July 31, 2007; interviewed by Cheri (Stadler) Ryan
[“Uh”s, “um”s, and other speech fillers have been omitted.]
Cheri Ryan, Alderwood Manor Heritage Association: It’s July 31, 2007. This is Cheri Ryan at the Alderwood Manor Heritage cottage in Lynnwood, Washington, doing an oral interview with—
Leo Juhola: Leo Juhola. And I was born in Bismarck, North Dakota, in 1923, and we moved to Alderwood in 1935. And I entered the Alderwood Grade School for grades 7 and 8, and then had this pleasure of going down to Edmonds High School in 1941.
CR: Who was in your family? Your parents—what were their names?
LJ: My parents are Jalmar and Alma Juhola.
CR: And they probably weren’t born in North Dakota; where—
LJ: They were born in Finland. My mother in Mikkeli, Finland, and my father was born in Kotka.
CR: Did they emigrate together from Finland?
LJ: My father came over in probably nineteen-three , and then my mother in nineteen-nine . And when she arrived in Napoleon, North Dakota, they were married there, in April of nineteen-nine .
CR: Did they know each other before?
LJ: They had apparently committed eventually they would marry some day, so— When he came, he actually had gone in to Michigan area and worked in the logging business there, and then when [sic] they moved out and homesteaded in North Dakota.
CR: And what brought them to Alderwood Manor?
LJ: The drought years in the— from the ’20s in to ’35. And they had this farm, and of course the crops were not good, and there was dust storms and Russian thistles, and that’s what you could raise, rather than some of the crops. So they decided that they would like to try something different. And of course my mother was very thrilled about that because, having grown up in Finland, where it’s lakes and trees and water everywhere, and going to North Dakota, out on the prairie, and she said we lived in this sod house with one window, which was in the door, and she just could not even bear looking out the window and seeing nothing but prairie. And so when she came to the Edmonds area, she thought, “This is wonderful. This is almost like going to heaven.”
CR: Did your parents know somebody out here in Washington, or— ?
LJ: There were some earlier relatives from our town in Braddock, North Dakota, where we lived, that had moved out here, so we actually came out and there were several people that we, that they knew actually from Braddock, North Dakota, that came to the area. And of course most of them lived in Ballard, and worked in the sawmill and so on, but I really don’t know why my dad decided to come to the Edmonds area, but there were actually some other people that he knew that also were in the same area. In fact, his brother, my dad’s brother, who came from Finland also, did locate in Alderwood as well.
CR: What was his name?
[phone rings in background; tape paused]
CR: Your uncle Erick, was he already living here, or— ?
LJ: Yes, he was living here as well. In fact, over close—I forget the street—but closer to Cedar Way where he lived, so we were very close. Of course it was— A lot of these people that came, Erick included, actually talked Finnish and went to the Finnish church in Ballard, on 65th—67th and Ballard, the Finnish church. And so I actually never spoke English at home.
CR: Your family went to the Finnish church in Ballard?
CR: From Alderwood Manor?
LJ: Yeah, uh-huh.
CR: How would you get down there?
LJ: By car.
CR: You had the car?
CR: So, where did you live in Alderwood Manor?
LJ: We lived on Spruce Way, and later that property, in 1942, probably, we moved—my dad built a house on Filbert Road. And so we moved out here and, but they had a new house and so on.
CR: And how many children were in your family?
LJ: There were six of us.
CR: Six. And did all of them come to Alderwood Manor with your parents?
LJ: Uh, no. A couple of them stayed. Two brothers stayed in North Dakota and farmed. They each had a farm. And my sister was teaching school in North Dakota in these one-room schoolhouses. And actually my brother Carl and I were the only ones that really lived in Alderwood. And then Carl’s—from there, Carl went to the University of Washington, as well.
CR: Were you and Carl the youngest, then, of the six?
LJ: Yeah, we were the youngest, so we were the ones that came out and lived at home there.
CR: The house on Spruce Way, when your dad bought it, how much property was it?
LJ: Five acres.
CR: And what was on the property, do you remember?
LJ: There were a 100-foot long chicken house, and various kinds of cherry trees, including mostly pie cherry trees, which had worms in them. And my mother, she didn’t like snakes, and it seemed like we had a lot of snakes on that property, and I still remember her walking out there to pick up some fruit and seeing one of these snakes and she’d take off very fast. [laughs]
CR: So there was a house on the property, too—
LJ: Yes, there was a house.
