Tuesday, August 26, 2008

First visit to Finland 1974

At one point, when everyone was still alive, I had about 63 cousins. Both my maternal and fraternal grandmothers were fertile and had lots of children. Fanny, who you can see on the right of this photo, had about 17 children. The last time I saw my cousin, Ari Laaksonen, was 1974 when my sister Katja and I went to Finland together. I was 18; Katja was 20. In this photo, I'm behind the camera, Katja is sitting between Ari and our mummo Fanny (our mother's mother). This is Fanny's tupa [living area/home]. You can see her muuri [heavy stone oven] on the left. The hella [range] part of it is out of the picture, but you can see the luuku [door] where Fanny would bake her ruis leipä [rye bread] and pulla [Finnish sweetbread], and make casseroles. Maybe kaalilaatikkoo [cabbage casserole]. Or perunalaatikko. Or porkkanalaatikko. [or potato casserole. Or carrot casserole]. Fanny cooked us a very large pot of klimppisoppaa [dumpling stew] when we were staying with her. She got really mad at us two girls when we couldn't finish the whole pot and accused us of saving our appetite to go and eat up the road, at our father's side of family.

Of course, we had an idea what Ari looked like because his mother, Helena (our mother's sister) had sent photos of her family to us in Canada. This may be Ari's rippikuva [confirmation photo]. I'm not sure, as I haven't seen Ari since I was 18, but maybe his hair is not so blonde and not so thick anymore? Just a guess. For sure he has a new style! Ari reminded me that his sister Paivi did not and has not lived in his mother Helena's house (as I mentioned last post). That Paivi has a separate house.

That summer we went to Finland we met a lot of our relatives who we had never seen before. Me in my halter top (I was an avid sewer as a teen!), Katja wearing a scarf, standing behind the counter of Maen Kauppa. The store, which is celebrating its 100th birthday in a few years, is up the road from where our mummo, Fanny's, tupa was. Fanny's farmhouse is torn down now. Gone.

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