THE STORIES OF VELLAMO IKOLA

This article contains Vellamo Ikola’s own and others’ stories about the stages of the Ellilä family.

Background to Vellamo and Aunt Ida

Vellamo Ikola (née) Vaherjoki ia the second oldest daughter of Irja Vaherjoki (née) Paaso. Irja is the third oldest child of Emmi Katariina Aate´s daughter Paaso (née) Ellilä. As we can see by her patronymic, Emmi belonged to Adolf Ellila´s family being the fifth oldest child. The two youngest girls of Adolf´s 10 children, Ida Kustaava (Ida) and Priita Maria (Mari) moved to America in early 1900 to get work and better living there, just as many other Finns did in those days. This is briefly the family relationship of Vellamo Ikola and Ida Anttila.

Vellamo relates about her experience in America

I met Aunt Ida Anttila in the summer 1967 in Detroit where I was at that time due to my studies, (I´m English teacher). She was 78 years old and looked very much like Ellilas and our encounter was very touching to both of us.
Aunt Ida lived together with her cousin Mimmie Grangroth (née Jääskö) in an area of ´blacks´, where still lived some old white people. I forgot to ask the name of Mimmie´s father, who was Kaisa Ellilä´s brother. I was able to stay with them just for one night because the black rioting in Detroit started the following day and my host family came to take me home. Ida and Mimmie were hiding in their house for one week and these  poor old ladies didn´t dare to go out because of rioting. I could not see Aunt Ida´s son John´s family, because she said her daughter-in-law didn´t like Finns.

I met Aunt Ida next time in 1971. She had moved to Hancock, Upper Michigan. It was interesting to hear Ida telling about her and Mari´s coming to America. First they had gone to their uncle´s farm in Upper Michigan. It was new to me that their mother´s brother was farming in America. When this uncle and his wife were going to the barn to milk cows, the girls asked if they could help and do something meanwhile, their uncle suggested they could wash the peilit, not meaning mirrors but pails (ämpärit). But of course  the girls didn´t know any Finglish at that time, so they washed the mirrors.  And when the uncle and his wife came back in they were wondering: Why didn´t you wash the pails. The girls: “Me pestiin kaikki peilit eikä ne oo ikinä shainannu niinku ne nyt shainaa.” We washed all the mirrors and they never shined before as they do now. When Aunt Ida told me this she knew Finglish very well. She told me her life had not been easy: her husband Reino drank and  gambled.

When my parents went to see Aunt Ida in 1973, she was living in a nursing home of the Apostolic Lutheran Church in Calumet. She died in 1974. Mari Knutila had died in 1951. My mother and father went to see Aunt Mari´s children in California, too.
After my father retired my parents made a trip to America, they left in September 1972 and came back home in May 1973. My father died of cancer in 1978 and my mother of cerebral hemorrhage in 1990.

 

Magic Midsummer tricks by Ellilä girls

In Aate and Kaisa Ellilä´s family there were four boys and six girls. Of boys Viktor August (b.1876) and Antti Niilo (b.1890) lived to adult age, but Kalle Eemeli (b.1878) and Juho Lauri (b.1884) died as children.  The girls were Sofia Aurora (b.1879) – Author Antti Hyry´s grandmother, Alma Amanda (b.1881), Emmi Katariina (b.1882), Anna Kreeta (b.1886). Ida Kustaava (b.1889) and Priita Maria (b.1892). These two youngest girls moved to America.

Midsummer was coming and Ellilä girls like many young girls were doing magick tricks at Midsummer Eve.
They picked a bunch of nine flowers, which young girls used to put under their pillows to dream of the future fiancé.
But then Kreeta got other thoughts saying: I don´t care for this kind of magic tricks, so she threw her bunch away.
At Ellilä was living a poor old woman, who saw what Kreeta did, so she saved the flowers and put them under her pillow.
Then one day after Midsummer a few young men came to Ellilä in road matters. Then the old woman pointed at one of them saying: That man is Kreeta´s fiancé. It´s he that I saw in my dream at Midsummer night. This man was Yrjö Hagberg (later Haantie), who really became Kreeta´s husband.

This story was told me by Anna Peuronen, who was my grandmother Emmi Ellilä-Paaso´s daughter.

Vellamo relates of herself.

Then something of myself. My husband Toivo Ikola, born in August 18, 1942 at  Tyrnävä, is a farmer. We – a bachelor and an old maid – got married at an older age, in May 22, 1988, and did not get any children, so we are a childless couple.

We live at Ala-Ikola, my husband´s heritage farm, to which Toivo´s great grandfather came from Pudasjärvi in 1860´s. At that time many Finnish people moved a lot, just like Kalle and Antti Ellilä who, went to Norway. 

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