Gunnel Norlund-White, born in Finland, was 64 years old when interviewed by Lynn-Eve Davis in 1999.
I thought I would start with a little bit about the location of my birth and the history that’s influenced our thinking here on the island. Aland is located just above the 60th parallel, about mid‑Hudson Bay, if you think about the north american continent. And, even so it has a fairly warm climate with even some rare, tropical plants.
It’s not one, but a group of islands of about 6,600 to be exact, and about 25,600 inhabitants. The language is officially Swedish, and what’s spoken is Swedish. Basically, that’s the only language you hear here on the island. Tourism, fishing, and special vegetable and fruit growing, plus all of the other small businesses that we have all over the islands is what people make their living on. There’s about 750 small businesses. Then, of course, the boat registries that make this island very wealth.
Aland is a province in the country of Finland, but it has its’ own government and its’ own laws. That is those matters that Aland is capable of self‑governance otherwise it’s under Finnish law. An example is the Supreme Court cases. Aland has it’s own flag since 1954. It had its’ own flag before that too, but it wasn’t legal ‑ for about 32 years. It’s always been a very independent group of islands. It has its’ own identity written right into the national anthem, as you might call it, for the Aland Islands. It has its’ own postal system, since 1984 and it’s own citizenship which governs land purchase and use of land. And this is a means to preserve the waterfront properties especially. The main religion is Lutheran, primarily, and it’s a state church. The state and church is one here in Finland and on Aland. The religion is also a course of study in all the schools, and baptism, confirmation, and so on is a source of state registration as well as a religious ceremony. Its’ church records are official records.
The ferry traffic between Sweden, Finland and the Baltic countries is plentiful. The car ferries are luxury liners and have passenger capacity 1,200 ‑ 3,000 passengers per ferry with entertainment and shopping and so on. Aland is one of the only tax‑free ‑ it is from July 1, the only tax‑free area of all the countries of the European Union. This is both good and bad. It’s very cheap to travel on the ferry ‑ it’s about $5 round trip for a 5‑hour ride. And, many of these shipping registries here on the island are not just passenger service, but also services for freight from all over the world. And colleges and so forth, there are many schools, are directed towards jobs at sea. The sea has always been the source of income, which means that men were often out at sea long periods of time, and women (I should say the core of the family) they raised their families, and farmed the land, and made decisions, and were very independent.
Aland had its’ first inhabitants arrive around the Stone Age period. There were only a handful of islands at that time emerging out of the sea. Aland is still growing, about ½ centimeter per year. Hethonism, the Viking age, and Catholicism, and then Lutheranism, have been a part of the grown. All of the churches except for the church in Marieham were built under the age of Catholicism ‑ years 1100 to about 1450. The Lutheran information reached Aland about 1450, and then Catholicism was looked upon as a witchcraft. And the beautiful wall paintings were painted over, they are now restored, but they were painted over at that time so they would not be seen. Many of the ceremonies from that age has lived on in the churches.
Some dates that have been, and are still with the populations here, have changed Aland many a time. Changed hands between different countries several times, there’s been many a war, and many times where the people have fled the islands and returned.
Since the Aland islands are placed in such a strategic place between Sweden and Finland, it’s like a bridge between the two countries; it’s often been fought over. And, just to name a few dates from the past: until the year 1634 it was a part of Sweden, and until 1714, when there was a big unsettlement, or unpeaceful age, not really a war, that entered the islands. During that time, about 1714, six thousand inhabitants, almost all of the ones that lived on the islands then escaped to Sweden due to the Russian invasions. They returned 7 years later to the islands only to find that there was nothing left, everything had been burned down and destroyed ‑ that was 1721. 1741 the Russians once more occupied, and the people escaped again, but not such large numbers and not for such a long time. And, then this time, apparently they had had enough when they came back and they started fighting off the Russians on their own territory. What happened was that the Russians with about 7,000 men and took over the islands, and the islands became Russian from about 1809 and they were still under Russian rule 1917, which meant that my grandparents were born under Russian rule.
The people on the Aland islands fought very hard during 1917 to 1921 to become a part of the old country, as they said ‑ Sweden. But that’s not the way it turned out. In 1921 it was decided by the World Court that Aland should belong to Finland, but that Aland should take care of it’s own matters. In other words, they should be able to keep their language, Swedish culture, and local traditions. And also, that they should no longer be war ridden, that they should have autonomy, and that they should be demilitarized.
The Finnish, however, did not really honor that, and during WWII, from 1939 ‑ 40 and then again as far as 44 they continued to place weapons, and soldiers, and troops on the islands. And that’s when again the World Court entered in to rewriting an agreement and it was rewritten and it was taken by the UN, which is now the authority where the Aland islanders have to turn if they need help. That was finished in 1947. So, there have been an awful lot of different things that have happened on the islands that have had a lot to do with the way people feel and act, their culture is a multi‑culture from Russia, Finland, Sweden, and the Germans were also here ‑ but not occupied, they did come in and had some time here on the islands. And the change of religions and so on. So this is sort of the background of how the islanders have come to where they are today.
In the family, there’s been a lot of tough times. My parents were married in 1919, and my sister born that same year. My dad and my mom built a home and then my father felt that he needed to make a better life somehow so he left and went to Alaska and then Canada.
My sister and my mother tried to join him during the 20s. They got as far as Boston and were never able to join him in Canada, not realizing that those countries didn’t have the kind of system they have today where you can go between the 2 countries if you were from another country so to speak. That meant that my mom and my sister came back here to the Aland Islands about 1930 and my dad came from Canada about 1933.
I was born on September 30th 1935 on this little island called Dona and we were quite isolated as a result of not just being on the Aland Islands, but on a small island where you had to depend on a boat to get to the main land. At the time when I was born my sister was then 16 years old, this was 1935, and my father was back but not happy with things because he was unable to make a good living and things were very tough economically. The community was about the same that it had been for many years ‑ a little bit of farming, fishing and so on. The time of my birth in 1935 the world looked pretty shaky. It was approaching a time when eventually WWII would break out in about 3 years and things were unstable.
I guess it would be unusual now, but it wasn’t at that time. I was born at home with a midwife. My mom when she was pregnant with me worked very hard during that whole time out on the farm. No one knew that she was expecting, it seemed for her not very good to be expecting a baby at that time when her oldest child was already 16 years old, and her only child. I was apparently an easy birth. And there was also a neighbor who was expecting at the same time and we were born about 4 hours apart and this is still a friend of mine. From what I understand at that time my dad was still there so he was present at my birth.