CR: —and the chicken barn or building.
CR: Did you have—did you raise chickens?
LJ: Well, my dad tried his hand at raising these, I think they were white leghorn, or whatever they were, and I don’t think he knew too much about it; I think most of them died.
CR: Was your dad working someplace else then?
LJ: At that time, there were not very many jobs to be had, so… Actually, he worked on WPA. The job that they were working on was pick-and-shovel, digging up all the property north from Alderwood up, like up to Paine Field, and putting in water lines.
CR: For the WPA?
LJ: Yeah. And so I always remember this big salary, 48 dollars a month. And then if you go up to Everett, you could go to some warehouse up there where they had some government food products and get bags of beans and all that sort of thing and, so—
CR: Dried beans?
LJ: Yeah. So, anyway, that’s one way that we lived. So you didn’t do too much celebrating and so on.
CR: So you had a garden at home?
CR: Any other animals? Cows, horses, pigs?
LJ: Oh, yes. We had the— took one end of the barn, or the chicken house, and made it a barn and my dad went out and bought two worthless cows, [laughs] which didn’t give much milk. But anyway, so we did had [sic] milk, and we had chickens, so we had a couple food items. Then up the street Marson’s had a—they raised pigs. And they used to go into Seattle to the old bakery and getting [sic] old stuff. And so then we and I think some of the other neighbors would go up there and they allowed us to pick out the best edible food and cupcakes and whatnot. So you had to do a lot with nothing.
CR: Did you, as a kid, did you have odd jobs? Did you ever work— ?
LJ: Oh, yes!
CR: What type of things did you do?
LJ: Went out and picked berries, currants I think it was. And the [inaudible] farms down there in Cedar Valley where they had some strawberries. I remember Mrs. Lindbloom would have these kids out there and she’d [say] “Now don’t eat those, because they got some stuff on them,” you know. So anyway, so we didn’t eat up all the profits. [laughs]
CR: So, you said you went to Alderwood Grade School in the seventh and eighth grade—
CR: Did you walk to school?
LJ: No, rode the bus.
CR: To grade school?
LJ: Yeah, uh-huh.
CR: And where did you catch the bus?
LJ: I think up on—what is that?—North Trunk Road? Yeah. So we had to walk over there.
CR: You walked from Spruce Way to North Trunk— ?
CR: —and then the bus picked you up there and took you down to the school.
LJ: Yeah, right. Of course, in North Dakota we walked to school, so this was kind of a treat to ride the bus.
CR: Do you remember who the bus driver was?
LJ: Uh, yes, Ray Pennock’s father, Arthur Pennock. And also Carl Keeler.
CR: And then when you went to Edmonds High School, where did you catch the bus to go to Edmonds?
LJ: Oh, the same way.
CR: The same place.
LJ: Yeah. And then of course later on, when we moved to—No, we didn’t move until after that. So… But anyway, yeah, there was always a nice long bus ride. I remember when they bought this new bus, Number 7.
CR: Number 7 was the new bus?
LJ: Yeah, that was the new bus.
CR: What kind of bus was it, do you remember?
LJ: No, probably a Bluebird, or—
CR: What do you remember about Alderwood Grade School? Do you remember your teachers?
LJ: Oh, yeah. Tom Tucker, and Mrs. Beebe was the superintendent, and Julius Dornblut, and those were the main ones. And it was so different because the school that I went to in North Dakota, we’d have three, four grades in one room, and maybe have three or four in a class, I mean in a grade. I remember my cousin, who also moved out here, they were the Rozzu [?] family, and he was a couple years younger than I was, and he wanted—of course, we played together—and he wanted to go to school when I did. So when I started in the first grade, he wanted to go there, so they let him go. So he’d get a chair and sit beside me. So we always said he went to “side grade.”
CR: “Side grade!” [laughs] And what grade were you in when he did that?
LJ: First grade.
CR: First grade and he came—he was a little younger than you?
LJ: Yeah, a couple years.
CR: And that was in North Dakota?
CR: That’s funny. And what kind of things do you remember about Alderwood Grade School, like recess, playing— ?
LJ: Oh, yeah, we used to go out and play, and so on. I never did… A lot of the time— I ended up getting asthma, and so I was not able to do any strenuous stuff. Oh, it was just [inaudible] with all the kids, it was nice to visit with them and so on and so forth.
