Sunday, March 15, 2009

voi häikäle ~ for shame!


I've told you that I have lots of old books lying around, ones that catch my eye when I'm rummaging through tables of junk at rummage sales. This is the back cover of a book I bought a few years ago on Bay St. It smells a bit musty, like it was in somebody's basement or garage for many years; it was published in 1975. The text on the back cover says "Our cover photo is a photo taken by Osmo Viljanen of Saari village's Kitu bridge. There also used to be a mill in this spot, but it was torn down years ago." I wasn't sure when I paid the 25c for the book what village's history was written up in it, but I bought it anyway because it looked like it had some interesting memories written up in it, like "Mitä vaari näki?" [what did the old man see?" and "Kehdon ääressä" [beside the cradle] and "Muistattekos vielä" [ do you still remember this?]

This is the title page inside the book, which translates roughly to "for shame!" or "what a shame!" ...maybe. I think. I'm not that familiar with the expression voi häikäle! My cousin, Ari, will know for sure, though. My dictionary says häikälemättä means 'shamelessly' or 'ruthlessly' or without scruples. The subtitle identifies the Finnish town/village: Mäntsälä. It says this is a book by the people of Mäntsälä for the people of Mäntsälä, a book by friends for friends. So, this is a book for my cousin, Ari because he lives there.

There are photos scattered throughout the book. This one looks like a photo that had gotten partly destroyed so someone took a pencil to it and sketched in the missing part. The caption reads: "In the gardens of Kartano, the last picnic/amusement gazebo, which was torn down in 1933."

There's a section of black and white photos at the back of the book: "Photo album of memories". The caption of this photo reads "Church village matriarch Mrs. Niemi feeding the pigs 50 years ago."

Top caption: the view from the town's current intersection 50 years earlier. On the front right, Suomi's barn and Färjäri's house. On the left, the old KOP and then Tuomi's, Juseliuki's, and Perhela's houses.
bottom caption: Interior shot of the Jussila's of Nimmiste old-fashioned "tupa" or big room of socializing, eating and sleeping, too.

Means of transportation

Before automobiles

6 comments:

marja-leena said...

This reminds me of some old books of my parents, including one about the history of the hamlet near my maternal grandparents farm, with the old schoolhouse my mother, aunts and uncles went to. All those very old photos...

northshorewoman said...

Yes, Finns have always been avid in documenting their lives, their communities. No shortage of books, photos, tapes, or archives of Finns.

Where in Finland was the hamlet of your maternal grandparents?

Ari said...

First time in my life I see the word "häikäle", I have been asking many people what is häikäle, but no one seems to know. Unfortunately the swear word expert of our relatives has been in "air force" for many years, he may have known if "häikäle" is a swear word. When reading this kind of old books it is easy to notice that landscapes were much more vital in olden times than nowadays.

northshorewoman said...

so then, we have to go and find some of the old folks and ask them about '70s lingo.

This is the language of your place, so you must find an old person somewhere and ask them!

marja-leena said...

Pölläkkä is a tiny place in Savo, not on many maps anymore. Heinävesi is the nearest town. One of my uncles now lives on the family farm since retirement.

northshorewoman said...

Pölläkkä -- now there's a name to try out on the tongue! What does it mean, I wonder? Is it from owl?