A lot of things that people told me are probably not my real earliest memory. I can remember them telling me about a horse when I was little. This was how I learned to walk by holding on to this horse and pulling myself up. Also things about my grandfather, on my mother’s side, died, but I was only a year old at that point so I can’t have remembered that.
But my earliest memory that I know must be something of my own was the day my father left Aland to go to take the trip over to the US, to Boston, this was in March 1938 and I was 2 ½ years old. I remember very vividly that this was a time of sadness. I knew that there was something very definite about this. Something about him leaving together with my Uncle Elmer that I somehow have in this memory ‑ looking at them walking away; my grandmother was holding me. I don’t remember after that, as far as how I felt or anything, I just remember that incident, that day. Of course he left like I said in March of 1938, which was at the time of the beginning of WWII actually. I think probably that the adults around me were more aware of what was going on in the world, and how uncertain things were, and that’s what they relayed to me somehow. I think that was my earliest memory.
And then my grandmother on my father’s side died in 1939 and I certainly remember that funeral very well and having pictures taken and so forth. But I was just a little bit older then. I can remember how she looked and so on, so that’s definitely a memory that I have.
I don’t think I remember any characteristics about my grandfather or about my grandparents on my father’s side ‑ my grandfather there I didn’t know at all of course. But I do remember of course my grandmother who lived until 1950. She was a very kind, strong person. She sang a lot ‑ she had a beautiful voice. She spoke Russian ‑ not fluently but she sang a lot of Russian songs. She was very calm, very religious; she was probably my “adult” so to speak the one that I had spent most of my time with when I was little. I have a very good memory of what kind of person she was.
I really didn’t know too much about my dad until I was about 14, years old. But, I knew that he was a good writer and that he liked music. The writing I was impressed with when I was growing up because he used to write letters. 1945‑1948 we started getting some letters and they were very well written and they sounded like stories. He had a very nice way of being able to express himself. I remember him as being American; I don’t remember him as being from Aland. He was definitely an American in my eyes.
My mom had a good sense of humor, she was a strong woman both physically and I think emotionally, a very hard worker. She was kind. She was probably a little bit nervous and had a difficult time with this baby that came in her estimation so late in life (it isn’t so now, but it was then) and had a difficult time coping with having the baby and working on the farms and so forth. But she was a very, very good person. I can remember the humor I think more than anything about her.
The whole community was always involved in all the traditional events and cultural events. So it was just a way of life that made it so I absorbed around me and took these cultural influences with me. I can mention some of these for example ‑ in the Christmas holiday season ‑ it starts with the first Sunday of December being Advent and this is sort of the kick off so to speak that every Sunday after that until Christmas is a special celebration. During the beginning of December ‑ the 13th to be exact ‑ we have a tradition of celebration, which is St. Lucia. This was an Italian saint from the time of Catholicism that became in our part of the world a bearer of light during this very dark period of the year. Some parts of the tradition is that usually the oldest daughter will on that morning, early, get up and make coffee and there are special coffee buns with saffron, and she will make up one of these trays with these good things on, and she will put on a white dress the waist and candles on the tray and in her hair. And then she will go and sing and serve her parents while they are still in bed. This is also celebrated on the level of each community where they choose a girl and some attendants and these people do the same thing and they dress up in white and they practice singing and so forth before this day and they do a drive to collect money for poor people and to help those that are ill. And then they go to elderly homes, hospitals and day care centers and sing and bring with them good things to eat and serve people as they sit there in their own rooms. It’s sort a very cheerful and pretty kind of tradition that brings a lot of light into the Scandinavian darkness, for that time of year we have approximately 4 hours of daylight.
Many other kinds of traditions, we have, not to mention everything about the religious aspects of it ‑ this is definite connected to religious ceremony from ages ago, actually from what I believe is the 13th, 14th century. Some of the other things that we celebrate ‑ is of course Easter is a very big holiday here ‑ with fasting the 40 days prior. Not everyone fasts, but everyone tries to do something with the fasting. And then you also have Easter celebrated in such a manner that there is like a 4‑day holiday with a lot of religious events, but also some of the same things with food that we have in the U.S. ‑ the eggs, but also special pudding which is made from rye flour, oranges and malt and it’s very, very rich and very dark ‑ so it’s very rich food at this time of year. That’s because fasting was supposedly so hard on people that they deserved to have very rich food after that.
The other tradition, which I feel is a springtime tradition, which I feel I should mention, is the first of May. Where there are a lot of fires being lit all over and where they have big fires on top of everything that’s high ‑ the small mountains and hills and so forth.
This is also from the time of the Vikings where they signaled each other from island to island by building fires and this has remained something of a tradition. This is very different ‑ it is not a religious ceremony by any means. All the kids gather around these fires, and adults, and celebrate May 1st. This was also a signal to the seafarers for a long period of time, and warning for enemies that they were ready to take them on.
Another thing that is connected to the dark season that I forgot to mention is something that is unusual here ‑ all the cemeteries are around all of the churches ‑ and during the times of these different holidays during the year (the dark portion of the year), they light candles on all the graves. They have these special candles that bum many hours. I can remember some of the things that made me feel that this was very mysterious was the fact that traditionally many, many years ago if you committed suicide or if you were so to speak a sinner you were not allowed to be buried in the front part of the cemetery ‑ you were buried behind the church. And those graves you didn’t have any candles and I can remember thinking “What kind of people were they” and sort of I was probably very curious about what their lives had looked like, that they would end up so outside the traditional community.
Mid‑Summer is another special event, which is the 24th of June. And it’s the raising of what we know as the May Pole. The only part of Sweden or Scandinavia that have the May Poles such as we do, with the colorful decorations, is here on Aland. And this is something that is a very celebrated tradition, and is not really a religious ceremony at all, although it has some of those connotations being that we appreciate the light and that’s why we have that day. A lot of singing and dancing and children’s ring dance; it’s a folk dance. Children sing different songs and dance around the May pole and I can remember really looking forward to that and thinking that this was the greatest thing in the world to be able to be a part of things that other kids were doing.
Then we have in each village a tradition also that has followed through the ages and that’s every community has it’s own formal folk dress with its own colors and so forth. They are very colorful and very pretty. This is something that has been more in use now, the last 20 years, than it was during the 60s and 70s. So you see a lot more ‑ people have put life into that tradition in later years. These are very pretty.
And of course we have our special music with violins and so forth. The traditional folk music here is Swedish. It’s not a sad music; it’s very happy music. Traditionally the Finnish music by contrast is sad so it is very obvious when you hear the music on Aland that it is a very different music than what the traditional Fins have.
