Thursday, September 25, 2014

Letters from Esther - #6

I am writing up a series of letters my grandmother, Esther, sent "home" to her siblings in North Dakota as she traipsed around the world working for the State Department as a working woman before it was chic. Letters were chosen over phone calls because long distance calls were expensive, and it was sometimes difficult to hear well at a distance.

This letter is the next letter I have from Esther by date.


Air Mail

Miss Jennie Efraimson
Perth, North Dakota

Saigon, Feb. 19, 1959

 Dear Jennie and all:

Thank you for your letter and the Brown Photo Co. address. I hope you can catch the mink and have a fur piece made of it -- even if its just a dress collar. [Jennie and all must have been having trouble with a mink on the farm causing trouble.]

The same day as I got your letter I also got one from Aunt Aina. I'll enclose it. I had written her a Christmas card and told her that I might stop there in 1960 on my way back home [Finland] and that you might join me in Europe too. Sounds like she has started waiting already, eh? I do hope we can do it. [I will type the contents of Aunt Aina's letter below.]

I guess you heard about the cyclone they had in Queensland. I'm waiting to get the news ticker to find out what towns it hit because I missed that on the radio. I hope it wasn't Ingham. I must write to Carl and Ellen too -- Its been ages since I did.

Guess what? I'm going to play the Stars Bangled Banner at the American Community Picnic for the sporano who will sing it, using a little portable foot-peddal organ. [Star Spangled Banner? Soprano? Pedal?] She sings in our choir and our organist is going to be out of town. Of course I hadn't even planned on going but I guess I will have to now. They say they celebrate Washington's birthday as they would normally celebrate the 4th of July because its cooler now. The lady who will sing it is is Mrs. Hung, a Chinese-American. Her husband works in USIS. She does have a very nice voice but we have another soprano whose voice I like even better -- a Mrs. Lemon who is the wife of a missionary. She is singing the solo part in a number we are doing on Easter and it sounds just beautiful. I still haven't been able to find a good alto to help me out. How about coming out here? You would not like the weather, I'm afraid, although I love it. The coolest part of the day -- 6:30 in the morning -- they give the temperature on the radio and its been climbing up a notch every day or two lately. This morning it was 80. But it really doesn't seem that warm. I have no idea what it gets to by noon -- must be pretty high though -- but at night it cools off again.

I went on another week-end trip to NhaTrang. Had a lovely time. Now my friend Romy and I are talking about taking a trip to Manila sometime before she leaves in August. I don't know for sure if I want to though as I do want to go to Australia and take most of my annual leave for the year for that trip, stopping in Singapore, Bangkok, etc. en route.

Well, gotta get back to work. Thanks again and hope to hear from you soon.

Avec amour, [French for "with love"]

Letter from Aunt Aina that Esther included in the envelope to Jennie:

Turku 1 ofa - 59

Rakas Esther,
Sydamelhnan lu-los Riojeestan, joka fali Jo 2 cridlra sitten. O - lin nun lornen Saa's dess ani Sinulta kiojeca!  Eei ole vain tullut fein ortcllua.

Olan Soslla Glilula Soaren luon a, ja koska hanen vankin Iutloreusa on lullenut Soula ssa on glantia, Kiofortlaa nan nyt muutom an rikn: [ sorry if I butchered the Finnish -- here she translated into English:]

Aleksi has also got your letter and he was very glad about it. You are welcomed to Finland. We shall wait for you "in the port". How are you? Well we hope Aunt Aina asks you to write often. It's very cold outside and we are longing for spring -- and for you. If you wrote here to Saari you could write in English, too. Address:
Mrs. Hilkka Saari
Puolananpuisto 1. B
Turku, Finland

Sincerely yours:
Aina-tadin, osoite:

Ketarantie 5. Asunto 2
Olan nimittain muutla
nut, asuntoa.


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