CR: Who were your friends in grade school? Do you remember?
LJ: Oh, yeah. The Niederhauser boys, Tom [Thomas] and Ted [Theodore]. And, let’s see, there was Baileys, a couple of the Bailey boys. And of course there was… There was another Finnish family that was here, too— Lepisto— and they lived up north a ways up there, beyond Martha Lake Road. So anyway, there were a lot of, we made a lot of friends.
CR: And what were your favorite subjects in school, in grade school?
LJ: Well I seemed to have liked them all. But I think that probably arithmetic, mathematics, was one of the things I enjoyed the most.
CR: Did you play any instruments, or do anything musical?
LJ: No. Well, no, because of my breathing problems I couldn’t. In fact, when I was in high school, just to walk from one room to another was a challenge in itself. I know when my sister finally came out here, and she took me to a lot of different doctors and so on. And I grew up on something that was manufactured, it was a, something to breathe. And on Highway 99, south of Aurora Bridge, there was a little laboratory, and they made this stuff to breathe, called Selrodo, which was “odorless” spelled backwards. And for years I carried an atomizer bottle of this Selrodo and that actually got me through probably until about in the mid-twenties [his age].
CR: And what year did you graduate from Edmonds High School?
LJ: 1941, and I was the president of the Senior class in 1941.
CR: Do you remember how many students were in that senior class?
LJ: Uh, yes, I still have the list of all of them, and there were 88.
LJ: And I still have the list, and since I was class president, I still have it to this day. [laughs]
CR: Are you still the president of the class?
LJ: [laughs] Yeah. Anyway, I had a sheet with listing all the people in high school and their grade point average. [laughs]
LJ: And what I did was, as I say, you know, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend, at the same time they had the WPA, they also had, I think it was NYA, something about Youth, National Youth something. And so I used to help Thomas Tuckler [Tucker] correct mathematics papers for about, I think I got several dollars a month.
CR: When you were in high school.
CR: You’d go over to the grade school— ?
LJ: No, this was in high school
CR: Oh, he was a high school teacher?
CR: Oh, okay.
LJ: Yeah, he moved on down to the high school—
CR: From Alderwood, went down to the Edmonds High School?
CR: What kind of things did you do during high school for entertainment and fun?
LJ: Well, it was difficult from the standpoint of living out in Alderwood. Of course it was— I didn’t have access, didn’t have a car to go down there. But sometimes somebody would pick me up and take me down. But—So I didn’t really get to participate too much in some of the activities, but I belonged to the Honors Society, and a few things like that, you know. Of course, I couldn’t go to the dances because I couldn’t dance anyway because I couldn’t breathe. So, I was kind of handicapped, from that standpoint. But anyway, there were a few things. One of my best high school friends was Bob Caspers. And of course he had—the Caspers had cars, so he gave me lots of rides.
CR: Did he live in Alderwood Manor, or did he live in Edmonds?
LJ: No, they lived in Edmonds. The Caspers’ house was when you go down Maple, and you go on the curve, the house was right there on the corner. In fact, there’s Caspers still live on that corner.
CR: Did you have any girlfriends in high school?
CR: No girlfriends. Okay.
LJ: I don’t think anybody wanted to have too much to do with me because I, with my breathing problems, and my nose would always run, and so on and so forth, it was—. So, it was just enough just to go to school. In fact, even with that handicap I never did miss a day of high school.
CR: You never missed a day of high school?
LJ: No. No. I still have my certificates for perfect—
CR: Perfect attendance?
CR: That’s wonderful. Did you ever ride the Interurban that was here?
LJ: Never did.
CR: Never did?
CR: Well, it went away a couple years after you moved here.
CR: Where did—If your mother needed something from the grocery store, where would she go to shop?
LJ: Go to Wickers! And sometimes, when we lived on Filbert, she’d actually walk to the store.
CR: Whereabouts did you live on Filbert?
LJ: Well, you know where the road turns there? On the straight part of the road, then when there was a curve over and went down, and there was a barber shop over on the corner. But the last place on the left—on the north side.
LJ: And now it’s got warehouses and stuff. So on and so forth. But my dad built that house over there.
CR: And did they live there for a long time?
LJ: Uh, yeah, a few years.
CR: A few years?
CR: Did your dad—You said he worked on the WPA, you remember that.
CR: Was there other jobs he had after that that you remember?
