Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 36

Peter Visits his Dad

Children in general are flexible and adaptable in dealing with the pain of separation and divorce their parents create, as long as they can live in a sheltered and loving environment with their remaining parent. So although I was initially missing my dad, I did not find it too disturbing that I was going through a major part of my teenage years without him. Now more than fifty years after my parents’ divorce, looking back, I find it outrageous that it took more than five years to see my father again.

Village of Michelbach, now part of Schotten

How Father met his second wife is shrouded in darkness. I could have asked him on my first visit about the circumstances under which the two met and came to know each other. And later on, when my father had passed away, his wife would have gladly given me a lot of information about it if I had only cared enough at the time to ask her. I was simply not interested. I had more important things to do than to dig into my father’s past. Having missed quite a few opportunities to find out an important part of my father’s life, I can only conjecture that he may have known Erna Krämer from the ‘golden’ years in Gutfelde, where so many people flocked during the war to seek refuge from the never ending bombing raids of the German cities.

Father’s New Home in Michelbach

Finally, as a twenty-year old young man during the summer holidays in 1962, I hopped on my used Miele moped and drove from Wesel to Michelbach, which is now part of the municipality of Schotten. At a maximum speed of 50 km/h, it took me all day to reach the scenic hill country around the Vogelsberg region. Father and Erna gave me a warm welcome alleviating immediately all fear that my dad might have turned into a stranger. I had departed from Wesel with these somber feelings, which had been building up due in part to our long separation, but also due to Mother’s bitter and regretful remarks that she had sometimes made about the divorce. So it was a great relief to be greeted so cordially and be welcomed as son and friend into their cozy old farmhouse. Here then I was going to spend the next six weeks, would become reacquainted with a rural environment slightly reminiscent of Rohrdorf, would get to know Father more closely through our philosophical and historical discussions, would begin to like his wife, would be introduced to her friends and relatives in the village, would taste her hearty meals albeit a little too rich in fat, in short I was here to relax and feel completely at home in an atmosphere of genuine friendliness and camaraderie.

24 comments

  1. Shepherd Cathy · February 26

    Ernst Klopp (1900 – 1964) and his Family – Part 36 On Friday, February 26, 2021, The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project wrote:

    > Peter Klopp posted: ” Peter Visits his Dad Children in general are > flexible and adaptable in dealing with the pain of separation and divorce > their parents create, as long as they can live in a sheltered and loving > environment with their remaining parent. So although I was ” >

    Like

  2. Steve Schwartzman · February 26

    I think we all wish that we had asked our elders about more things while they were still alive. Afterwards, so many questions are doomed to remain unanswered.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. kopfundgestalt · February 26

    I like this word camaderie!
    Im happy the encounter with your father and his new vwife worked out fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · February 27

      So am I. I am glad to have had the opportunity to see my dad and his new wife one more time.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Labby · February 26

    Hallo Peter, wieder ein sehr interessante Geschichte. Das kenne ich auch, da hätte ich meine Oma über die Kriegsjahre noch so viel fragen wollen und habe es nicht getan. Hinterher bedauert man das. Liebe Grüße nach Kanada und ein schönes Wochenende. Wolfgang

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · February 27

      Vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar! Auch zu dir die besten Wünsche zum Wochenende!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Robert Parker · February 26

    I enjoyed this cheerful chapter of the story, and that farmhouse looks great, cozy and charming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Stella, oh, Stella · February 26

    How good that you went to see your father and his new wife at long last and spent six weeks with them. That must have strengthened the bond between you again. I think that your mother was badly advised as far as the divorce was concerned., but that was hardly your father’s fault, was it?

    I have the same wonder about why I have not asked my parents some things, e.g. why we never ever heard anything about the family of my father’s mother; how our Danish aunt was related to us (if she was) etc., a strange lack of curiosity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · February 27

      When you are young, you live in the moment and by the motto: Carpe diem. It is my hope that one day our children and grandchildren will be happy to have a book about their grandfather and great-grandfather. Thank you, Birgit, for your kind comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy · February 26

    As someone who has been doing family history for almost ten years now, I can’t tell you how often I’ve wished I’d asked my parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents more questions. ANY questions about their lives. Children and teenagers are focused on the present and on themselves. And for you, there was also the additional obstacle of the separation. Five years. What a shame. Did you write to each other? Speak on the phone? I am glad to read that you were able to stitch back together a father-son relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · February 27

      Most people had no phone in Germany in the early 60s. The only means of communication was writing letters, which I greatly neglected at this time. How amazed I was when I rented a primitive room in Calgary at $20 a month to see a phone on the wall. America was far ahead of Germany in 1965. Thank you for your lovely comment, Amy!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · February 27

        The things we do take for granted. I can’t imagine getting through this past year without phones and computers to keep me connected to friends and family.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · March 2

        The more complex our technology becomes the more likely we can easily lose all the devices. Landlines are on the decline. Most gadgets today depend on the Internet and satellite services. One major catastrophic solar flare can destroy them all.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · March 2

        Now that’s a scary thought… And we eliminated our landline several months ago… Hmmm…

        Liked by 1 person

      • Peter Klopp · March 3

        It is useful to have them as a backup. When there is a power failure, we plug in our old phone and it still works. It’s worth reconnecting, Amy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Amy · March 3

        It wasn’t worth the money, and we never used it. I am fine with taking the risk of having no landline!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Edda · February 27

    Ja,Peter! In jungen Jahren fragt man seine Eltern meist selten ,wie ihr Leben verlaufen ist. Etliches,was mir von meinen Eltern,besonders meiner Mutter, in Erinnerung geblieben ist,habe ich aus deren “freiwilligen” Erzählungen.Jetzt würde ich auch noch meinen Vater gerne vieles fragen..
    Es ist aber doch schön, dass Du Dich entschieden hattest, Deinen Vater und seine zweite Frau zu besuchen.Ich denke, das hat Dir sicherlich viel geholfen und Dir Antworten auf Fragen gegeben, die Dich doch bestimmt in den fünf Jahren beschäftigt haben,in denen Du Deinen Vater nicht gesehen hast..
    Und Du schreibst ja,dass Dir diese Zeit sehr gut getan hat!
    Liebe Grüße!
    Edda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · February 27

      Ja, so ist es, liebe Edda. Wenn man jung ist, lebt man in der Gegenwart. Man macht sich keine Gedanken über die Zukunft und noch viel weniger über die Vergangenheit seiner nächsten Verwandten. Wieviel mehr würde ich heute nach all den Jahren über meinen Vater gerne wissen. Doch werden mir die Erinnerungen immer eine Freude sein. Vielen Dank für deinen lieben Kommentar! Auch haben wir uns sehr über deine liebe Audionachricht gefreut. Vielen Dank!

      Like

  9. Ann Coleman · February 28

    I don’t think you were unusual in not pursuing getting together with you dad while you were a teenager. That’s a typical attitude for a teenager to have, and a sign of their maturity which is totally understandable. But I am very glad that you finally did go see him and were given such a warm welcome. That’s a huge gift, to you and I’m sure it made him very happy too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Peter Klopp · March 2

      Having once being a teenager and knowing that one day there will be an interest in our family roots motivated me to write the story on my father. Thank you for your kind comment, Ann!

      Like

  10. I was lucky to be raised by both parents and I also have feelings of regret that I didn’t ask more questions when they were alive. When we are young, we think we have forever.

    Liked by 1 person

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