GUNNAR'S 1ST LETTER
Vora 7 March 1993
My sister Maria thanks you for the letter you sent to her. She just turned 86 years. I who writes am Anna-Beata Norrgard's (Antbrams) second youngest child, Gunner, born 2 February 1924. My wife is Bernice and she and I have a son Peter. Peter and his wife Gun-dis have three sons.
My mother (Anne-Beata) used to tell how she came as a four-year-old to her maternal Uncle Ohlis. Se was sitting on a moving load (probably the families possessions that were being moved). She stayed here until she was old enough to serve as a maid to some of the farmers in the vicinity. My mother married Mickel Nygard (later named Norrgard). Ny means new farm. Norr means North farm. My father, Erick Nygard, bought in 1903 a part of the Holms farm. My parents used that part of the farm all of their lives. I now own half of this farm.
I remember how my mother used to wonder how her sister Lisa had it in America. I sometimes went with my mother to Holms Moster's house (Brita Murkais Holms at Holms Berget (Holms Mountain) behind the weather mill (windmill). I was ten years old when Moster's cabin burned (1934) (Brita died in 1939). I remember very well how I looked out the window and how the sky was red in the west. There is nothing left of Moster's things any more except for a little mirror that stood on a chest of drawers that I now have in my possession. My mother was not privileged to go to school. She could not write but she could read and she daily read the newspaper and her religious scriptures. My mothers half-sister, Lovisa, I remember very well. She was married to Matts Ohlis. Lovisa was a very glad and humorous woman.
After the war of 1939-1944, times were very hard in Finland. Then we often wondered how our cousins in America had it and how it has been very good times in Finland, but two years ago, a recession begun that is still continuing. I am sending an air photo where I have marked the place where Holms Moster's cabin was and the Norrgard's cabin is. It was taken in 1952.
Many greetings from all Anna Beata's relatives.
65300 Vasa, Finland
GUNNAR'S 2ND LETTER
Vasa 6 Jan. 1994
To my relative Eugene!
I must at first thank you for your letter and your many photographs you sent us. I thank you also for the fine picture books and shirt you sent. As you notice I am not the very fluent letter writer, you have so many questions that I can not answer, these are old things that happened before my time. One has to research to get the information, I have done some of that already.
You and Joyce are always welcome here in Vasa where I live and I would like to show you in Vora where your forefathers came from.
I can tell you something about myself. My father, Mickel and Anna-Beata had ten children; we had many at the table but we were never in need.
I went to Folkskola (Trade or technical school in Rokioby. ---It is directed for the people in the countryside. They teach cooking, animal husbandry, how to grow things, religion---
I went often to visit Holms, a teacher who had a boy older than I was. I also earned my first money by selling wood to the Folkskola, sawing and cutting wood to burn. At my Fathers death in 1941 I was working on the land at Holm. I became a soldier in 1942 and was in the war in Russia until 1946 when Finland and Russia had peace, a very hard peace for Finland.
In 1948 I went to the City of Vasa and got the training as a electrician, after that I had work in different factories here i Vasa, I worked eleven years in a Sugar Factory and fifteen years in a factory that made hydraulic steering vents (hydraul styrventiler).
I have been retired from work since I was 63 years old, since retiring I have lived most of the time in Vora. We have built a house for our son Peter, it is close to Holms' property. At Holms there are several buildings besides the school that house the rehabilitation unit for the war veterans. I have been there twice, once for one week and another time for a two week period. ---a place where they eat good, have hot baths, cold baths, mud baths lots of exercises---
Peter is a trained electrician. Bernice has been working 35 years in a bank, both can read English very well, we can understand your letters and writings.
I hope to wish you and Joyce luck in your new home and happiness for the New Year.
With family wishes