These islands were very poor during the time when I was growing up and so we really didn’t purchase anything from the stores. We had no money. You worked to get flour and so on, and salt was probably the only thing we purchased. The work ethic is part of the culture ‑ not one minute without some sort of production, and to this day I can still feel my grandmother looking over my shoulder when I sit and I’m idle; when I don’t do anything. This was like the worst thing not to be producing something.
Due to the fact that the men were often gone, the women met in each other’s homes to sew and weave and knit and make things, baking and washing and so forth. There we passed on to the children, because we were a part of that, the growing of linen from flax seed and the whole process of that ‑ the rotting of the shaft, beating them off, and then the combing, carting, spinning, coloring, weaving and so on. So it was rich with handcraft traditions. Same was done with wool ‑we had our own sheep and we processed the wool from scratch and knitted our own clothes and so forth. We could not wear slacks to school ‑ this was something that was not allowed. And so we knitted our own stockings from this wool, which was untreated and very itchy, but kept us warm. I can remember what a relief it was in the spring not to have to wear those stockings. We had our own cows (2), and also raised pigs ‑ so unfortunately slaughter was also a part of our life. I can remember that I used to hate that part of it ‑ raising lamb and pigs and so forth and then having to be a part of the slaughter because there were only women in my home. I lived in my grandmother’s house, and my mom was there but she worked out a lot outside with other farms. My sister was not strong, she was handicapped, she had a bad heart from the time she was little. So I was the strong person, even though I was only 9 or 10 years old, so I was very much a part of all of these things that I really didn’t like. But you had to be a part of it if you were going to survive. So some of this cultural part was very much women‑centered. It served as a moral and ethics evaluation for all. There was a right or wrong way and no in between and everyone in the village kept an eye on what the kids did and could go up and say “Well I’ll tell your mother about this if you don’t behave.”
Trusting outsiders is probably one of the things that is quite important as far as the culture as a whole ‑ because there have been so many times in our history where we have had enemies on our properties and we have been forced to leave, to escape, to come back and I can remember sometime reading that during hundreds of years that you could say that two out of three people were probably enemies. So a lot of mistrust and I think that’s still a little bit part of the community here ‑ you question foreigners and you wonder if they are actually to be trusted.
The first one [death] I remember was my father’s mother. That was 39 that she died. I don’t remember it as a bad experience, but I do remember what she looked like, the casket, and so on. I remember the meeting of the whole family there, and the religious part of it in some degree in the home. I think what made a big difference in my life looking at death ‑ when I was about 8 years old I found together with some others, I wasn’t alone ‑ 2 children that had been washed ashore from a shipwreck ‑ and there were probably around 12‑13 years old. And I can to this day see what they looked like ‑ the little girl had long braids and blonde, and the water had been very cold apparently so they were well preserved. I can remember that whole scene very vividly, what it looked like. I can remember thinking that they weren’t dead, but of course that became a reality once they took them up on shore. I followed that as child with my family through the burial and so forth. Even to this day if I go to the cemetery or church for some reason, I’ll go by there. The memory is quite vivid. It wasn’t scary; I don’t remember it being scary. I just remember it being very factual somehow.
Then going with my grandmother of course, at about that same age, to neighbors that had died, older people for the most part, helping. I didn’t help, but my grandmother did. Tradition was just to wash and cleanse the body and wrap it in a white sheet and place it in a pine casket. And then the casket was placed outside in some cold storage area. And the funeral was held in the home. And at that point in time there was always an open casket. And there was a tradition of singing at the open casket and they called this singing up the soul and it was actually kind of pretty. There was no make up of course on the dead so you definitely had the feeling that this was a final thing ‑ that this body was cold and dead and gone. Where as now when you look at the dead in the US you get the feeling that they are going to move any minute and somehow I think that’s worse than to see this as a real thing that happens. Even today they don’t believe in embalming and they don’t embalm. But today they don’t have open caskets, that tradition has diminished over time and is no longer used. They really do believe in that aspect of dust to dust and so forth.
I think that religion was the core base of all things that we did. To sin, at some point or another, was a definitely a daily reminder. Sundays, religious holidays, and so on ‑ you really couldn’t do anything ‑ you couldn’t pick up a pair of scissors, or play cards, or anything of that nature. You could read, prepare food, and have a family sort of day where you could talk to each other and so forth. In the afternoons on Sunday it was okay to visit with neighbors, but never in the morning. And you were never too sick to go to church, if you could get up on your feet, you could be in church, that was sort of the base for the whole thing. It was very important and it was probably a strength for people to have this faith because things were pretty tough many times and women were alone with their children and needed some sort of strength, something to lean on. So they leaned on the church often times, and on each other of course.
I would say all of the [cultural influences mentioned were important]. But now they have individually and a totally different influence on my life than they did as a child. I see for instance the man made aspects of our rituals, I see the art and music aspects of the ages that they have been produced, and the art is now art instead of being something that sometimes just represented a picture that was connected to religion. This is a very rich cultural part of the world. Culturally it is very rich and an incredible gift to all of us that have been able to absorb it. The richness that these sometimes weird rituals have given me ‑ it’s hard sometimes to think of them any longer as being difficult to live with even though I did as a child. I think they served a really wonderful purpose. And so, as I reflect. I know that I’m still influenced emotionally of my forefathers and my own cultural life experience, I think as a whole, all of these traditions and cultural events that was a part of during my time as a child. They were very important. I can probably appreciate them now, differently than I did before. Now I feel that I work for preserving all that we have.
My grandmother [provided nurturing] mostly, though was the one that spent a lot of time with me. There were no men in my family at that point in time as I was growing up. My uncle sometimes, but he was also my teacher later on, and he was not there when I was very small. I lived with him for a couple of years, my mom was there also at that time ‑ between ages 3‑4 some time in there. I wasn’t allowed the closeness to him because traditionally teachers were not supposed to show emotions and so on. So he was sort of a mystery to me many times. I thought an awful lot of him and he was certainly a good male model. I was teased sometimes because I didn’t have a father. This was not that usual. People’s fathers were gone but they came back from sea often, but my father was gone all the time. My sister married when I was 10 years old. This man that came into our life was a little bit mixed up, he was very soft but sometimes he was very aggressive. He had lost his eyesight and I saw her with tears often because of his abuse, not so much physical as emotional. Again, my mother and my grandmother really tried. I can remember being lonely as a child. I can remember running away and hiding in the woods and so forth for attention, but I guess that’s something that kids do from time to time even nowadays. But the family, the thing that had to come first was to work, and you had to work hard in order to survive. And children were a part of the family work ethic and worked as soon as you were physically able to. And so there we had a lot of positive adult influences. I think that there were many people in my life that gave me the nurturing perhaps, that my immediate family didn’t give. I had neighbors and other relatives that I stayed with from time to time and as I got a little bit older I lived with other people and families during the school year and so forth when I couldn’t get to school. The traditional means of water and rowing and so forth. So there were a lot of people in my life that gave me nurturing but maybe not in the traditional sense that we think of nurturing today. There really wasn’t time for that and I don’t think that that was anyone’s fault ‑ it was just the way that life had turned out for everyone here.