LJ: Oh yeah. The job that he probably had—He did work down [in?] Seattle Cedar Sawmill for a short time. But the most time he worked after that was at Crescent Manufacture, where they made spices.
CR: Oh, down in Seattle?
CR: Oh, okay. And after you graduated from high school, what’d you do?
LJ: Well, I actually graduated in June, and I went to work at Boeing about two months later, and I stayed there for 46 years.
CR: Two months after graduation, you went to work for Boeing, and you stayed there for 46 years?
LJ: And, yeah, right. And while I was working at Boeing, after I graduated, during the war I still had my asthma, you know, so anyway, so I actually… about… let’s see… four years after I graduated, I went to—I started at the University of Washington. So I went to the University of Washington while I was working. So …
CR: And what were you taking at the University of Washington?
LJ: I actually took Industrial Engineering. Actually I graduated in ’52, and I think I started at University in ’46, so I was not carrying a full load, because work. And I spent a lot of time working on second shift, so I’d go to school in the daytime.
CR: And what kind of jobs did you have at Boeing?
LJ: Well, I started out, like everybody else did, bucking rivets. And then you become a riveter. And then I didn’t like that so then I got into Quality Control. And then after I graduated then I transferred into Industrial Engineering. And so then I was probably 30-some years I was supervising.
CR: And what planes did you work on?
LJ: Well, mostly started on the B-17, and little bit on bits and pieces of all of them. And of course Industrial Engineering, you just move around to all of the products.
CR: And what year did you retire?
CR: ’87. What have you been doing since retiring?
LJ: Oh, we did an awful lot of traveling. And I did a lot of volunteer work. I volunteered for the State of Washington insurance office, helping seniors with their Medicare insurance, and stuff like that. So I still do a little volunteering. I go over to the church periodically and work in the office.
CR: What church is that?
LJ: Calvin Presbyterian Church down at Shoreline.
CR: And you live in Edmonds now.
CR: When did you move to Edmonds?
LJ: In ’52.
CR: And you’re married—
LJ: Yeah. In fact, me finishing that school was contingent on getting married. [laughs]
CR: [laughs] Oh! What’s the story there?
LJ: Well, I couldn’t do all these things, go to school and all that, so… Anyways, I finished the school in ’52 and never missed any work. Well, I shouldn’t say that. There was a time once earlier on when Boeing had a strike, so I was out for a few months. But, anyway, I kept busy.
CR: You kept busy. When your parents sold the place on Spruce Way, do you remember who they sold it to? The family?
LJ: I think that probably it was more like giving it up.
CR: Oh, okay. I understand.
LJ: And so I think that that was decided to build a house, and it was a very interesting house because over in Maltby, there was a mill that made lumber but it wasn’t plain; it was rough lumber. So the house was built out of that. And if you got a few [inaudible] “Well, I got an extra dollar, I’m gonna get an extra sheet of plywood.”
CR: That’s for the house on Filbert that he built?
CR: Ah. The house on Filbert, was it five acres, too, or was it a smaller piece of property?
LJ: I think, as I remember, it was seven acres. And he bought it from a person that was a barber in Seattle, and got that seven acres for some low price, like four or five hundred dollars.
CR: The house on Spruce: whereabouts on Spruce Way was it?
LJ: Well, it’s about three… the third place south of where the Spruce school is.
CR: So was it near the Thompson family?
LJ: Oh yeah.
CR: Were they your neighbors?
LJ: Yeah. Well, there was a house in between us.
CR: Between you and the Thompsons?
CR: Okay. And who were your other neighbors?
LJ: Across the street was a family by the name of Berry. And then up the street the one I remember was Marson, that’s the one that had that pig farm. And I don’t know who the other ones were. Later on, of course, [inaudible] they had a couple of Hinthorne families. In fact, my brother Carl, when he went to University of Washington, used to get a ride to school with one of the Hinthornes that was a school teacher in Seattle.
CR: Speaking of Carl, what year did he graduate from Edmonds High School?
CR: ’38. And then he went to the University of Washington?
CR: And then did he stay in the area?
LJ: He did until he went into the Service. He was in the ROTC for four years so he got a commission. And so then he went to—I forget what year—he had some time in there he worked on Coulee Dam, and then eventually went into the Service, and he never did come back after the Service. When he got back he stayed back in Massachusetts. And so… never did get back to this area.
CR: He didn’t.
