The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Category Archives: Canada

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lakes

22

Wednesday’s Photos

Late Apple Blossoms

Almost a month late the apple trees in the Arrow Lakes region are finally showing off their blossoms. They are especially plentiful and promise in contrast to last year an abundant crop. I love their delicate petals, which remind me of the fact that the apple trees are actually related to the rose family. I selected three photos for this post. Enjoy.

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Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

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Wednesday’s Photos

Pussy Willows in May?

Last week I reported how far behind Nature is at higher elevations. Pussy willows are the very first sign of springs in our valley. They can be spotted as early as February. But at 1200m altitude they are showing their delicate beauty only now in the second week of May. On my way to Vernon I stopped by to have another look at Lost Lake where I had taken a photo of the Canada geese the week before. Enjoy.

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Translation of Mother’s Poem for our Wedding

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So many followers of my blog had asked me for a translation of my mother’s wedding poem that I decided to get to work. The poem is quite poetic and uses my wife’s nickname Biene (Bee) as a metaphor for her flight from Germany to Canada in 1966. There was no way to preserve the rhyme and rhythm of this wonderful poem. The translation therefore can only give a crude impression, but at least you will know what this poem is all about.

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My Mother’s Wedding Poem loosely translated into English

It whispers here, it mutters there.

It happened to my youngest son.

He wanted to study in Canada

to get himself a really good job.

 

The exams taken in quick succession

did not bother and confuse him at all.

Also what comes now is not a lie.

Something buzzing came flying to him.

 

A little bee (Biene) tender and excited,

of a very special kind was she,

flew from the Rhine on and on,

totally joyful and spontaneous,

sometimes high and sometimes low,

almost singed her wings, oh no.

 

From Montreal to Calgary,

tireless like never before,

the little creature totally exhausted

landed at Peter’s basement door.

 

Peter showing respect for any kind of life

did not leave the insect unattended.

He took care of the Little Bee,

stroking her wings so tenderly.

 

Indeed with so much tender-loving care

she turned into a princess without delay.

A young maiden well known to me,

he took her quickly to the marriage office.

 

On the 21st of May you will be a couple.

That is clear to the people in ‘Born, Germany.

Not too long ago Peter as scout lived in tent.

And now Biene flew to him in a great hurry.

 

Here are the greetings to all the siblings

from all the uncles and all the aunts.

That all may go well wishes your mother

from the bottom of her heart.

selective focus photo of yellow sunflower

Photo by Karol Wiśniewski on Pexels.com

 

 

Natural Splendour of the Arrow Lake

16

Wednesday’s Photos

Nature’s Progress in Early May

What a difference altitude can make when looking for signs of spring’s progress! The first image was taking only half an hour’s drive from the ferry at Fauquier at an elevation of 1200m. The grass has not turned green yet and there was still snow on the ground. But a pair of geese had already taken possession of this beautiful lake in the mountains. Down in our valley I took picture of calm Taite Creek, which shows yet no sign of the annual spring run-off. Deep in the dark woods I also noticed that nature was quite a bit behind in its normal development. The lonely tree stump at least 50 years old is in a state of total decay giving evidence to Nature’s eternal law that one must give back to her what one has borrowed at the beginning of a life cycle. Looking up I noticed the ‘candles’ of the pine trees silhouetted against the blue sky. Their vigorous growth announces that spring in the forest is also on the march. Enjoy.

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The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – End of Book I

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Epilogue

For our wedding on May 21, 1966, my mother wrote a touching poem, which she also spoke on tape. She was unable to attend the wedding. So Biene and I could at least listen to and enjoy her voice. Chronologically, her message belongs to Book III of the Klopp family chronicle, but her good wishes and heart-felt words are a very fitting conclusion to the trials and tribulations we had to endure before we could finally tie the knot.

