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(Väyrysniitti, Joulutervehdys 2023)

Lillian and I know each other because either you, Taisto or Juhani told us about her when we were in Finland in, I think, 2012. As we both then lived in California, we met her when we were headed north on a RVing trip. When she got out of the car in Ukiah, Gus exclaimed, "She looks more like you than your sister!" It is true.

When she was here, we looked up my ancestry on 23 and Me as her sister Judy has done her ancestry on it. Looking up her sister, we found out we are 4th cousins. We are in many ways alike in our interests and energy level. At one time in Lake Norden, South Dakota, she lived next door to my Koisti relatives. Saima Koisti was my mother's sister.

Lillian went to college in northern Michigan at what was then called Soumi College. Later it was called Finlandia College and this spring it graduated its last class and closed. In the same place are the Finland Archives and Lillian had a trunk full of genealogy information on her Hioka and Wayrynen relatives.

We now live in Traverse City, Michigan. It is a really beautiful place. If you Google "pictures of Traverse City" you will see pictures that accurately show what it is like. We moved here two years ago as we were weary of worrying about fire and water all the time in California. Neither are a concern here. We knew of Traverse City because my sister and mother lived here. They are both gone now. We live in an amazing and beautiful senior facility called Cordia (

Fall has definitely started this week. We went from the low 80s down to 50s and 60s which will quickly change the colors of the trees. Then comes snow which we do not like, especially after over 50 years of good California weather with never a flake of snow.

I would be happy to contribute some money to the Wayrynen organization, but the last time I did that it caused you great inconvenience. Is there a way to make a contribution that is easily converted to Euros or whatever has to be done?

Hope all is well with you. Judy Maynard

I met Judith and her husband several years ago when they visited me in California. We often correspond. Then I had the opportunity to visit them in Michigan when I traveled there in September. They live in a wonderful retirement building.

Are ready for winter? Greetings to you and Maarku, Lillian

My Discovery of Finns in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley
(Väyrysniitti, Joulutervehdys 2022)

In the fall of 2021 I learned the existence of a Scandinavian Association in my city of Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Since my mother was half Swedish (her mother’s parents from southern Sweden) and half Finnish (her father’s parents from Oulu County, Finland, and the Finnish-speaking Tornio valley of Sweden), I said, “Why not?”, and signed up for the Christmas dinner at a local restaurant.

I had known here in Abbotsford a Finn from Karelia, Peter Nousiainen. It was he who translated Väyrysniitti for me for several years. But the last time I tried to contact him neither his email nor phone number were in service. Since he was elderly and in ill health, my guess is that he has gone to meet his Maker.

Were there any other natives of Suomi here?

The Christmas dinner was pleasant – naturally, it was the festive season – although I knew no one. I did make acquaintances, however. Most of the diners were Danish or descendants of Danes, it seemed to me. I asked whether there were any Finns who were members of the association, and one lone fellow was pointed out to me at a different table. Well, it didn’t take me long to rush over to him and spout one of the few things I know in Finnish: Hyvää Joulua, with the best accent I could manage. He obviously understood, because he started to speak to me in Finn! I had to apologize and introduce myself. He told me his name was Erkki and that he spoke little English. And that was the end of our contact that year.

In mid-October of this year there was another dinner put on by the Scandinavian Association, and this time the theme was Finland! I made myself a name tag showing the Finnish flag with the words “One quarter Finn” superimposed on it. Only a few minutes after arriving, who should approach me but Erkki (Lehtonen, I learned), followed by his adult daughter Anne who was wearing the costume of one of the Finnish regions. She, born in Canada, has only a slightly greater knowledge of her father’s language than I. They insisted that I sit between them at the table, and so I did. Erkki is not a chatterbox, but Anne makes up for that, and we had a good time. She also pointed out to me a Finnish couple at a table across the room. I’ll have to make their acquaintance at the next dinner.

So, there are indeed Finns in the Fraser Valley!
Linda Reverchon

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