Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Runeberg Choir Finland Tour 1930, Diary entry Thursday, June 19, Linnea Gord, Piano Accompanist

Back again in Vasa. We shopped this morning--went to shoe stores, clothing stores, "pankki" and markets. We also went all through the torget (market place). It was all very interesting--if you like that sort of thing. At one o'clock we had a banquet (they called it frukost - "breakfast") at Handelsgillet. That was the funniest and most filling meal we ever had. First we had smörgasbord. Mr. Carlson told us to eat plenty of that, because he was sure that was all they were giving us to eat. Well! needless to say, we stuffed ourselves, because smörgasbord fare is always so good, and there were about thirty kinds of meats and fish. We then sat down and waited patiently for the speeches. Instead, here they came with more eats - potatoes, meat and vegetables. Was Martin's face red! And how could we eat any more. We managed to swallow a few morsels and when we were ready to sigh with relief they came with dessert. As I once said - a trip to the graveyard followed the meal. We really did go to the graveyard and stayed for a while at the hero graves. It certainly was a beautiful graveyard. It just happened that it was lilac time in Finland, and there were many white and purple lilac trees in the graveyard. (Note by Laura Jensen, Spice Drawer Mouse: In the handwritten diary Linnea Gord has written "William Svenn is buried there." William Svenn was to marry Marie Malm but died in World War One. His sister, Regina Svenn Alskog, was a member of the choir.)

When we got back to town we went directly to Stadshuset and there had a short rehearsal. As we had been short of pianos in Marieham and Korsholm, here I had my choice of two enormous Steinway grands, and beautiful pianos they were. After rehearsal we went to the City Hall or Court House or whatever they called it (hovrättshuset) and went through that, and then home to our car to dress.

Stadhuset was packed for the program. Many, many people! And the program certainly did go off wonderfully, praises be! Our dressing room in back of the stage had big gold framed mirrors which reached from floor to ceiling, and there were also plush chairs and lounges. What class! Between numbers several of us amused ourselves by trying to attract the attention of the Somppi family. They were sitting in the park below the Stadshuset, and try as hard as we could we couldn't get them to look up. Finally we attracted the attention of a little boy, and he went and told them to look up. Then they saw us, and came up. After the concert we were taken to a back room where the reception was to be held. But the crowd was so large that they had to move all of the chairs and tables into the big hall--and here we had the reception and a nice time was had by all. They had a very nice program with a wonderful male chorus. My! how beautifully they sang. After the usual kaffee and kafe brod and speeches, Arnold got out his accordian and we began to dance. The floor was wonderful and we are always pleased with Arnold's music, so how could we help but have a good time -- and we danced until one o'clock.

Close-up of Linnea Gord from photo at Vasa Heroes Graves, below

At Vasa Heroes Graves,Finland 1930

Thursday, January 24, 2013

June 18, 1930: Diary by Linnea Gord, Piano Accompanist for Runeberg Choir Tour of Finland

We went directly to a private home, where we were served delicious coffee and cake.

We didn't wake up until about 10:30 this morning. We were told that the train would leave for Toby at 5:30 that morning, but for some reason or other it didn't. The train was moving when I awoke and I thought it must be around 6 o'clock, but it was 10:30 and here we were still in Vasa. We spent the morning and part of the afternoon walking around Vasa. Several of us went to the church and climbed way up to the top of the tower. There certainly were enough steps to climb--I don't remember how many counted--but we had a very fine view of the town from the tower. Afterwards the pastor took us to his home to show us his paintings. He was quite well known as an artist.

We left for Toby at 3:20 that afternoon. From Toby we were taken by cars to Korsholm. We went directly to a private home, where we were served delicious coffee and cake. We also sang for a while. We walked down to the shores of a little lake close by, where it was lovely. We went boat riding and had great fun. Later on we had dinner and then were taken to our car to get ready for the concert. It was supposed to start at nine o'clock, but there were so many people there that they had to move the benches outside and have an outdoor concert, and it was at least 10 o'clock before it started. Busses loaded with people from towns for miles around came. And imagine! a concert outdoors from 10 to 11 o'clock at night--in broad daylight! As a stage we had to use the porch, and when all the singers were on the porch there wasn't enough room for Mr. Carlson, so they had to rig up a box for him to stand on, and he had to walk a rather rickety "plank" to reach the box. Also, there was no piano, but in some way they got an organ there, and I had to accompany Blanche on the organ. They danced for a while after the concert, and we went home at about 12:30 in a taxi.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Part Two: Sunday At The Seattle Center January 13, 2013

I remember the 1962 World's Fair and can place myself there in little memories - looking out the elevator window on the way up to the Space Needle observation deck, seeing the Space Needle from the car in the distance, along a road from the old highway, between some trees appeared the Space Needle. And only a few more brief visual recollections. I would enter eighth grade in the fall. My camera found a few other memories.

Perhaps Stanley Ann Obama have noticed the Seattle High School Memorial Wall for alumni who died in World War Two? My camera found a corner of the wall as I looked through my photos.   On the wall top is some sort of scaffolding.