CR: And did any of your other brothers or sister ever come—you said Linda [sister] came out here—
LJ: She came out here. She actually taught school at several different places in Oregon. In fact, she ended up in, in Oregon, in a one-room school there. [laughs] But then later on she taught just outside Portland down by Corvallis.
CR: She was the oldest in the family?
LJ: Yeah, mm-hmm.
CR: And then did your other brothers come out here?
LJ: Yeah. Ero came out. Lived in Seattle for the first time. He did a lot of rebuilding automobile motors and then later on he moved over to Belfair, over on, you know, over by Bremerton. And his wife had worked in cleaning establishments in Seattle, so they—he opened up a—in Belfair, which was not much of a town—a dry cleaner’s there. And so then he stayed there. I think he went over about in ’47, ’48. So he stayed over there, and that’s why he’s still over there, but in the nursing home in Port Orchard. [laughs]
CR: Where did you meet your wife?
LJ: In Edmonds.
CR: In Edmonds. Was she an Edmonds girl?
LJ: No, she’s from Sunnyside. And she came over to Edmonds to teach at the Alder— Edmonds Grade School. So then through Bob Casper, and his aunt was a grade school teacher, and Mary Ellen was at Edmonds School, so somehow or other through that connection.
CR: Through that connection. And your wife’s name is Mary Ellen.
LJ: Mary Ellen, yeah. But she was from Sunnyside, went to Sunnyside High School.
CR: So after you married, you settled in Edmonds, and still live in Edmonds?
CR: And how long did she teach after you were married?
LJ: Oh, probably four or five years.
LJ: And… But yeah, the Edmonds Cemetery, my parents are buried there, and my aunt and uncle, and my sister, and my grandfather, and my aunt, and cousin. We’ve got a whole contingent of family down at Edmonds Cemetery.
CR: Did your—Your grandfather came out here eventually?
LJ: Eventually. But he lived with my uncle Harry.
CR: And where did they live?
LJ: They lived, it’s not on Cedar Way, but it was one of the streets west of Cedar. And Erick, he drove into Seattle, worked at Ballard, he worked at Seattle Cedar for a lot of years. And then later on for this Star Rental, who are still around.
CR: And so your grandfather—When did your grandfather emigrate from Finland?
LJ: He came when my dad did, and then he went back, and then brought his wife back. They were not really very friendly to each other.
[end of side 1]
[beginning of side 2]
LJ: But my grandfather never worked anyplace out here, he just cut firewood and stuff. They had a five-acre plot also. So he lived with Erick and they worked, he worked in the woods area behind the house. I remember once [he] came into the house carrying this, he said, “Look at this beautiful animal,” it was a skunk. [laughs]
CR: [gasps and laughs] Was Erick married?
CR: What was his wife’s name?
CR: And did they have children.
LJ: Two. No, three.
CR: Were they your age or— ?
LJ: Uh, no, let’s see. The oldest boy, his name’s Veikko. Finnish name.
CR: Finnish name.
LJ: Yeah. And so he, I think he probably is six, seven years younger than I am. And then Esther is married to a Mountlake Terrace resident— [inaudible] [Salvatore] Marchese. And then there was Larry, who was the youngest boy, and he lives— actually now he lives in Yakima, but he was not [inaudible].
CR: Did they go to Alderwood Grade School, too?
LJ: Uh, no, Larry… Then they moved in to Ballard.
CR: Oh, okay, so they didn’t live out here?
LJ: No. I—They may have—Veikko and Esther may have started, but I can’t remember exactly.
CR: Do you remember any of the other businesses that were in Alderwood Manor? You mentioned Wickers; were there any other places you remember as a kid?
LJ: Oh, yeah. David Dahlin, the old grocery store. And Arvid Dahlin was another one, was up on Martha Lake there. And then there was that meat market. And the one store at that time there was a blacksmith in Alderwood Manor that actually was from Braddock, North Dakota. And what he did one year, my dad wanted to get a buzz saw so he could go out and saw wood. So he took an old, I think it was a 1926 Dodge. He took the body off of it and, at the blacksmith there at Alderwood, made a, put a table on the back of it—you know where you could put your logs on? — and put on a buzz saw on it, and made some jacks so that you could jack the car, the thing up so it was portable. You could drive this thing, and one of the things that Carl and I, and a couple of his friends, did is down in Edmonds, where there’s Union Oil down there, up on the hill, all those tanks, and then on that hill it was cleared and so Carl and I went up there with this buzz saw and we sawed hundred of cords of wood up there, in 1938. And we’d take our little buzz saw and [makes a driving/tsking noise] drive it up there and then jack the wheels off of the ground and lower the saw, that had a [sic] axle across there and pulleys on the side, so we sawed wood all over the place [?].
