The Peter and Gertrud Klopp Family Project

Reflections on Life, Family and Community

Tag Archives: Writing

Chapter 26 of the Peter and Gertrud Klopp Story – Part II

21

A Delicate Question Answered

Gertrud (Biene) Panknin’s Graduation Class – Who can find her?

On my 23rd birthday with less than a week left before my release from the military service, I sneaked away from the electronic maintenance job, which had been completed long ago and only existed for one purpose to keep us busy and to kill time. I sat alone at the table of Room 328. No sergeant, drillmaster or officer would bother me here. The carrier frequency equipment, for which I had been responsible for its smooth operation, was in top shape and my absence would not be noticed anywhere at the Falkenstein Barracks. I wanted to do something special on my birthday. The daily celebrations, the drinking and carousing to mark the remaining ‘glorious’ days in the army were not that special anymore.

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Endless Celebrations: Less than Ten Days Left of Military Service

I longed for quiet, a time to reflect on this idle Wednesday morning. I wanted to respond to Biene’s anxious questions and genuine concerns. Here at the soldiers’ simple living and sleeping quarters no loud talking and singing were distracting me, I found the ideal space to grapple with the contentious issue raised by Biene about faithfulness. It was good to know that Biene trusted me to provide an honest answer. I was proud of her courage to touch on the topic of sexuality, which we two had been too shy to discuss at our few encounters. I took out from my closet pen and paper and began to write down my thoughts. It turned out to be a very long letter, in which I, trusting Biene as much as she trusted me, did not hesitate to truthfully lay bare my innermost feelings. The following are excerpts taken from my lengthy reply.

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Peter and his Buddy at the Last Military Exercise – March 1965

“March 24th, 1965

 My dear Biene,

Yesterday I received your letter from Gotha. Your sister seems to have a rather strange opinion on men. I am glad that you broached the delicate subject of sexuality. But I found it a little troublesome  that you let yourself get so easily misled. But I don’t want to reproach you; for I myself had often to deal with opinions of young married and unmarried men who asserted that a girl could only be faithful and true to her partner, after she had gone to bed with him. Please forgive me this drastic manner of expression, but why should I beat around the bush? You see the accusations are coming from both sides. As for me, I refuse to accept any form of generalization, when people say, that’s how women are, that’s how men are.

 But now to your concerns! You would like to know how I think about it, dear Biene. Like in all men there is undoubtedly a force that drives me to the opposite sex. Yes, furthermore I concede that the drive is not necessarily directed to a particular person. Dear Biene, you must absolutely believe in what I am writing you now. Let no ever so bold opinion throw you off balance again, if you truly love me. Sexuality does not stand on its own, otherwise we would be like animals, but it is intertwined most intimately with the entire personality of the human being. There will always be tensions, in which we have to struggle to maintain the balance and keep this vital force under control.

 Whoever surrenders in this battle and needs to run to a woman to relieve his tensions is in my opinion a weakling and a coward no matter how assertive and self-assured he might otherwise appear. And in what comes now, you can totally put your trust. Since we love each other, this battle for me is over. I have been able to have this uncanny force coexist in harmony with myself. It is always there, lurking behind the scenes, surprising me at times, but it does not bother me any more. When I read a book, look at pictures, walk in the streets or watch a movie, it often and unexpectedly flares up, and then in full awareness of control I have to smile at myself. Don’t you think that one has overcome much, if one can smile at oneself? Do you still worry about me, even when I tell you that I am strong enough to wait for you and through you alone I have become so strong? As long as I can hope for the fulfillment of my ideals, which I have set for myself, you may chase your worries away. You stand in the midst of this sphere, dear Biene, whether I am in Canada or at the end of the world.

 How beautiful it is that we are so frank with one another! This will not only keep us together, but also bring us ever closer together. Do we want to show this spiteful world that one can wait for one another for years without so-called ‘side leaps’, do we want to, dear Biene, do we want to?

 Finally I would like to say one thing, your sister will one day have to concede that there are some exceptions among men, who will turn out to be ‘miracle men’. Now you will smile; thank you so much! Be completely reassured!

          Your Peter”

The modern reader may scratch his or her head over the outdated notions about love and faithfulness expressed in our letters over fifty years ago. Yet, in our mind they remain completely unchanged and have been our beacon of hope even through the darkest and most turbulent times in our life-long relationship.

 

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

1

A Very Basic Tutorial – Part III

Top User Menu

With this post I will conclude the tutorial sessions on creating and managing menu items. Click Part I and/or Part II, if you did not yet read them. I will use the ‘Klopp Story’ tab above as an example of the hierarchical nature of a more complex menu structure.

Hierarchical Structure of a Menu Design

As you can see from the tree diagram above, the ‘Klopp Story’ page (Parent) has two children (sub items) ‘Book One’ and ‘Book Two’. The latter is still empty waiting for the Grandchildren to be written. Book One has five sub items, which are the grandchildren of the ‘Klopp Story’. As the diagram indicates, I had to create seven pages all together. To avoid confusion, it is important to note that each page you create must have its own unique name.