My sister, was as I mentioned before, 16 years old when I was born and she was a child at birth that heart defect, my mother only carried her to 6 ½ months. When she was born, there was a midwife of course that didn’t realize or know how to take care of her as far as her heart goes and there was no hospital or anything like that. I can remember being told that they had kept her in a shoebox in cotton near the woodstove and she survived but had a heart defect that she had problems with all of her life. I remember her as not being a very strong person, I remember her as not being able to work physically very hard, and as a matter of fact she had a difficult time even walking fast. She was as they said then a blue baby. She was very talented musically ‑ she played the organ and handcrafts. She was good to me; she was more like an aunt than a sister being there were so many years between us. And she probably saw me sometimes as a real nuisance, this baby and this young child at her age when she was a teenager and wanted to have her friends and so forth over. My sister and I were very good friends all of her life and she was a very important person in my life.
I guess I struggled to be heard. There wasn’t time to listen to children all that much. And to find a place in the family, which probably makes no sense, but my grandmother was sometimes my mom, my sister was sometimes my mom, sometimes my mother. So many different and often confusing messages as far as what should be done and what was expected. I wanted to study and I didn’t really like that I had to put so much time into working on the farm, and with fishing. This was when I was 9‑12 years old about. I remember being told that I couldn’t read in the evenings so I would have the strength to be up in the morning. So I would read with a pocket light under the covers. This was something that was very much my life trying to read. I like to write also. Sometimes when I think back I remember a little bit of mobbing, I had freckles and green eyes and so on and I can remember my grandmother saying that she didn’t know where I came from ‑ I didn’t look like any of them. I know that this was probably in a teasing and joking kind of manner that she said it, but this really somehow made me think and made me feel very bad, being that my father wasn’t around. I had a different connection to her talking like this than she had. She thought she was being kind of funny, and didn’t mean anything by this in the mean sense.
I think if I had to describe myself as a child I was curious, capable of taking in an awful lot of information, wanting to learn. I was somewhat lonely, wanting to belong someplace. Isolated, both geographically and in some way in the family too. But being one of these children that came at a very late time in my mother’s life ‑ so that there weren’t that many aspects of life that was connected to other children ‑ except when I was able to go to school and so forth. I was very uninformed, about everything more or less around me, and in life situations also. Somehow it was expected that you should just somehow learn by just being there ‑ there was very little conversation and discussion around matters. I was little, or I felt little ‑ I don’t think I was physically little. Insignificant at times ‑ unsure definitely. I guess that sort of describes it. If I thought I was happy during childhood ‑ at that time I didn’t know any different ‑ I think I was happy most of the time. If I’m happy with the results of my childhood ‑ yeah, I would say so ‑ I was given the instruments I needed to take this journey through life and some of the mistakes that I made along the way are not a result of my childhood but a result of my own inability to see things they way I should have seen them. It had many good moments as well as many bad of course, as it is in any child’s life. I’m not really how you measure happy ‑ I had happy playtimes, I had happy worktimes, I had moments of peace and moments of anguish, but as a whole I think I had a happy childhood.
I struggled with acceptance of religious rules. This was something that was a struggle for me because I wanted to questions some of these rules and I wanted to questions some of the thinkings of the church. I can remember at quite an early age wondering why we followed rituals that were man made. I had read the bible a couple of times as a child, and I just didn’t understand some of the rituals that had come to be a part of our lives in the churches. I wasn’t allowed to question ‑ you couldn’t question church so to speak. My grandmother, however, was open minded as far as the religious aspect of it ‑ and really did believe how you lived your life and treated others was definitely a larger portion of your religious life than how many times you went to church, even though we had to go because she followed the traditions too.
Probably the cultural and ethical heritage, moral values, a strong will, good strong physical body, the genetic aspects of it. I would say that was the important things that my family gave me.
Most songs that are sung here, or that are part of the Aland tradition, are tales about people. Tales about people travelling in other countries, being out at sea, tales about people surviving wars and so forth. This in general is something that you find in most of these songs, especially about things that have happened when they are out to sea in other countries ‑ that’s something that has a lot to do with the content of our folksongs. The children’s songs are often connected to dance, children’s dances. So they also worked as a way of instructing young children how to dance. So they were quite happy songs and often connected also to the way of life, farming, fishing and so forth. I certainly remember a lot of those songs. The other part of tales and events I remember ‑ I remember my grandmother telling me about when the time my father was building a house ‑ which was a couple of miles away, not even, but across a sea, and they talked about they heard the hammering at night ‑ and of course these were the good little gremlins ‑ they were there helping my father building. And they truly believed that something was happening there at night.
This was confirmed ‑ when he left the building site and it had progressed to a certain stage, then we he would come back the next morning he would then say that yes things had happened or that there had been someone there during the night and worked. And these were the little good men.
Also, tomte, which is supposed to be Santa Claus’ helpers. They watch you all year. This is something we believed as children ‑ that they were all over the place ‑they looked through the windows, and they peeked at you, and they knew if you had been good or bad. So this was something that was also part of the legends around you and I’m not sure that the adults didn’t believe it too at times. Superstitions, some witchcraft, Ouja boards, were a part of the evening entertainment. They believed that when things disappeared or they couldn’t find things ‑ this board would tell them where to find it and a lot of things about individuals in the community ‑ where they asked questions like ‑ was it Carl that came and did such a thing to our fence? ‑ and of course, it would answer.
We had the caves near us ‑ they were mysterious to me as a child. There were a lot of tales around that. They were connected to historical and legendary times ‑ so a lot of what was told was actually the truth and legends lived on. That’s where the local people hid from the Russian soldiers, there’s still an altar in there and so on. And then of course all of the different tales around that, escaping to these caves, the length of time they ended up staying there, how they managed to get their food during the time they were forced to stay there. Tales around how they built fires on top of these caves, which were probably about 2 miles inland from shore, luring the Russian soldiers to think that they were near shore so they ran up on all the different small islands and underwater obstacles and so forth. So they killed off a lot of soldiers and ships by building these fires. I can remember my grandmother showing me a Russian prayer and reading it to me, and in that the Russians had written in this portion of it that God would save them or make sure that they were safe as they traveled past the northern part of the Aland islands, as this was a very treacherous and so forth. So I guess the tales were quite true. Of course a lot of religious things ‑ religious miracles as they saw them and told about them were also part of this tale telling and very interesting things as a child, very mysterious.