Seattle High School Memorial Stadium - on the wall is written

Youth hold high your Torch of truth, justice, and tolerance
lest their sacrifice be forgotten  (below are listed the names from World War Two).  The Memorial Wall was near the Hawaii Pavilion.                                                    
Below, the Memorial Wall, Above, the Memorial Wall 2013 and 1962

The Kobe Bell Pavilion appears to be where it was in 1962.  This was near the International Fountain.
The Kobe Bell Pavilion, 1962 and 2013

At the center, along with the Peace Garden near 133 Nob Hill, was a Poetry Garden near the row of international shops. On this row behind my sister and my friend who went with us my camera found an Arizona Information Booth, there was an Italy shop where I bought a mosaic bracelet. Near the Poetry Garden is a mosaic art piece in a wall. Well, Peace.
The Mosaic Bracelet I bought at the Italy Shop in 1962

Sunday At The Seattle Center, January 13, 2013

The Monorail between Experience Music Project Buildings - I took the bus up not remembering the monorail because my visits to the center have been rare

Since 2009 I have done volunteer work at the Pacific Lutheran University's Scandinavian Immigrant Experience Archives. Part of my inspiration for this has been a program early in the first Barack Obama administration for senior volunteers.

Before the StandUp Washington March for gun control from Westlake Mall to the Seattle Center on Sunday, January 13, 2013, I visited the Seattle Center. My thoughts were with 1962 and the Seattle World's Fair.

Stanley Ann Obama, according to historians, moved to Caspitol Hill from Hawaii in 1961 to attend the University of Washington Fall, Winter, Spring, 1961-1962. She got very good grades. With her was Barack Obama, a month old. It is unusual for Washington State to be where a United States President has lived. Older people who remember the 1962 World's Fair can place themselves where they afterwards kept noticing the Space Needle.

Can Stanley Ann Obama have attended high school games at the memorial field before the family moved to Hawaii? I learned that the deliberated choice for the World's Fair became the area with the Armory and the Memorial Stadium. The fair was partly a preservation achievement.

My thought is that Stanley Ann Obama held the Space Needle in her thoughts as a university student but only peripherally. Students focus on campus and their studies. I went to the U of W. On Sunday as I started for Westlake from the Center I realized I could get the monorail, I took the bus up not remembering the monorail because my visits to the center have been rare.

For me to volunteer at the Scandianvian Immigrant Experience archive was an desireable choice. Once I visited the National Archives at the Washington D.C. National Mall and glimpsed on microfilm what I was sure was my grandfather's passenger arrivals record. Later I made a microfilm copy of this at the Northwest Region's National Archives, which I found on the Sand Point Way bus line north of the University of Washington. During the 1990s and into the 2000s, I made microfilm copies of genealogy material. For others these were computer years, for me these were genealogy reference book and microfilm viewer years.

Another record I found, in the 1928 Seattle City Directory, was at 133 Nob Hill, my aunt Christine and her husband, Dewitt. Closest to this address now is the Seattle Center's Peace Garden.
The Peace Garden, 133 Nob Hill

My grandfather was the earliest of any of my immediate ancestors to arrive. It was 1881; (the spring after Laura Ingalls Wilder's The Long Winter). His earliest child, Christina, was born in Iowa in January 1892. In her mid-thirites, Christine became blind with glaucoma. Once I included the time I met Christine in a narrative poem (A Poem About My Father, Shelter, 1985, Dragon Gate Press) - but I had been mistaken about the American Religion she and her husband belonged to. Christine and Dewitt were not Fundamentalist, they were Jehovah's Witnesses.

The Sweden Pavilion, Still Used at the Center

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

1930 Diary by Linnea Gord - June 17th Malax, Finland

(Note by Laura Jensen, of Spice Drawer Mouse: When all the concert tour performances were over, Linnea Gord and her aunt Marie Malm were to stay for a whole month with the family. In this diary entry they were still housed in their own railroad car and on their way to more performances.  Linnea Gord is so happy to see the home of her grandparents, her mother and her aunt. In the photographs are the boys when younger, with Linnea's cousin Signa, who had come to the United States from Finland adopted by Linnea's Great-Aunt and her husband, and on a bridge, Farbror Isak - a building contractor.)


We left Vasa at 11 A.M. in a special bus for Malax! How thrilling!

After a ride of an hour and a half we reached Övermalax! Then the fun and excitement really began. There are quite a few in the chorus who came from Malax and they started saying "Here is where so and so lives" "Oh, I remember this so well" "Here is the school" "Look at the church, isn't it beautiful", etc. etc. Finally we pulled up in front of Bygdegården, the Malax Ungdomsfõrenings hus. An American flag and a Swedish-Finnish flag were floating above the gate. We were all taken in for keffe and dopp in the hall. There we met my mother's cousins - Bror, Paul, and Lars, very nice young fellows - Bror being about 21 years of age, Paul 23, and Lars 25. They took us to Farbror Isak's home - where we were to stay for a whole month.

