Sunday, May 10, 2015

Life in Duluth (Part II)

Life in Duluth (cont.) 
He [Jim] started “kindergarten” at the Nettleton School near 6th St. and 1st Ave E. His good friend, Ray Skarbakka started school then too on the same day. This was in 1933.
That Spring, in May, my mother Emelia Tikkanen, died in her home in Oulu of cancer and other complications. She was cared for by her children, Waino, Elizabeth and Eino, who were at home. I couldn’t be there too much, as we had Grandpa and Grandma Uusimaa with us in Duluth to care for. Ike was on the road for the Brach Candy Co. But Jim and I were there for about a week before she died, Jim would bring her small bouquets of early wild flowers – he was her only grandchild. My mother was only 58 years of age then. 

In 1940, on the 4th of July, we moved to 819 E. 5th St to a house which we had bought for approximately $3000 – 25 foot, low lot. Later, we bought an adjoining 25 foot lot. It was a duplex and we lived upstairs.
Jim was rather disgusted at the move – he was then 12 years old and was to start school at Washington Jr. that September, which would have been close to 25 E. 3rd. And his “pals” were left there! One day, he even cried, as there were no nice friendly boys in the neighborhood. So, he walked a lot in those days to school and also to be with his old pals in the old neighborhood.

About 1938, Ike had our name legally “Americanized” to Newland. He had then quit the candy co. about that time, I don’t exactly remember the date. He worked then at various other sales jobs, also went into siding and roofing work for others and then on his own. Jim sometimes help[ed] on those jobs.
 My sister, Elizabeth had married Oscar Simi in Dec. 1939. They now have one daughter Myrna, born in 1943. She married Arthur Hase and has two children, Debbie and Kenneth.
 Dec. 1942, my brother Eino married Sigrid Korhonen – they have two boys, David and Rudy. David now has 4 children and Rudy has a daughter.
Waino married Irene Gronroos* in June, 1943 and farmed the old Tikkanen home in Oulu. Their marriage produced 4 children, Alice, Norman,** Brenda and Donald.

We enjoyed driving to Oulu and we always felt welcome there. The children seemed to like to have us come and we would often bring them, by turns, to town with us, as they considered that a “treat.” Not one of my nieces or nephews ever said a mean or sassy word to us – I have always loved them all.

Neither one of my brothers had to go to W.W. 2 – as Waino was both farming and sailing and Eino was sailing – ore shipments were considered vital to the “war industry.” In my estimation it took the war to get the country out of the depression in which it had been for many years. That does not speak well for our “Democracy.”

Jobs were difficult to find before the war broke out. Once my brothers went to the wheat fields of N. Dakota to work – for $2 a day and board! And jobs on the boats were at a premium – one had even to do some “bribing.” Waino once had walked past the man who was doing the hiring and slipped $5 into his hand – no word spoken. Next day the man had winked at Waino, among the men waiting at the “hall” and asked is anyone wanted to go on half a trip? Half a trip meant that you were left at the other end of the trip – no one really wanted that. Waino went, and sailed all summer!

There were “Hoovervilles” all over the country then. Jobless men in makeshift shacks, scouraging for food. Soup lines were long. People were near revolution – something had to be done – as granaries were full – pigs and cattle were killed to keep prices up – milk was spilled on the ground. (Man’s inhumanity to man.)

F. Roosevelt got in as President – and all sorts of government jobs were created artificially to quiet the population. CC camps for youths, planting trees, etc. WPA jobs for adults.

We managed “on our own,” I am glad to say. From childhood, we had always been raised sensibly and never felt deprived of anything.

*My grandparents!