Let me know what you think of this post. If there's interest in memoirs or letters of bygone days, it will be an option for guest authors.
by Anita Mae Draper
Mamma left a small book of memoirs behind when she went to heaven in 2003, so instead of me telling you about her life, I'll let her do it herself. One note though, Mamma's 1st language was Finnish and she carried a heavy Finn accent throughout her life. If you find grammatical and spelling mistakes (as you will) in the following account, please excuse them. I'm presenting Mamma's memoirs the way she wrote them... mistakes and all.
other books are in Finn language--
I'm not good in English--Never went to school--
only learn a little at home from my children--
Thank you Children
I have lots to write about my own life. But this book first goes to my parents. They worked hard all their life and--kept poor all the time--Why was this?
First my dad born when his mother died--
Grandfather had a good house and lots of land.
But when his first baby was born and mother died, he have to take a new wife and they had lots of children. So they told my dad to make his own house, so he did push land top of a hill --
No water in 3 of them ...
It took many years, could not pay back the money. There were already 7 children. Mother worked hard.
I was born on February 16, 1908, in the village of Kiteenlahti, Selateenmaki, Kitee, North Karelia. The city of Joensuu is the centre of the North Karelia region. There in my father's house I had a happy life until springtime, 1917. I was 9 years old, when everything was sold in Auction Sale.
My father was not home. This was the time of the First World War. My father went behind Lake Laatokka to work as a carpenter in order to be able to pay his debts. He had Eino, his older son with him. Then the war started and they couldn't come home.
So the man to whom my father owed money, sold everything from us--the land, cattle, house. But no one wanted the children! I was nine years old. We looked out the window, when three men walked all cows away. Mother cried. We had no place to go. The men put locks on doors, after we were outside of our home, so we could not get in again. Our neighbor let us live in a cool storage building.
My younger brother was only 3 months old, my brother Armas was three years. Between Armas and me there had been Jenny. She went to look at the cattle by the fence, and a cow picked her up with her horns and she died. I missed Jenny, but I know she didn't suffer all this time.
My mother worked on the fields, and I took care of the baby. My sister Aino was 12 years old. She was taken as a baby sitter for another family. She was also good at weaving the loom. When my father and Eino got back, Eino went to look for work in Viipuri, but my father looked around all summer for a place where we could stay for the winter. He found a very small house for sale at the village of Ruppovaara.
We moved there just before the school started at the Fall. I had to walk 4 Km morning and night to school and back. So I was able to finish my schooling and god a Diploma, when I was 14.
In our little house the two boys and I slept in the only bed. There was no room for another bed, so my parents slept on the floor. Spring time my mother started to do weaving. Father made a small weaving loom to fit in the corner of the room. Now my parents had to sleep right in the front of the door. The bed clothes had to be taken outside for the day. Father was digging wells winter time, but summer time he made roofs. I helped him summer time running on the roof!
My First Real Job:
When I was fifteen I had a really hard job with another family. I had to milk cows and wash clothes.
In that year I went to Church School It helped me alot. I forgot to tell that when I was twelve years old, there were Mission girls (ladies) in my village. I loved to go to their meetings. There are all kind of obstacles, when I didn't know, what to do, I prayed to God to forgive me all my sins, and He helped me all these years. I gave God my life, and wanted to please Him in every way. I became a Christian, born-again Christian.
At The Saastamoinens'
When I was sixteen I went to Wartaila. There I worked first for the Saastamoinens'.
Mr. Saasta-moinen was in charge of the railroad. They had three girls who were in school They also had a son, David, who was fifteen years old. He had a white horse. Every Friday he went with his horse to the railroad station and gave a ride to the men, who came by train to sel their goods at the Market Place. I took care of the three cows they had. I milked the cows, separated the milk and made butter. Mrs. Sastamoinen baked and cooked for us all.
At The Waananens':
For the summer the cows were taken to the pasture for from the Saastamooinens'. There was a woman nearby who did the milking and made butter, so they didn't need me anymore.
Now I got a job at another Christian work place at the Waananen Bakery. There were three girls. One girl was needed in the barn in the morning. Mr. Waananen himself usually did baking, but those days were no machines. Five o'clock in the morning we two girls did the mixing of dough with four hands. Then we let it rise. Next we worked the dough on the table and made rings on it. They were allowd to rise again and then boiled quickly and put in the oven. When the rings had baked to light brown color they were taken out of the oven and dropped into a large basket. After everything was baked we started stringing the rings.
18 rings were stringed together, that was one kilogram. I carried them to the storage room, where they were kept until the storekeeper got them out to the store to be sold.
Water Baptism At Lehmo:
I wanted to go to Church Conference to be baptized. The Waananens' let me go in September to Lehmo. When I cam back, they had hired a male baker and two older girls so they didn't need me any more. I decided to go home. My Sister Aino asked me to go with her to visit our auntie's place.
So we went...
.....And I found a man there.
1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds
1 kilometre = 0.6 miles
4 kilometres = 2.5 miles
"ticking well" = digging well
"18 rings were stringed together, that was one kilogram" = pretzels or bagels? I'll have to ask.
Since there's only one copy of Mamma's Memoirs and I don't have it, I'd like to thank my cousin, Nancy Lou Roy for posted much of this information on family genealogy sites.
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a 4-book set of Great Lake Romances by Donna Winters.
Why am I giving away this set? Because Mamma and Pappa eventually settle within a couple hours drive of Lake Superior. But that's for another day. :)
Great Lakes Romances by Donna Winters
Sweet Clover, A Romance of the White City brings readers the excitement and wonder of Chicago's World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, written by an author who attended the event.
Elizabeth of Saginaw Bay takes readers to the Saginaw Valley, 1837, where newlywed Elizabeth Morgan confronts the challenges of a pioneer settlement. Will she ever find true happiness in this untamed wilderness?
Isabelle’s Inning features a turn-of-the-20th-century heroine and her very troubling affliction that challenges her happiness and her future.
a fascinating post by Christa Allen about an 1840s Manor.
Christa's giveaway will be a copy of her novel,
Love Finds You in New Orleans.