I probably struggled most with this child that wanted things that really weren’t part of our traditionally life, such as reading. I can remember making up stories about my father, that he had called and so forth. Everybody knew that that wasn’t so because we couldn’t have any communication with the US. So I guess this was a part of what I struggled with and I didn’t have that many friends. I had my friend Marguerita, that was a neighbor, and they moved there when I was about three. So we were friends from when I was very little, but there wasn’t very much time as far as allowing us to play when we got a little bit older, for she had to work too with her family.
I think probably when I think about a saddest time ‑ I have to just respond what pops into my head ‑ it would probably be when my father left. Not understanding and not knowing if he would return, but hearing the adults talk about the fact that they couldn’t come back, that they couldn’t talk to him, or have contact with him. Then during those years 1938‑44 I can remember that it was a very sad, quiet time in all the families because we were always listening for signals to hide from the bombs. We had a potato cellar that was underground that’s where we used to sit. Of course you couldn’t have any lights outside, and if you went for a walk ‑ you couldn’t have any lights that showed through the windows. I can remember at the time feeling fear, but not really knowing what we were afraid of. I can remember hearing the planes overhead. And of course they weren’t jets then, they were just the motors. To this day, when I hear a plane that has the same sound as those planes did that flew over then with the bombs, it gives me a creepy feeling. And probably, one of the other sad things, was being separated from all that I knew. I’ve been very isolated here on the islands ‑ never seen such things as a black person, a train, or many other things, or been on a plane and so forth. And then being moved, this was age 13, 14 ‑ being moved to the US was a great loss for me to be taken to a place where I had a difficult time. Then I guess my mother’s and my father’s death. And a sad experience also ‑ it’s difficult to say that one is more permanent than another ‑ they effect you differently depending on how strong you are at the time or where you are in your life ‑ as far as everything else around you. I think the break up of my marriages were very sad, especially the marriage to my children’s father. I can still see their sad faces, and I can still feel the times of anguish around that, wondering what to do and trying to establish some sort of footing for myself and the kids. This was a very sad time. I think probably if I take all of this and look at it collectively and then take it and put it in some sort of priority, the break up of that marriage was the saddest of all events.
As a child, I wanted to be a gymnast and a poet. And then eventually I grew into wanting to be a teacher. Ambitions were definitely always based on wanting to study.
I had to wait until I was 8 years old [to start school] because we lived on an island and I wasn’t physically big enough or strong enough to row the boat across the water. This was probably the most significant event to me ‑ this also coupled to the fact that I had been reading for a many years already and I was really looking forward to new material and new knowledge ‑ I didn’t know that that’s what it was ‑ but this excitement of being able to go to school was a huge event for me. It was exciting to be coming to school ‑ I thought this was wonderful that I should be able to start like I said before. But then having arrived at school, the situation was a little different. I was 8 years old. I think the worst part was walking to the front of the room and asking permission to go to the bathroom ‑ this may sound kind of silly, but this was something that I had never experienced before ‑ having to ask. And then it was so formal, everyone sitting at their desks, everyone could hear me ‑ this was definitely a first memory of being scared. And then also, not always getting the credit for the good things you already knew and you could produce. Instead it was more of an attitude that you could do better always. I did work very hard and I was always first to finish and had good grades, and this was probably the best part of my best school. I did know that I was good at school, but I never really heard that. It was never really confirmed by adults that I could do well, or that I did well.
I can remember my grandmother saying that I was never on my feet on the ground. I had as a child tremendous ambitions to be a gymnast. Did a lot of swimming and accomplished a lot of things with swimming and racing and running as a child. I was very good at short distance, although I did a lot of long distance running too. But I was best at the short spurts. I continued with a lot of the individual sport aspects, like skiing and so forth for most of my life. Athletics that was very much a part of my life.
I liked reading. I liked being alone. It was peaceful and I could read and concentrate. I could do a lot of writing and a little bit of painting. And all the sports, when I look back they were really sports that you can perform on your own. Although later on I played a little soccer, but for the most part it was sports that didn’t require that you played with a team. So for fun and entertainment for the most part it had to do with just that, sports, and reading and writing.
Probably the worst pressure and how to deal with it ‑ when I was about 13 years old I was raped by a neighbor. And I didn’t know at this time how wrong this was. I didn’t know that my rights had been violated in such a way that I should have reported this. Not having anyone to explain to me that this was not what you do to someone else. So this is something that I later in life had to deal with and talk through, and is now something that I have certainly accepted ‑ I have no problems with it now, but I did for a long period of time. Not having a male in the home made it also very difficult because I didn’t have the opposite positive male.
The other parts of my teenage life that were definitely difficult is the fact that no one explained to me, because this was not something that you talked about, how your body worked, about menstruation. I was told when I finally did start, which was kind of late, I must have been around 14 first time, that I was sick. I thought I was dying. I had no idea what was going on. What helped me that I had my friend next door, my girlfriend Marguereta, and her mother had talked to her, she was a little bit older than I was by about a year and a half, had certainly talked to her about all of these things and explained to her. So she could tell me about the natural aspect of it; she suspected that there was something that was going on apparently and that I had a difficult time with.
In preparation for the move to the US there were a lot of pressures, I had again this religious pressure of having to be confirmed. They really didn’t want me to move away from here, my grandmother and mother and so on, without this confirmation so I had to study a lot of religion and so forth during that time when we were preparing to leave, something I didn’t want to be a part of anyway.
Struggling with this move to the US and a new country, and a father I didn’t know that I was now supposed to live with, a language I could not speak, and a culture I didn’t understand. Trying to find some sort of balance in all of this without support from home. My father didn’t know me as his child from day to day that kind of life, my mother came with me at that time but she wasn’t able to support me in this new life and new land. So I think that was kind of hard. I struggled with that. I was only there 3 days when I started school, which was probably a blessing because I had some wonderful teachers that helped me on the way and gave me a very special feeling for black people. Because I had 2 teachers in the food service area, which was the line of vocational study that I had taken, which were black and they were just wonderful. They probably understood what it was like to be different and helped me a great deal.
