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This is The Karelian Expatriot Page about a family who lost their home in Karelia, and decided to travel to Canada and establish a new home there.

In 1939 Russia attacked Finland with the result that most of Karelia, Finland's eastern province, was ceded to the Soviet Union. The Finns stopped the Russians along the 1500 km front, (1939-40). The result was that Finland was saved but lost most of Karelia, our home. Finland took it all back in 1941 when Russia once more resumed its attack to capture the rest of Finland. Once more Finland lost the previously ceded territory but was never occupied, thanks to the Finnish Forces. This atrocity was instigated by Joseph Stalin on behalf of the Russian people and resulted eventually in genocide in Karelia.

Churchill and Roosevelt condemned the 1939 unprovoked attack, but did nothing, and later turned against the Finnish people when Hitler attacked Russia and the only aid came from Germany as it did in 1918. Karelians evacuated their country because they wanted to be free and to avoid extermination. Finns, a people who have always been free, will not be the servants of any foreign country, nor did they willingly give up land that was rightfully theirs. So the Finns took it back by force in 1941, which is a perfectly natural response. In 1944 Stalin, (with aid and the blessings of Roosevelt and Churchill) regained the borders of 1940. A communist take-over of Karelia and evacuation of almost 450,000 people was the result. This was an act of which the forces for "freedom" will always be ashamed. The Allies were assisting the Soviets in acts of territorial conquest all around its borders through huge supplies of arms! Now the people want their land back. Putin says even talking about it will worsen Finland's relations with Russia.

Goodbye Karelia...Hyvästi
Antti and Meeri's War Experiences
"Hyvästi Viipuri, ja
Antti perheineen Amerikassa" - Suomeksi
Maamme


Hyvästi Karjala
Jo Karjalan kunnailla lehtii puu - words and score.

Viipuri, goodbye for now.

The winter war began on November 30, 1939 when the Soviet Union attacked Finland. The Finnish people were already preparing for war by September 6, at which time practice air-raid drills were conducted all over Finland. Meeri Saarnio had gone to Torkkelinkatu in Viipuri (Vyborg) to watch the civilian guards practise their duties. The whole country was bracing for the inevitable. Lamps in the hallway in her condominium were painted black except for a tiny hole, and everyone knew what to do should the sirens begin.

On the morning of November 30, 1939, 17 year old Meeri went shopping in downtown Viipuri for some warm clothing with her mother. It was a fresh, nippy Karelian day, and people were going about their business as usual. She stayed behind at a small shop she used to work at, and told her mother to meet up with her there because she had more important things to discuss with her friend just then.

Had they known at that very moment, Russian bombers were headed their way, they would have run home immediately. Bombs were already falling in Kelkkala, Viipuri's eastern suburb where Antti's family lived. As the air-raid sirens whined and the sound of exploding bombs could be heard, and felt, Meeri ducked into a building under construction where she spent the longest hour of her life. When at long last the "all clear" was sounded she came out and surveyed the damage. Several buildings had received direct hits with people in the basement bomb-shelters. A bomb even came down the chimney and exploded in the bank vault where Meeri's family had some valuables. No time to daydream now, she quickly went back to the shop to meet her mom, back to Karjalankatu condos where they ate quickly and her mom very hastily packed what she could, such as utensils and personal belongings. They were given fifeen minutes to get their stuff and leave everything. Then the whole family: mother Aino, father Vihtori, Meeri and Raimo, joined other families in the gathering darkness to evacuate the city.

Historical Note:

1293 The Third Crusade to Karelia, a province of eastern Finland, establishes the borderline between Catholic/Lutheran West and Orthodox East for the centuries to come. The castle and town of Viipuri/Viborg are founded to defend the border.

1323 The peace of Näteburg (Pähkinäsaari) between Sweden and Russia. Finland's eastern border defined for the first time.


