From Left to Right: Helga Kegler, Aunt Mieze, Mother, Biene, Peter and my Sister Eka –
Waiting for a Sign of Life from Biene
A Unique Kind of Love – Part 2
In April of 1965, Biene’s parents gave her permission to see me one last time, before I emigrated to Canada. It surprised me at the time that they were so generous as to grant her several days to be with me. Later on it dawned on me that they were not counting on our relationship to last with such a long period of separation that lay ahead of us. So a little bit of generosity would help to sweeten for her the farewell, which they expected to be the beginning of the end of her relationship with me.
Old Mill at Watzenborn-Steinberg (Pohlheim) – 1965
Our rendezvous gave us the last opportunity to be close together at my mother’s place, to feel each other’s presence on our walks over the greening fields, and to hold hands while contemplating our future in blissful anticipation in front of the historic mill in Watzenborn-Steinberg. Experiencing the pleasures of an occasional kiss, given shyly, yet so passionately generated a deeply felt longing, which was to colour and penetrate the sentiments in our correspondence during our year-long separation. But for their ultimate fulfilment these tender feelings had to wait on the back burner of Father Time, while our fervently written letters brought us nearer to each other on a much higher plane than possible in any other way.
When problems suddenly and unexpectedly sprang up from parental opposition to our wedding plans, our love as if by divine order was tested to the very limits and almost to the point of despair. The crisis also brought to light the two different ways of handling a given problematic situation. Biene was always trying to see the other side, feeling empathy even for people who opposed her decisions, and showing flexibility and openness for alternate solutions and compromises. By contrast, guided by a mathematical mind set, I perceived in human relationships the need to connect two events in the shortest possible manner, deciding on a carefully planned course of action, and once perceived as the right path pursuing it tenaciously and yes, I admit, often stubbornly. While each way has its own peculiar strengths and weaknesses, containing a recipe for rocky and often turbulent times to come, the benefits far outweigh the negative aspects. As it turned out in the end the two opposite characteristics merged in a complementary fashion to pave the way to a successful marriage.
Waiting for a Sign of Life from Biene
“The nature of the epistolary genre was revealed to me: a form of writing devoted to another person. Novels, poems, and so on, were texts into which others were free to enter, or not. Letters, on the other hand, did not exist without the other person, and their very mission, their significance, was the epiphany of the recipient.”
― Amélie Nothomb, Life Form
Peter and Biene – On their last Rendezvous in Germany April 1965
A Unique Kind of Love – Part 1
Looking back at our story of over fifty years ago, I do not hesitate one moment to assert that the kind of love between Biene and me, evolving at a snail’s pace over a period of four years has been rather unique among the more common ‘boy-meets-girl’ relationships. Before Biene broke lose from her parental ties and finally joined me in Canada to become my wife, we had met only six times. These were very short visits not longer than half a day for most of our encounters.
In the judgment of society’s accumulated wisdom on love relationships there was not enough time to really get to know each other. The verdict on our chances to succeed would have been abundantly clear. Considering that we did not have the time to test the turbulent waters of a future joint venture such as marriage, our plans to marry would have been declared as doomed to failure right from the very beginning. Being confronted with a seemingly insoluble mystery, one feels compelled to search for an explanation.
My dear readers of the Klopp family blog, who have been following me for quite some time, you already know at least in part the reason for the happy end to our story. Hundreds of letters have been travelling back and forth, first within Germany, then between Canada and Biene’s hometown, then between Calgary and Didsbury, and last but by no means least again between Canada and Velbert. I published a few of these heart-felt letters to give my readers a sense of the nature of our most unusual epistolary relationship. On my next post I will attempt to throw some light on the manner in which Biene and I differ when confronted with complex issues in a time of crisis.
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.