given you pleasure over the years with many others. We never know what is coming around the next bend but we can know God cares for us.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is good for you to have the fond memories of your father, nothing can take that away.
    I don’t really understand, why a divorce was necessary, especially because at that time women were not very well protected by law. And why would your uncle press for it, I wonder.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Perhaps he had other motives. As it turned out, he rented a house where the three siblings, my mother, my aunt and my uncle with his wife later on lived together. It is just a hunch. There were perhaps other reasons.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That really was poor judgment. She must have really wanted the marriage dissolved. Yet she never remarried so she certainly had no reason to rush. But people do things for the strangest reasons. Will we learn more about what happened to your father? His story is so very sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. This is just heartbreaking! Not only for your father, who must have felt so helpless as a provider and yet still found a way to help you, but for your poor mother, who endured so much with such strength and then made one bad decision that had such profound and devastating effects on her senior years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • More than half a century have passed since all these events took place. It is part of our family history. I feel no embarrassment after all these years. Thank you for finding praise for my courage to share our story, Ankur!

      Liked by 1 person

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