I guess that was my citizenship [was the most significant event of teenage years] in Boston in August of 1953. That was a fantastic event. I was scared, I had to study a lot, and answer a lot of questions about history and so forth. So this is something that I have a vivid picture of what that was like. And we were many of course in the room, but individually; we had to meet with these people that questioned us and so forth. This was something very important to me, and still is. And then being able to come back here to Aland and attend school for a year ‑ was very important. I’m talking now of later teenage years. So coming back here for a year was very important. I tried to live with my sister some, but that wasn’t very good because of her marriage. I then lived with a couple, Reuben and Helga Carlson. They were really very good to me and their children became a part of my life as though they were sisters and brothers. This was a very nice event for me to be a part of.
I can remember being very excited about college and it was so different being able to exchange knowledge with others instead of just sitting there and listening and not being able to say so much. Being heard in a school situation, having your opinion count, hearing that your knowledge that you brought with you was of some value. This I remember being very important to me and I felt an excitement about all this. The courses that I probably remember the most and to me was the most important, and if you look back at some of these questions you’ll probably understand why, is psychology courses.
Because they always, in my estimation, become a self‑help item. We choose to study psychology, so the statistics say, because we feel there is something we need to work out in our own lives. This is by all means probably the best way to do is to study objectively and then see yourself in the process of this. This is probably the most important coursework that I did was those that had to do with psychology.
What is education? What are different components of what we call education? It definitely is something that takes place from birth to death. Education has many different faces, formal, informal. It can be looked at as a conscious effort to study and the incredible learning that takes place just as the result of living our lives is also a part of education. The role of education in a person’s life is in my estimate that it gives intellectual, social and emotional competence to live our lives. And that it’s all those aspects that makes up the whole ‑ which means that it has an incredible influence on each and every person. And that it’s different for everyone. Education of one kind or another is the red thread that continuously increases our abilities to go forward with better understanding of those things we have experienced, also a larger capacity to understand those events that are in the making. It’s a continual growth ‑ that’s what education is all about. It can sometimes be frustrating, because we learn things that we cannot get answers to and so on. This is basically how I feel I guess. It plays an incredible role and this is something that if I start talking about it will probably go on forever. It’s best that I stop here.
Yes, I certainly do [remember the first date]. I was freshman in high school in Norwood ‑ it was the high school prom at Norwood High. His name was Bill Hart and he was one of those football heroes at the school. He had certainly a kind heart, and felt very sorry for this foreign kid. We had a wonderful time. My teacher, this black teacher at school I spoke briefly about before, her name was Esther Johnson. She gave me her gown and Wow, didn’t I think I was something else. The first time I think I had such a dress on. It was a nice event. We became friends, and stayed friends for as long as I stayed there in Norwood. So he also played an important part in my life as far as the friendship. And that’s basically what it was all about. It was a very nice first date.
It was difficult to know how to relate to men. Obviously I didn’t have much of a background in understanding how the male population saw the world, or how they should be related to from the women’s side. So this was very difficult and I think this was probably the worst part of it. I didn’t do an awful lot of dating. I stayed away from that just then anyway. Like I said, this high school prom date was positive, so it gave me a good start.
I’m not married. For obvious reasons I feel that I have tried and learned that I am not very successful at this.
Intimacy..Hmm. Warmth, understanding, acceptance, caring. And the physical aspects of intimacy is a product of the other and it’s very important to have the intimate feelings of being able to touch and care and also to trust the other person, or the people around me. This is also a very big question to answer so briefly.
I have two children. They are wonderful people. They are caring, intelligent, honest, loving, knowledgeable in life matters, better mates and parents than I was ever able to be. And I think this is wonderful to be able to say that right from the heart. I admire my children, I think they are wonderful.
I think I would like to go back just a little bit because I think I would like to say that I wonder sometimes how my children were able to, out of the many different things that happened in their lives, were able to get their depth, talent and intelligence ‑ out of those home situations that were often weird or negative that they were forced to live with. I think this is something that I wonder about sometimes ‑ how they became the people that they are ‑ how they turned out to be such positive people, able to give so much.
My children, along with my grandchildren are the most important part of my life. And I think that my children and I have become friends. As well as the parent and child relationship is well understood now between us. I think we support, I think they trust and care for each other. And I think they understand this person who is their mom. At least I feel that they do ‑ they give me that support, at least most of the time, even though I’m sure a mystery at times, like we all are to one another. I think our relationship is open. I feel that they are ‑ if I had to prioritize ‑ they are #1 as far as what they mean to me and the roles that they play. The thing is I think now that I can discuss with them things that perhaps I wasn’t able to discuss even 10 years ago ‑ so I think we have arrived at a different stage where we have a good understanding for one another.
The best part of marriage is probably the birth of my children. Also the gentle
intelligence of their father, and companionship. Enjoying sport and music together; having same likes and dislikes in those regards. I guess the worst part was realizing that the marriage didn’t work and that the reasons for that, are in some cases were alcohol, in others there were other aspects of life that didn’t work ‑ we weren’t compatible. My part in the process and agonizing over decisions, guilt because of not being able to make it succeed, making it work, or making any of it work in the different marriages. Especially when it involved a separation between the children and their father. This was very difficult and probably the worst part of marriages is just that ‑ the guilt that you feel when you are not able to succeed. Probably your own shortcomings in a marriage, and realizing that you are a part of the negative aspects of what is going on ‑ that’s probably the worst part.
I think liking to do things for people that is probably somehow the core of my work. I started in the restaurant/commercial foods area and then went in to nursing, became a nurses aide, which really doesn’t exist anymore. Studied some dentistry and worked at that ‑ and then went back to college and became a teacher, also special education. And now social work ‑ now I work as a director ‑ which is being the head of a large organization ‑ 262 people. Everything that ‑ when I looked at these jobs that I have had and what I’ve studied ‑ it’s all related to somehow doing things for people, with people, I’ve always liked that kind of aspect of working I guess. It’s the different things that have happened on the way that have made me to go from one job to another. It’s moving, its wanting to study, and do something different. Finding another interest that you want to know more about and resulted in taking a new job. Many different things that have played in the picture and this latest move was that my work situation in Portland was incredibly difficult and I felt so stagnated and so outside the work ethic somehow, that I decided that I needed to do something very different and get away from there. This has been a good move, also, but I certainly miss being part of the school world and a part of life in the US.
I guess helping people is important, like I said, working with people and working with improvements. Working with trying to have employees bring out the best in themselves. And to educate, continuously, and to continuously see quality management improvements. These things are important in my work. I guess Personnel Management comes easiest. I like that part of it. I like seeing that individual growth and seeing it come together as a whole. I guess the hardest thing is to slow down. I mean slow down the mental processes so others have time to absorb and understand the thought process that I’m trying to project. That’s always been hard for me to do that ‑ I have to stop and think did they have a chance to take this information and do something with it. So that’s probably the hardest part.