The boys’ mother and also my great-grandmother were there to meet us. They were both glad to see us and my great-grandmother certainly didn't act as old as she was--91 years. She laughed and joked with us. Farbror Isak was away working, so we didn't get to see him until we came back again to Malax. They took us for a sight-seeing trip that afternoon. We went to the Övermalax store, where we had limonad and karameller, to the dairy and to the church, where a short service was held in our honor. After driving out to Åmminneborg, we again returned to the Fõreningshus, where there was a big dinner served. The minister, Rev. Malmsten, sat across the table from me and we had a good time talking to him. He is young and very good-looking. He took quite a fancy to Blanche.

We dressed at the house and had a good time laughing, getting in each other's way, and talking to Grandma. There were around eight hundred people at the concert. The hall was packed. There were no aisles, and if there had been a fire I don't know what would have happened. Luckily, there was no fire. It was very hot that evening, but Mr Carlson said that we sang better than ever. That was some encouragement! Perhaps it was because so many of us were in our "home town". After the concert there was a dance--also refreshments--and at 12 o'clock twenty-five of us packed in our little bus and drove back to Vasa. It was daylight all during our drive. There was also some funny kind of mist that settled right close to the ground. I have never seen anything like it before. We arrived at our Home - 2724 North Hobo Avenue - at about 2 A.M.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

1930 Diary Entry, June 16th by Linnea Gord


We arrived at the town of Närpes at 10:30 in the morning. There was the usual crowd of people to meet us, and they had a special bus - or busses - which took us to the Ungdoms Föreningshus where we had "kaffe o' dopp". After we had satisfied our hunger they took us for a sight-seeing trip. We were first taken to a monument and then to the church, where a short service was held in our honor. We sang two songs. We also visited the grave yard and the "hjeltegravarna". We were quite curious upon coming to the church to see a long row of little sheds. These, they said, were used for the horses while the church service was going on.

Folk Hög Skola in Övermark

Next we were taken to the Folk Hög Skola in Övermark. We had dinner, which consisted of fil and knäckbrod, served to us outside, and then they let us rest. They had kindly made up cots for us in the school house, and so some of us girls went in and slept for a while. There was a short musical program that afternoon and then we were taken to supper in Korsbacks matservering, and it certainly was a supper. My! How we ate!
We had to hurry to our car to dress for the concert. Our little rooms in the car are so little that we have to dress one at a time. I would hurry and dress and then Auntie and Blanche would do their primping. I usually was dressed first of anybody.

There were over one thousand people at the concert that evening. We had to sing outside because the hall wasn't large enough to hold all the people. It was rather chilly that evening, but we didn't mind it. After the concert we danced in the hall, with Arnold at his accordian. Our train left at about midnight and everyone went to the station - the first bicycle I rode on in Finland. I just wanted to try it, and it didn't hurt the dress a bit. It belonged to an American girl who was staying in Närpes.

(Note by Laura Jensen: Arnold was Arnold Koutonen, a choir member and an accordionist when the group danced; in an earlier part of Linnea Gord’s dairy about her trip, she describes dancing on board as they crossed the Atlantic, with Arnold Koutonen playing the accordion for them.)

Dancing on the boat, accordianist Arnold Koutonen

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

1930 Photograph of Linnea Gord from Business College Flier

Mr. Barger enrolling Miss Mignonette Erickson for a Secretarial Course.  Mrs. Spike presenting Miss Linnea Gord with a pearl pin as a seventy-two word a minute award from Underwood Typewriter Company.   (from a flier for Beutal Business College, Tacoma Washington, about 1930.)

Linnea Gord, the Piano Accompanist for the Choir Tour to Finland, had graduated from the Business College before the Tour Began.

Choir Concert Tour to Finland 1930 - June 15th


At 10 o'clock we boarded the boat "Borgå" and were off for "Borgå", the city. We had a very nice boat ride, and we had breakfast and dinner combined, for which we had to wait until we were about starved to death. A crowd met us at the dock, and the choir sang for us. We sang at their statue of Runeberg and then we went direct to the Hog Skola, at which our concert was to be held. The concert went off fine, although it was so hot in the hall that we almost suffocated. After the concert we went to see Runeberg's home. We were allowed to go all through it, and we saw his wheel chair, his manuscripts and pictures, the bed in which he died and many other things. It was very interesting to walk through the house in which, many years ago, the man for whom the lodge is named lived and did his wonderful work.

They took us all over the town that afternoon - to the church - away upon the hills. over meadows, etc. and we walked. The main streets are paved with cobblestones, and it certainly isn't easy to walk on cobblestones when you have high heeled shoes. We certainly were tired that evening. Last of all we went up to Runeberg's grave. There we left all of the flowers and wreaths which we had received at our concerts. We also sang a few songs. They whole crowd - it must have been the whole population of the town - was at the station when our train left at 7:30. We went as far as Kerova and here we changed to our special car, which was our home for a week. It wasn't so grand, and the berths were as hard a planks, but we got used to it. The number of the car was 2724, so we called it 2724 No. Hobo Avenue.

Folk Hog Skola

Home of Runeberg

2724 No. Hobo Avenue