Partial Menu Structure

In the ‘Menus’ section that you control as the administrator you find that your sub items may scattered all over the place in a fairly unorganized fashion. Click and drag the sub item ‘Book One’ under the ‘Klopp Story’ and move it a bit to the right to make it a Child (sub item). Then click and drag the Chapter sub items and move them a little more than before to the right as shown on the diagram above. Treat the ‘Book Two’ sub item the same way as the ‘Book One’ item. Make sure to save the changed main menu, when you are done. Please note you can experiment without fear of messing up your blog site, since you can always the Menus section later and delete all the undesirable pages. Happy Blogging!

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

3

A Very Basic Tutorial – Part II

Once you created a new page on your family blog (see Part I), it is actually quite simple to fill it with content from your posts. Let’s assume you just posted the first chapter about your grandparents. To copy the post onto your new page, e.g. ‘My Grandparents’, you follow the standard editing commands. Click anywhere on your post and select its entire content by pressing Ctrl + A and then copy it by pressing Ctrl + C. Then to the left of your post click on Pages and then on All Pages at the drop down menu. Then click on the list item that contains your page. Once you see the page on the computer screen, click at the top of the page and press Ctrl + V to paste the entire post content. Make sure to save the page before leaving it.

Now when you post chapter 2 or the next part of chapter 1, go through the same process, but make sure to paste the new content at the bottom of the previous post. That way you will allow your readers to read your family history in perfect chronological order.

In Part III I will introduce you to multiple pages and explain how to structure them to accommodate the various branches of a family tree. Until then happy blogging!

Creating and Managing Menu Items for your Family History Blog

3

A Very Basic Tutorial – Part I

The klopp-family.com blog is now in its third year. While I absolutely claim no expertise in setting up and managing a blogging website using WordPress, I do believe that I have learned a few things during the past 24 months that are worth sharing. Let me state right from the outset that the tips on organizing a family history blog are for the novice to help him/her avoid the common pitfalls in a genealogy oriented blog. This article is also targeting all those who are struggling with keeping a semblance of order  in their blog with multiple strands of topics. So if you are just publishing one genre, such as poetry, short stories, book reviews, photographs etc., then this post is not for you.

The first thing to notice is that your home page presents your posts in reverse chronological order. What you published most recently, will appear on top of the stack. So the readers who join you much later will be annoyed that the great chronicle of your grandparents or your latest crime thriller are presented backwards.

new-page

The remedy is to create at least one page for every major topic you plan to cover on your blog. For a starter let’s keep it simple. On a subsequent post I will explain how to create multiple pages and even sub-pages. Let us assume you want to embark on writing  your autobiography. For this you need to create a new page. You do this by clicking on Pages, then on Add New,  and enter the title, e.g. ‘“My Autobiography” and Publish the page. Unfortunately, when you want to preview it on your website, it does not show up yet on the menu bar. Go back to the dashboard, click on Appearance and then on Menus. There check off the box for the page you just created and press save. Now this page should show up as a menu item on your website.

Menus.JPG

On my next post I will demonstrate how to fill this page in the correct chronological order with the posts you created on your home page. Till then Happy Blogging!

Breaking the Code – Part III

7

 The Unholy Union of Success and Failure

img_1536

The Unicorn by Batik Artist Bill Laux

The new external disk drive arrived. Hooray, it worked! I was able to retrieve one floppy after another. The feeling of success after such a long wait almost created a sense of euphoria. After checking some fifty disks with all those enticing file names, I came across only one disk that the floppy disk drive could not read. Some contained images, but most had text files all carefully numbered by chapters indicating that massive amounts of research were hidden on these archaic storage devices. That was exactly what I was hoping to find. I randomly picked one disk and transferred its content onto my harddrive. In our era abounding in giga- and terabytes, we easily forget the times when we had to struggle to make do with 3.5 kilobytes, with which the Vic-20, the dinosaur of ancient computer world, came so equipped. Still if the content was merely text and NOT the byte gobbling images and videos, then an entire novel of 800 pages would easily fit on a floppy disk.

img_1540

One of the Dozens of Floppy Disks with Bill Laux’s Writing

Now came that long expected moment to get a first look at Bill’s writing. From the first list of titles I could tell that their content dealt mostly with the political wrangling over the building of the great Canadian transcontinental railway, whose purpose was to unite the second largest country in the world.

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Bill Laux Working on his Castle at the Arrow Lake in 1977

Full of anticipation, I double-clicked on chapter1.cwk. Like a lightning bolt out of the blue sky, I was struck by the ominous computer message on the screen, “Windows cannot open this file”. Upon further investigation, I discovered that the file extension cwk comes from the extinct word processor Clarisworks, which the Apple company had acquired in 1998, renamed it AppleWorks, but later on abandoned it after its final upgrade in 2004. Owning 4 different word processors, I was almost certain that at least one of them would be capable of decoding those archaic files. Having thus recovered from my disappointment, I loaded one text file into the queen of all word processors (of course, I am referring to Word by Microsoft). But its performance was a total disaster. All it could produce was a whole pile of gobbledygook on the screen. Similar results surfaced, when I tried the other three word processors. Great was my disappointment, but I was not yet ready to give up. How the story ends will be revealed in next week’s post on Bill Laux and his mysterious collection. So stay tuned.

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