CR: And what did you do with the wood?
LJ: I don’t know what they did. It wasn’t ours—
CR: Oh, you just went down and did it for them.
LJ: And there was a, I think it was a car dealer over on Roosevelt Way by the name of Walkner [?]; I think he probably owned that, the wood, I don’t know. It seemed like we had trouble collecting money from him, I remember that.
CR: Do you remember, was there a library in Alderwood Manor? Did you ever go to a library, or— ?
LJ: I never did, no. I doubt that there was one there. Maybe there was. [laughs]
CR: You weren’t interested in that.
LJ: No. [laughs]
CR: You weren’t interested in that. And you told me your family went in to Ballard to go to church so you never went to the church, like Alderwood Community Church?
LJ: No. But my brother Ero got married in 1941 in that old white church there.
CR: Oh, he did? Now why did he get married there and not— ?
LJ: Well, ’cuz I guess because folks lived here.
CR: Did he marry somebody from Alderwood Manor?
LJ: No, North Dakota. Another, a Finnish lady.
CR: Oh. But they just got married at the church?
LJ: Yeah, yeah.
CR: What do you remember about the church there?
LJ: Only thing I can remember [is] that there were—the car was being decorated, so on and so forth.
CR: Speaking of cars, what was the very first car you owned?
LJ: I think the first car I had— Well, Carl and I had bought it together. I think it was a ’41 Nash. And then after that I got an old— I think it was a 1940 DeSoto. I kept that for a long time. And then in ’41 I—[to self: See, what year was that I got that]— During the war, of course, you couldn’t buy any cars. What the heck year was that Chevrolet? [louder] Anyway, I finally did buy a new one as soon as I could get one. It was a Chevrolet. But anyway, I’ve gone through several.
CR: Several cars. And your brother, Carl, you said when he went to the University of Washington—Did he ride with somebody?
CR: Who was it again?
CR: And they were a teacher at the University, or— ?
LJ: No, in the public schools.
CR: The public schools. And he just got a ride with them every day.
LJ: Yeah. And so, anyway, yeah, but he milked cows to make money, to pay. And then of course once he got into ROTC, and he stayed in— But he was very smart. He actually— The year he graduated from the University, he was the top person in the Engineering school, and he was also was [sic] the top person in the ROTC program.
LJ: And so he was getting money from that, too. So… but, yeah, he used to go down there by Haller Lake, there was a dairy down there, and milk cows. But he pretty much worked his way through school. And then he did work one year at Coulee Dam, surveying. And then, I think he and Oren Christianson [?], I think, while they were going to school, Boeing hired him to work part time at Boeing, and Carl always talked about the, one of the jobs he had was when they were building that Boeing plant down there, Plant 2, he was working on the, putting the cranes on them, surveying, and all the tracks and so on for the cranes.
CR: Do you still keep in contact with any of your schoolmates, being that you were the president?
LJ: Well, they’ve been dying off, but [laughs] oh yeah. Allen Solemslie, he was in my class. And Earl Morris. And Bob Bailey—Ralph Bailey. I knew Bob, too, but he hasn’t been around here for a long time. And with our— We try to get together with class members and have for the last, well, ever since we graduated, and Eleanor Thompson, and we have lunches. And so in our 65th anniversary, the old high school was in the middle of renovation, and so I got a hold of Joe McElwain [?], who was the—who runs the place down there. So I talked to him—I got well acquainted with him, and I said, “Well, how would it be—it would be so nice if we could get into that school on our, when we had our reunion.”
CR: Oh, yeah.
LJ: So he worked it out so we could go down there and then he gave us a kind of a tour through there, so we went through there two years ago when we had our anniversary.
CR: Oh nice!
LJ: So we got to see it under construction and see the graffiti and stuff that was inside there, you know behind the scenes, like up on the stage and so on. So I got well acquainted with him, so whenever we go down there now he always comes in and talks to me. And so, of course we’re going down on the 10th, I’ve got to make sure—We’re going to a big wedding at the carnation farm on the 11th. We, in fact, are going to stay overnight over there.