The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Chapter XLII

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adventure calm clouds dawn

Biene’s Flight to Canada

“flight

1 a journey made through the air, especially a scheduled journey made by an airline

2 the action of fleeing, such as flight from turmoil

The New Oxford American Dictionary”

A Very Peculiar Itinerary

On April 6, 1966 Biene’s best friend Ulli pulled up her Mercedes at Elisabeth Street 9 to pick up Biene and her mother and drive them to the Düsseldorf Airport. Having taken the passenger liner Ryndam the year before, I was unable to give Biene any advice on the best possible airline route from Germany to Calgary. The Frankfurt International Airport  would have been a better choice. For it was then and still is one of the busiest travel centres with non-stop flights to all major destinations including Calgary. As it turned out, Biene’s odyssey with two stop-overs, one in Paris, the other one in Montreal, was going to be the last endurance test on her patience, which had already been stretched to the limit of her strength during the past twelve months.

After the final farewell and one last appeal from her mother to keep her independence (meaning not to get married), Biene stepped onto the regional plane to Paris. She was travelling light, although in those days airlines were far more generous than today with the weight of your luggage. Her suitcase contained only the most essential articles of clothing and personal effects. Perhaps her mother perceived it as a hopeful sign. The sweet illusive prospect of having her daughter back by Christmas had made her departure a little easier to bear.

In the late afternoon, Montreal time, Biene had just made herself comfortable at the window seat on the plane bound for Calgary. Tired and a bit exhausted from the long journey across the Atlantic and the tedious passport control by Immigration Canada, she let her thoughts and feelings dwell on the joyful moment awaiting her at the Calgary Airport and on the time together with me in our humble basement suite. She could barely contain her excitement mixed in with the fear of the man whom she only knew, except for a very few visits, through their three years of correspondence. Yet, it was a pleasant fear, as she described it in one of her last letters to me. She managed to calm herself knowing that the love she felt for me would overcome all fear.

Suddenly an announcement over the intercom brought her back to the immediate presence. In a calm and reassuring tone the pilot explained that due to some engine problems he would have to fly back to Montreal. When Biene looked outside, her eyes became glued in horror to the engine on the left wing. A trail of thick smoke was pouring from the defective engine. Fortunately, a short time later the plane landed safely, but caused a two-hour delay for the passengers on their flight to Calgary.

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Finally Together

In the meantime my brother Gerry (Gerhard) and I were getting ready to pick up Biene at the airport. The Chinook winds, which had brought spring-like weather to the city of Calgary less than a week ago, now yielded to the cold front chilling to the bones everyone who was foolish enough to venture outdoors. I was grateful to my brother and his wife Martha for providing accommodation for Biene until the time of the wedding. Biene seemed to have forgotten that this arrangement was part of the conditions we had to fulfill for getting her landed immigrant status. ‘Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis.’ Times are a-changing and liberally minded people may scratch their heads nowadays and ponder in mockery and disbelief over this old-fashioned provision by Canada Immigration of the 1960’s.

At the airport we found out to our great dismay that Biene’s plane was delayed by two hours. I admired Gerry’s patience for having to wait that long before he could drive back to his home in southeast Calgary. This being Wednesday he had to work the next day. And I had a psychology lecture to attend in the morning. Shortly after midnight we were standing at the gate, through which the first bunch of travellers  were passing and were being received with cheerful hellos from friends and relatives. As their number dwindled to a trickle and the flight attendants were marching through the gate, Gerry noticed the grave expression on my face and in his own peculiar way to cheer me up remarked matter-of-factly, “Don’t worry, Peter. Biene is not coming.”

He had barely finished teasing me, when a figure, rather slim and bundled up in a black coat emerged all alone in the doorway. The fluorescent light gave her a pale appearance. But her smile upon seeing me was unmistakably Biene’s. Weaving our way through the remaining stragglers we approached each other faster and faster like driven by powerful magnets feeling the overwhelming forces of attraction every step of the way. Then we embraced and kissed each other, while Gerry looked on amazed at the sheer length of time we took just to say hello.

So it came to pass that exactly one year after we had kissed each other good-bye in Germany, Biene and I were wondrously reunited at the Calgary Airport.

End of Book I

Elizabeth Gauffreau

Fiction Author

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