Sunday, April 26, 2009


Once upon a time a sami family from Finland emigrated to America. One of the daughters was my great grandmother, also a hex. She worked as an waitress and met my great grandfather. They had a farm and my grandmother was born. My great grandfather inherrited a farm in Finland so they moved back. My grandmother married a charming but bad man, against the will of her parents. My grandfather. During the war she escaped with her children into Sweden and married another man. And converted to Jehovas witnesses. I remember this much from what my aunt told me. I was most interested in the part that my great grandmother was an hex too. Do I remember it wrong if I think it was Michigan they made their American farm in? I wonder if I still have relatives back there. Did my great grandmother have sisters who stayed back there and who had daughters and granddaughters?

Now when I have researched finns in Michigan a little I just have to cite this slightly racist remark the folklorist, Richard Dorson made about the finn emigrant community in his classic Blood Stoppers and Bear Walkers:
The coming of the Finn has rocked the north woods country. He is today what the red man was two centuries ago, the exotic stranger from another world. In many ways the popular myths surrounding the Indian and the Finn run parallel. Both derive from a shadowy Mongolian stock - ‘just look at their raised cheek-bones and slanting eyes.’ Both possess supernatural stamina, strength, and tenacity. Both drink feverishly and fight barbarously. Both practice shamanistic magic and ritual, drawn from a deep well of folk belief. Both are secretive, clannish, inscrutable, and steadfast in their own peculiar social code.

It tells me something of how the finns were recieved if nothing else. It is not at all stange to me now that my great grandmother and her husband decided to go home to Finland again. My aunt said that my great grandmother missed the genius loci of her homeland. I guess it was like me missing the Torne river now.

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