I realized I had become an adult probably about 5‑ 10 years ago. Not all that long ago, actually. I thought at other times in life that I knew that I was an adult and so forth, and I’m sure that I was right at that age. I think that that was when I could reflect honestly on all of the different stages of my own life, especially my adult identity. Also look at a lot of things in my childhood with different eyes. I became more comfortable with the person I am as an adult. So that’s not that terribly long ago.
I’m not sure that I can say participated ‑ I lived during the time of some great struggles ‑ I guess WWII between 38 ‑ 44. Which I was sort of a part of because I was certainly aware of the bombing and the crisis around us. But the word participate here is kind of difficult to reflect to correctly. The events that took place during my life that I’ve been a part of that’s also effected the rest of the world ‑ for example building and destroying of the Berlin wall ‑ I think that was something that effected all of us ‑ and I participated at least emotionally in that. Viet Nam ‑ I don’t know how much it affected me so to speak other than again the emotional aspect of it. Having the connection to some people that
were a part of that world and seeing what the results were, the negative aspects of it, visiting the wall was for me a tremendous experience emotionally. Kennedy assassination was another event with historical aspects of great dimension.
That’s funny I had never thought about this before now. Yeah, I remember some things. WWII ‑ not its’ start, but I remember sitting at the table in my grandmother’s house and the adults around me talking about this event and what was going on and what we had to do to survive, and what the signals for bomb shelter was going to be like ‑ for taking refuge in the bomb shelter. And then all the things around that. So that was more ‑ I was a part of what the adults were doing and talking.
The Kennedy assassination I remember very vividly. I was in the car with my children, and their father driving at the time, I didn’t have a license then. He was driving me
around the neighborhood in NY, I was delivering Avon to customers and remember being parked on the right side of the street ‑ there were no sidewalks or anything because it was a little part of the community of small houses and so on with no traffic ‑ when the news came. This was very shocking and unbelievable ‑ that’s why it made an impression and I remember exactly where I was.
Boy, I’m not really sure [if her work contributed to the community] ‑ I certainly hope that it has approved life situations for individuals, or has given them at times an opportunity to go on with their lives in a better manner. That I’ve given some insight into life, their own personal and community and world. I’m not really sure that the work as a child, of course I was part of the work community, I worked in the fields ‑ if you think of the very aspect of physical work, I contributed by being out there, by weeding, and haying and threshing in the fall for flour or for the different aspects of that like wheat, or rye or so forth. I did contribute, I would say in some ways as a child growing up, but maybe this, what I hoped I contribute, is more that I’ve given some sort of thought to positive life or a more positive life situation for individuals.
Retirement? My own, or in general. I’m not really sure. I think retirement from formal work is okay, but not from life. I think that it needs to be filled with activity and work that you become involved in is by choice after that. I think retirement is good ‑ I think we retire many times in our lives from different things and go on to something new. If retirement in this case is related to a certain age, such as 65 or whatever, then it’s certainly is also a way of looking that you’ve earned to be able to choose what you do and not always have to be looking at what others expect of you.
Yes I do have grandchildren. I guess being at such different ages (13 years apart], my grandchildren, I think it’s wonderful because I’m able to appreciate them and I’ve been able to appreciate my oldest grandchild, Krister, many, many aspects of his growing up.
What I really appreciate it is what their parents have given them ‑ the ability to give of themselves, to have feelings for members in their families, to be open. I enjoy them as wonders in life. It’s a wonderful extension of my own children. I guess there is a French way of saying this ‑ grandchildren are the dessert in life ‑ I think this is probably true in my way of looking at it. That’s definitely that is what they are ‑ they are some sort of a gift that’s wonderful. I appreciate and enjoy their intellectual and emotional growth, their curiosity. They are capable of learning, absorbing and growing and I think this is wonderful. They have great parents that’s why it looks like it does.
Stresses of adult life, that is a big one. Making the many aspects of life come together in a balance that’s acceptable for one’s self and family ‑ that’s a continual process. I would say that it’s different at different times. Understanding what is expected and trying to prioritize expectations, and accepting my own decision as being my own and not blaming others. These are things that can help in some stressful situations, but can also produce stress at different times. Stress can occur at such points in life when life situations produce anxiety over decision, which road to take. The fact is that at many times we feel stress over such things, being under pressure to have our economy in such a shape that we can pay our bills and at other times it’s emotional situations that produce anxiety and stress. Too much of a workload can definitely be a source of stress in the work situation. Also, taking on work that we’re not quite capable of producing or able to tackle, to not have the competence for certain job aspects can produce stress. There are a lot of different things that can enter into life and produce those things that we allow to produce stress in our lives. It’s different for different people of course. I feel that maybe feeling inadequate, or feeling that you can’t produce at a level that’s expected of you is probably one of the most stressful situation that an adult in work life can feel. Also, that if it’s in the private life ‑ if you feel that you’re not able to make life better in your family for your family members you can feel a certain amount of stress.
I believe to try and see the good in people and to try find solutions for problems, I guess is one thought that I try to hold onto. And to see possibilities and try to think positive and not to see the impossible in things. And to go forward ‑ as my grandmother would say when things were bad ‑ this too shall pass and other things will come.
I can’t say that I have any one particular concept of God. I do believe that there are powers that we cannot understand or explain. I believe that because we have a consciousness that we exist, places us somewhere there is a mystery beyond that we can’t understand or explain. If this power that somehow exists has to have a name, I guess God or Allah or whatever it is, is an okay way to describe it. Yeah, I have some kind of concept that there are things that we have to accept that we cannot understand. Scientists that dwell into this deeply, have come to the same conclusion, that they come just so far and then there is a mystery.
Imagination and fantasy were definitely a lifeline for me as a child. To be able to have an imagination and fantasize about the world around me. I remember sitting on the window sill at my grandmother’s house in the bedroom and looking up at the sky and imaging about what it was like up there and fantasizing about worlds beyond. So yes, definitely. And I think this imagination and fantasy is definitely a connection between being curious and wanting to learn.
Well that’s very deep. The purpose of life ‑ to develop that which we have as people, to maximum, and to try to react to things in life so that there is a purpose to everything we do, and that ‑ feel that you leave something behind you every day that has some sort of value. The first thing that came to mind was that we’re given something at birth ‑ a body and a mind and so forth ‑ and that the purpose of all this is to do the most with what we have and bring it as far as we can bring it. To maximize the original and see that as our own purpose with what we have.
I think that to use some sort of philosophy too is some part of the purpose of life ‑ kind and understanding to humanity and leave some sort of a good legacy for your children and grandchildren. I do feel in control at this time in my life. There have been many times when I have felt that I didn’t have control of my life, but other things were controlling it. I think I feel that way know ‑ that I have control over what’s going on.
