Yooper Birthday Wishes

Yooper Sauna

This is a sauna; pronounced like cow—sow-nuh.  I grew up in a very Finnish house and we took too many of these to count when I was young.  It was a Saturday night thing; you took one whether you needed it or not.  This particular model was on my father’s childhood farm.  Since there was no tub in the house until the 80’s, this sauna saw a lot of action!   In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where my family is from, it was quite common for people to sit in there until they couldn’t stand the heat any longer and then run outside and jump in the snow.  Maybe that sounds crazy, but winters can get long in the U.P.  One finds himself doing strange things for amusement up there.

Sara and Benny

This is my mom’s youngest sister and late brother.  Scenes like this were common at my grandma’s house where this was taken.  There was always company coming and going, lots of conversations, and laughter rang through the house.  No one would have thought it odd to suddenly hear music coming from the living room.  Since there were only a couple of channels that would come in on the TV, we made our own entertainment.  Can you imagine your children without technology for one day?  I know many who could not function.

Rauha, Tyne, and Snoopy

These two women were the center of our family, my grandma, Rauha Sylvia, and her sister, Tyne.  They had some serious green thumbs and everything they touched bloomed like crazy.  No matter what was going on, they smiled.  They fed anyone that came through their door (a trait I seem to have inherited), and never complained about wet or dirty clothes from us grandkids.  They were two tiny little women with hearts the size of Texas.  I will be forever grateful that I had these influences in my life.

So on this day, my birthday, I look back at these Yooper (U.P.) days and smile.  I hope that I will be an influence to someone.  I hope that someone will remember that I helped/fed/encouraged them when they needed it.  I hope that my children and grandchildren will learn to have conversations and be entertained without technology.  I hope that through my business I can help others in business reach out and work together.  And most of all, I hope that we continue telling stories of the old days and cherish those times.

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