The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Category Archives: guest post

The Wonderful World of Cacti

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Wednesday’s Photos

Photos by Klaus-Dieter Barge

In my youth I once watched the Walt Disney documentary ‘The Living Desert’ (Die Wüste Lebt). It showed how the arid landscape after a rare rainfall literally exploded into a colourful display of the blooming desert flowers including the incredibly beautiful shapes of the cacti. As it often happens, the images gradually faded from my memory and all that remained was the idea  that cacti are nondescript plants extremely prickly and not exactly pretty to look at. Therefore, I am very grateful to my friend Dieter Barge who told me about his passion for raising and cultivating a large variety of cacti in his greenhouse. He kindly provided the photos of these marvelous desert plants complete with their botanical names. I turned the images with the help of a video editor into the short two-minute video below. Enjoy.

Halleluja by Leonard Cohen

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An Amazing New Year’s Greeting

For New Year our friend in Germany sent us a couple of videos of his family celebrating Christmas, enjoying an impressive fireworks display on New year’s Eve and of his wife Edda playing the Halleluja by Leonard Cohen. Edda is the granddaughter of my Uncle Bruno. If you look at the Kegler family tree, you will find her on Chart IIc. Never have my wife Biene and I received a more touching and more precious New Year’s greeting than this video. A big thank you goes out to Dieter, Edda’s husband, who made this beautiful recording! It is my hope that you like it as much as we do.

Christmas Tree Hunt in the Great Canadian Wilderness

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Guest Post by Stefan Klopp

A few days before Christmas our son Stefan and his partner Laura went into the mountains to hunt for our Christmas tree. He recorded their adventure on video, which I would like to share with all my friends who might not be familiar with masses of snow in our nook of the world in Canada. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone and all a Happy and Blessed New Year.

 

Kindred Time Travel Narrative by Justin Shaw

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Please note: Justin’s great-great-grandparents are my grandparents Carl and Elisabeth Kegler. Inspired by an account of my uncle’s (Günther Kegler) near death experience on the battle field in WW1, he wrote this highly creative piece and gave me his kind permission to publish it as a guest post in the Klopp Family Blog.

Kindred Time Travel Narrative

A deafening explosion burst nearby, sending a fountain of soil all around me. I fell to the floor, knocking the air out of my lungs. As I rolled over and gasped for air, another shell exploded near the trenches not too far away from me. Paralysed for a second, my mind started whirring through the countless questions that arose from my situation: Where am I? How did I get here? Am I going to die?

Yet, I had nowhere near enough time to think as a round of bullets caused me to dive into a trench. Spitting out dirt, I looked up through the smoky air to see a face looking down at me.

“Who are you?”

A young man in his early 20s wearing a military uniform peered down at me. I coughed, preparing to answer him, when I realised that I had just understood what seemed to be perfect German.

“What- what year is it?” I managed to sputter out, the words finding themselves without me having to attempt to translate.

“1917- what’s going on?” the German man shouted, confused. I would have answered him, but my mind was going through a thousand thoughts at once. I felt myself falling to the floor, but before I hit the ground, I was gone.

Gasping for air, I shot up to find myself half-asleep at my kitchen table, head buried in an old family tree. I picked myself up cautiously, half-expecting to find myself back on the Western front. I blinked once or twice, taking a moment to assess my situation. My experience felt surreal, but too lifelike to be a dream. Rubbing my eyes, I was still feeling remnants of the smoke and dirt that filled the air of the battlefield. World War I… Germany… Slowly things began to click into place. I turned towards the record of my family’s history and began to flip through the pages of information feverishly, looking for a clue as to where I had just been. Pouring through the text, I skimmed for any clue related to what I had just witnessed. Finally, something caught my eye.

It was a distant relative, Gunther Kegler. He had been born in Germany in 1894, and had joined the army at the beginning of WWI. In 1916, he became the commander of a machine gun company and traveled around Europe, fighting in many different battles for the Imperial German Army. Next to the description I found an aged picture. The man was much older than the boy I had seen in the trenches, but his face was familiar.

As I gently touched the photograph, I began to slip away again. I found myself back on the battlefield. Quickly, I threw myself to the ground expecting hails of bullets, but this time, none came. The battle must be over, I thought as I pulled myself up relieved. I began to look around the large expanse of land that had been home to the violence and human misery I had briefly witnessed before.

Trying to find my only link to this place, I scanned the scene for Gunther. As I looked around the battlefield, my eyes found large large craters from shells, and extensive networks of trenches carved like scars into the ground. My gaze came to rest on a large military truck. It was filled with corpses, a gruesome image. But my expression froze with surprise when I saw Gunther lying in the hearse. I rushed over. This didn’t make sense, Gunther didn’t die in this battle! What was going on?

“Gunther!” I shouted loudly. I ran over to the edge of the truck. He was lying still, and it looked like he had been very badly injured.

“Gunther!” I called again desperately. Had history changed itself? Was it my fault?

Gunther coughed gently. He was still alive! I pulled him out of the truck and glanced around worriedly. Nobody seemed to be around. Straining myself, I lifted him onto my back, barely able to stand under his weight. I began to slowly lumber over to the camp in the distance.

After struggling forward slowly for what felt like hours, I made it to the tents. Looking around frantically, I saw wounded soldiers slowly shuffling into a hospital tent. Pulling Gunther towards them quickly, I called out for help.

Weary eyes turned to face me, but I was already gone.

 

Works consulted: “The Kegler Tree.” The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project, klopp-family.com/our-family/the-kegler-tree/. Accessed 5 Apr. 2017.

Biene’s Art Work – Part III

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My Wife’s Art Work

Last week I published some paintings, which generated quite a bit of praise  and supporting comments in the blogging community, but they were somewhat dated and according to my wife’s opinion not all were worthwhile to be put on my blog. The lesson I learned from this experience is that I should always consult with my better half, especially when it comes to publishing  her art. To show that I am truly sorry I will present to you eight more additional wild life paintings and two portraits: one – a copy of a famous painting and the other – a copy of a photograph of the National Geographic magazine. Leave me a note in your comment if you can guess their origin.

Just click on any image to enlarge.

Biene’s Art Work – Part II

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My Wife’s Paintings of Wildlife

wolf2Duck3Peter889Blue Heronbiene105biene117Bearbiene115aWolf

In the third and final part being published next week I will present some of Biene’s portraits. Thank you to all who encouraged my wife to carry on with her art work! 

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