Growing up my father had a tradition. As we would travel back and forth to the mid-west, at each hotel stop he would grab a phone book. He would open it and look for any Finnish names he could find; Jarvi, Koski, Niemi, etc. When he would find one, he would dial the number and ask them if they were in Finnish. Success would often end with a long conversation with someone he had never met, and often would never meet in person, about their Finnish history. I used to think this odd or at least unique. It was only much later that I would find this would be common of Finns of his generation.
Why Start Blogging
The idea of this blog started on a recently trip to Ohio. I wasn’t sure what to do on a free weekend. A personal event reminded me of a store that sold Finnish goods during the winter in Lake Worth. I also knew that in the summer their shop would open in their hometown of Fariport Harbor. I decided to go for a quick trip to get some Finnish mustard and who knows what else.
What I found was a community of proud Finnish-Americans that had built a long standing community in Fairport Harbor since the 1900’s. They story was proudly told in the Finnish Heritage Museum in the town’s old police station. I decided to take a tour. What I found is what I think my father found when he would search the phone books, interesting stories of Finnish-American history. For me this was over a shared pot of strong Finnish coffee with pullä.
Why Finnish Not Done
Finnish Not Done has been a mantra I’ve used to describe myself. It started as a simple pun on words to state to people the background of my last name. The first time I used it formally was as my team name during a weekly pub trivia game. Oddly that night one of the questions had Finland as its answer. I should have seen the signs.
I plan to share stories over the next few years that I discover. While my father used to use the phone book, much of my searching will be done through the internet. I want to bring all these stories together, in one place and I want to put them into historical context.
I don’t think I’m the only one with Finnish roots that’s interested in learning more about a culture often ignored in New World history but still a strong part of it. Finns were maybe not front and center in history of the New World but absolutely they were there shaping things in interesting ways.
What follows are stories that are …
Finnish Not Done.