The birth of my children and my grandchildren has given me the greatest joy ‑ I don’t think I have to elaborate on that because that’s definitely the first thing that pops up in my mind.
I don’t know why there is suffering in the world. Men’s inability to respect each other, maybe. Greediness, natural catastrophic incidences that happen. I think back to the first part ‑ that inability to respect each other and greediness is probably why there is so much suffering in the world. I guess that’s really what it is that there is so much cruelty, and so much is evident in the way the material things that count, and the inability to have respect and understanding for one another. So that is something when I see the world as a whole, I think this is something that is a reflection all over that is kind of scary.
I didn’t decide to move to the US so I can’t say that was a decision that I made. To go to school, to study is a crucial decision and one I have always felt was a good move. To marry, to have children, to move at different times, to change careers. And crucial decision as far as really changing my life was making a decision about divorce, or accepting a decision that there was divorce coming and not being able to prevent that. So those were ‑ that was definitely a decision that I was a part of ‑ and I was not able to make it totally on my own but still make those decision.
The most important learning experience in my life and what I learned is probably connected to one another rather closely. I guess realizing that when I thought I had no control over a certain situation and I had the possibility to take control and make other choices, but chose not to do so. This was very important learning experience to me to realize that I had had the possibility to take control at different times but chose not to do so. The choices, in other words, are of our own doing. Thinking through prior to decision has become easier for me by realizing this and learning from this experience. I’ve also learned to try and accept that you do the best you can with the resources that you have in a given situation, and to accept that, that you did try, and that you didn’t have anything else to bring into the situation at that point. Sometimes you have to live with bad decisions. And not to always say, if only I had done so, if only I had made a different decision because you really can’t go back and do anything about it ‑ so learning to accept it is something that has come to be a part of my life.
I’m not sure they’re mistakes. Maybe making wrong choices ‑ mistakes are more like accidents and I’m not really sure that that’s what it is all about. I’m sure that there are times that you do things when you feel yourself that you have made a mistake, but it has more to do I think with making choices that we’re not happy with. Yes, I have made many, if that’s what it is, mistakes in my life.
Yeah, I have learned I guess to move away from the difficulties, to learn from them, to take them with me as some sort of instrument that you can look at and make use of when other difficulties arise. It’s a philosophy maybe learning to stop and think and realizing that you do have choices and you are given the capability of doing things yourself and not just blame it on others or life situation around you that forces you into things. I think you do learn along the way, and I guess I have to. And I guess what I’ve learned and taken with me again, this philosophy that you do the best you can with a certain situation and then learn to live with that and accept it. It doesn’t mean that you have to be happy about what has happened, but you can accept it and live and go on to new things.
No I am not satisfied with all my choices, but who is? But I think I can accept all the ones ‑ the choices I have made and put them in the right perspective ‑ and I think that’s the important part of being satisfied with your own life choices.
Oh there’s so many relationships in my life that have been important, but for many different reasons of course. Naturally, the relationship to my children, grandchildren, and my own family, mom, grandmother, sister and so on. And then very special relationship to friends, aunts and uncles, and special teachers. I think probably the family around me, my uncle, and my friend next door were very important to me as a child. Then my relationships to my husbands were very important at the time when the marriage was okay, when it was good and working. And the relationship to my children and grandchildren, and then the teachers that made me take a look at things inside of education and myself, and helped me make decision, they have also been very significant in my life.
I don’t think that much about my age. Physically I’m strong and working and feel good. Sometimes I think about this and I hope that I’ll see my grandchildren as adults and happy and in good health. And sometimes I think about not becoming a burden to my children as I get older. Often I think, that maybe even though I miss being with my children right now, being close to them, that I wonder if this is not the best place for me as I get old. As the society takes care of its’ old in a different way. I don’t feel that this is a bad age ‑ as I said I feel good, I still feel as though I’m living as I always have ‑ looking forward to things. I don’t think that there is anything negative that I really feel about the age ‑ I’m not conscious about being a certain age.
I’m not sure really what worries me most, maybe completing work projects. Knowing that eventually that I won’t be working at this. 65 is definitely an age here where people stop as a pension age, retirement age. But I can continue. So completing work projects, giving the support I would like to be able to give to my children, and having the capacity to do that somehow through working, or whatever that might be. To put things at ease for them as for myself. I don’t think it’s any particular big worry. I think it’s just the normal sort of thing that everyone thinks about ‑ I don’t think it’s because of my age that I have any particular worries right now.
I guess my family and their well being. That’s really something that matters the most. I guess I could just say too as an afterthought with the world situation such as it is ‑ it’s a worry if it’s ever going to be stable again. This does have an effect on all of us. Also I think I would like to add that my family and their well‑being being the most important part, also being a good mother and grandmother, and being a good partner to a very kind man that I feel I have a good relationship with. As I reflect I don’t really need anything materialistically and I enjoy and appreciate more fully, family and those things that money can’t buy at this point in time.
No, it is certainly fulfilled to this point with an awful lot of good things but there are still an awful lot more to do ‑ maybe not so much for myself anymore. I would like to be able to do for my family, but that’s also kind of selfish because that says self fulfillment. I guess the answer to that is no, I guess my life is not fulfilled yet. I expect to take in a whole lot more.
Hmm, the unknown. If a part of us goes on, that’s good. I hope that that is something, maybe the way it is, this thing with what we have been given, a consciousness that perhaps no other animal has. Then you do wonder what that is and does it go on. But then again, if that’s not the way it is, if there is nothing more so to speak after death, we’ll not know about it ‑ so there really isn’t anything to fear.
I would certainly like to be able to see my grandchildren as adults and continue to be able to see my children’s and grandchildren’s smiling faces. I would like to think that I have given something to my children to make it easier for them to live their lives. That my previous partners and present could say that something positive came out of our relationships. That others have received something out of my teachings and work, which have made a positive difference in their life. World peace.
I think this interview has been a great walk through life, but that the details of each question ‑ I don’t know if I elaborated could probably become a book. There are a lot of things that I could add, I was thinking of the legends and things that I could say more about, about the music, some of the songs, and also, some of the different parts of my life, I could go in to great detail ‑ I do have a tremendous memory for all of my childhood years and all through my adult life. I could go back to life situations and see them in detail and remember what was said and done oftentimes. So, if I am certainly am willing to do that. I think it’s nice, I think it’s great to be able to talk about things and for others to be able to hear it. Perhaps this will just be a start, and eventually we will have a best seller.