Yesterday I began reading my letters from 1963.
I left my home in Helsinki the day after my 18th birthday to study nursing in England. Just one year earlier I had been the most miserable seventeen-year-old who saw no hope for her future.
My journal-type letters from the overland journey through Stockholm, Copenhagen, Holland to London overflow with gratefulness to my maternal aunts and grandma who had given me the healing feeling of being “at home” during the short year I spent in Finland.
What had made the change from the blinding darkness of misery to a hopeful joy and willingness to face a new journey into an unknown future in such a short time? How long would that joy last? Were the wounds of a devastating uprooting of a sixteen-year-old healed that soon?
I’m trying to find out by reading the stories of my life in old letters.
My aunts Göta and Elna and my Grandma Sofia listened to my stories of my beautiful homeland I left behind in Ceylon. It was especially aunt Göta with whom I could share the beauty and the pain of the upheaval. She was fifty years old. Her friends became my friends. Her church became my church. She had been intensely involved in my life since I was born, though we lived continents apart throughout my childhood. Letters my mother wrote to her family in Finland from wherever our family happened to be around the world, and the letters they wrote to her formed a strong lifelong bond between us.