LJ: Yeah, they got the old—Nestle owns that dairy over there. Yeah, we paid a hundred seventy-five dollars for a room for that night.
CR: I didn’t know they had those.
LJ: And so my friend, my younger friend, I don’t know, he’s some kind of a high person with Wells Fargo, so he’s spending, for his only daughter, he’s spending a lot. Dinner, and everything.
CR: Wow, that will be fun. So do you think your parents made a good move when they came out here, or do you wish they would have stayed in North Dakota?
LJ: I would say, from an economical stand [?], it was a big mistake. Because he had two farms, and turned them over to a couple of the boys, you know—
CR: Your brothers.
LJ: My brothers. And one of them didn’t take care of it and the other ended up that he would break out with eczema if he was around hay and cattle and stuff so then he had to give that up. But going from there and something that he had known from nineteen-nine to 1935, and had all the farm equipment, had animals and everything else, and left all that, just left it. And to come out where he was in the little town we lived in, he was probably one of the highest people in town. He was on the school board, and all [inaudible].
CR: In North Dakota?
LJ: Yeah. So, but going away from that, to something where he knew nothing about anything, and I think that he was—suffered all the rest of his life.
CR: Because he made that move and maybe wished he hadn’t?
LJ: Yeah, because he was a prominent person, and then going to nothing, and of course it wasn’t easy, he couldn’t get any jobs, there weren’t any.
CR: How do you think your mom felt about coming out here?
LJ: Oh, she thought the weather was—
CR: The weather.
LJ: The climate, and the locale, and the scenery and everything, it was wonderful. It was like Finland. But I—you’ve never been to Finland.
CR: I have been to Finland.
LJ: Have you? Isn’t it nice?
CR: I’ve been to all the Scandinavian countries.
LJ: We’ve been to Finland and we spent a month over there, and I’ve gone over there and traveled over Finland by train, and we also rent a car over there. I had a very good time there because I can converse with them in Finnish, and they’ll say, “We can’t tell that you’re not a native.”
CR: Well, you said something about that— When you first came here, did you just speak Finnish, or did you speak English, too?
LJ: Not to my parents, no. At home we talked Finnish all the time.
CR: But you spoke English in North Dakota?
LJ: Oh, yeah.
CR: At school.
LJ: Oh yeah.
CR: Okay. So when you came out here you could speak English—
LJ: Oh yeah.
CR: —but you kept speaking the Finnish to your parents.
CR: Did they speak English, your parents?
LJ: Well, they had— My mother didn’t very well. In fact, I’ll tell you, she didn’t really, because back there all her friends were Finnish. So when we moved out to Seattle, she couldn’t talk with the neighbors, so she learned a little bit, so she would get by with it, you know. Otherwise she couldn’t talk to the neighbor ladies. But she learned enough finally. The funny thing, a lot of the words that she would use, you know, they were kind of Finglish.
CR: Finglish, yeah. [laughs]
LJ: Finglish, you know. [inaudible] get out [inaudible] pick out some of it [inaudible] she would talk about Snoqualmie [inaudible] they’d call it “Nisqualmie,” I think it was. And I’ve seen that with a lot of the old Finnish people, that they would end up with a lot of Finglish. You know, we talk about, like, “bedroom” they’d say “pet-a-room,” in other words.
CR: So why do you think your folks, like, they didn’t, why they stayed here, why they didn’t, why he didn’t maybe move down to Seattle, where there was a Finnish community?
LJ: No, they just—
CR: He wanted the land, probably was more important—
LJ: Yeah, and enjoyed—their little lot they enjoyed, you know, room around the place and so on. So that part was fine, you know.
CR: Did you miss North Dakota when you moved here?
LJ: Uh, I missed all my friends. But other than that, you just gotta adjust. And of course I did not have asthma in North Dakota, so that made a big difference. If I could have, I’d probably gone back. But at 12 years old, you don’t have much choice.
CR: You didn’t get to say in the matter. You didn’t get a vote, did you?
LJ: No. [laughs] No. And I’ve always said that my dad should have never left there because of his own position in life, you know, it was just—. And then, they left a lot of their friends—And of course there were a lot, a lot of their friends came out here, too, so that—. But anyway, you can’t reverse things.
CR: No, you can’t. Thank you very much.
Transcribed by tv, November 2011