Molotov reassures Roosevelt that Russia is not bombing cities. Molotov's denial. Photo of anti-civilian bomb Still the Russian today claim civilians were bombed by mistake. How can you make that big of a mistake to drop a bomb designed to kill civilians? The Russians seemed to be able to, as one Czechoslovakian immigrant put it, "deny the nose on their faces" when it suited them. Every Karelian knows that Stalin bombed cities, and civilians. Molotov (Stalin's mouthpiece) tells his troops that Finland is the aggressor and they are liberating the Finnish people. Meanwhile he tells the world that Russia absolutely needs Karelia for the defense of Leningrad and that Finland is being unreasonable. Everyone is told a different story. But the Finns know the crooked slimy ways of Stalin and Molotov, and they know their cause is just. Unfortunately, Roosevelt and Churchill become victims of these lies, taking half of Europe with them. You see, the atheistic, Communist society has no need for sentimental impediments like "being truthful" or "playing fair" or any such nonsense. Such terminology has no meaning, no utility to these men. Molotov wrote to Roosevelt that he was NOT bombing Finnish cities as accused and "truth is truth" in other words, "truth is what we say it is;" just like the fascists. You had to get up early in the morning to outwit Molotov. No wonder Stalin admired Hitler, one of the greatest liars of all time. And that is why the Finns invented something special in Molotov's honor: the Molotov cocktail.

There wasn't any particular place to go except the railway station, and it was cold. As the bombs fell and the curtains of night closed upon the city, a glance backward revealed a burning city. The flames made the protesting shadows dance wildly as the residents of Viipuri were leaving their homes. The sounds of war mixed with weeping, and sorrow was written on every face. What had they done to deserve this! They now began their long trip to safety in various parts of Finland, especially Lahti, as far as they knew for the last time.

They went to Tienhaara asema, (station) where they drank some water and boarded a train that headed West. Between Mankala and Kausala an air-raid warning brought the train to a halt, and everyone got off. Meeri's father met a man he knew because he used to work there on a small narrow-gauged pässi "goat" line, and got him to take the family by horse-drawn sledge to Kausala. But not before he went back into the train and got his Kouvola accordion. The road proved to be slippery, and the huge horse had trouble staying on his feet, in fact "he slid down a steep hill on his butt" remembers Meeri with a chuckle.

Finally they got to Kausala asema and they ate a light meal. Vihtori put a 5 Mark piece in the gramaphone machine and played a song: "Kauan on kärsitty vilua ja nälkää..." (We've suffered cold and hunger for a long time..a song about the 1877 war between Russia and Turkey in which Finnish soldiers participated, as Finland was at the time a Grand Duchy of Russia.) They were soon on another train headed for Kouvola, where they met up with the CEO and founder of Kouvolan Harmonikka, Aarne Koski, Vihtori's boss. Vihtori was the Kouvola representative for Viipuri and 200 Km radius. Meeri's family found a new temporary home at Aarne's summer estate near Kausala, and Vihtori went to work at the accordion factory as a tuner. Käpylä near Kouvola (another one of Aarne's houses) would be Meeri's home until the temporary peace. After that, in 1941, she moved back to Viipuri on her own to work and share an apartment with another girl. Within a year she was engaged to Antti.

During the bombing Antti's family met at Lahtinen's, who were related to him by his mother's previous marriage, and they left by train to Lahti. There they were housed in a school and many friendships were formed. In fact, Meeri met a woman in Canada who had been in that school and recognized the name Joronen, and told her she knew Antti's mother. That woman was pastor Tomminen's wife Airi, who lives in Victoria B.C. Antti was at this time in Käkisalmi serving in the army and went into action to help bring the giant but clumsy Soviet military might to a swift halt.


Äkkilähtö Viipurista 30 Marraskuuta 1939

Meerille ja Antille tuli semmoinen kohtalo joka riittää elämassä olla vain kerran. Mutta se aikakausi ei välittänyt mitä kukakin halusi, vain kohtalo määräsi mitä sieltä kukakin sai, marinoista huolimatta, ja piti tottua siihen. Niin vuosina 1939 ja 1944, he joutuivat lähtemään kotontansa kaksi kertaan. Suomi jo harjoitteli hälytystä varten Syyskuussa ja Meeri oli mennyt Viipurin Torkkelinkadulle niitä katsomaan. Ja niin se ensimmäinen lähtö, josta seuraavassa tarinassa kerrotaan, tuli 30 Marraskuuta 1939.

Meeri oli äitinsä kanssa Viipurin kaupungissa ostoksilla kun tuli hälytys. Hän oli jättänyt äitinsä vähäksi aikaa juttelemaan kavereittensa kanssa yhdessä kaupassa jossa hän oli joskus tyäskennellyt. He päättivät tavata siellä. Mutta he eivät tienneet että juuri sillä hetkellä venäläiset oli jo matkalla Suomeen. Ensimmäiset pommit putosivat Kelkkalaan, Viipurin syrjässä sijaitsevaan kaupungin osaan, jossa Antin perhe asui. Kun pommit alkoivat tippumaan, Meeri meni turvaan rakennukselle. Sen jälkeen hän tapasi äitinsä ja he lähtivät vauhtia Karjalankadulle tapaamaan perheen toiset jäsenet: isä ja veli. He söivät jotain äkkiään ja paiskasivat muutamia esineitä ja ruokaa laukkuihin ja saman tien lähtivät evakkomatkalle.

Koko kaupunki oli lähössä pois turvaan tietäpitkin tai junalla. Meerin perhe menivät Tienhaaran asemalle, jossa he joivat vettä ja nousivat junaan joka oli lähössä länteen. Mankalan ja Kausalan välillä tuli hälytys jolloin juna pysähtyi ja ihmiset astuivat pois junasta. Meerin isä Vihtori tapasi yhden miehen jonka kanssa hän oli tehnyt joskus töitä pienellä kapearaiteella pässi linjalla. Hän antoi Meerin perheelle kyydin hevoskelkalla Kausalaan. Vihtori, Meerin isä, meni äkkiään takaisin junaan noutamaan hänen Kouvolan haitarin. Tie oli sileä ja liukas ja hevosella oli vaikeuksia pysyä jaloillaansa, ja liukui mäkeä alas takapuolellansa. Kausalan asemalla he söivät jotain pientä ja Vihtori pisti viiden Markan kolikan levynsoittokoneeseen, ja soitti "Kauan ollaan kärsitty vilua ja nälkää." Kohta he olivat toisessa junassa menossa Kouvolaan, Aarne Kosken, Kouvolan Harmonikan omistajan luo, kun Vihtori oli firman edustaja Viipurissa. He asuivat Kosken omistamassa talossa Käpylässä ja Vihtori sai mennä tehtaalle töihin virittämään haitareita. Kun välirauha tuli, ja sai mennä takaisin Viipuriin, Meeri meni takaisin ja asui kaverinsa kanssa. Vuoden sisällä hän oli kihloissa.

Jatkosodan jälkeen tuli toinen lähtä, ja viiminen.


Temporary Peace, Continuation War and Evacuation of Karelia

Antti's friend, Roger Pratt wrote: "After the armistice of March, 1940 450,000 Karelians had to leave their homes and be re-settled in other parts of Finland. Antti Joronen was one of them. Almost nobody chose to stay in Soviet occupied territory. If they did, they probably did not live for long. Antti moved to Helsinki. It put a great strain on the Karelian people and also the government trying to find homes for them."

Picture and Maamme from Virtual Finland.

Rauhansopimuksen jälkeen Maaliskuussa 1940, yli 450,000 Karjalaista joutui jättämään kotinsa ja muuttamaan johonkin Suomeen. Anntti Joronen oli yksi heistä. Melkein kaikki muutti pois. Ne jotka jäivät, varmaan eivät eläneet kauan. Antti muutti Helsinkiin. Se oli suuri taakka Karjalaisille sekä Suomen valtiolle joka yritti etsiä siirtolaisille uutta kotia.


"By July of 1940 Finland was in a most precarious position. Hitler had defeated France and occupied Denmark and Norway, and Stalin had occupied parts of Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia and Karelia. Soon after the peace treaty was concluded Stalin started making fresh demands on Finland. The first was the important nickel mines at Petsamo in the far north. Stalin wanted those. The next was extensive demands for the transit of troops and war material to Hanko by Finnish railways. Next Molotov demanded that the Aland islands be demilitarised or the Soviet Union should participate in the defence works. Next they demanded that Vaino Tanner, the leader of the Social Democrats in Finland be removed from office."

Suomen tilanne välirauhan aikana oli vielä yhä vaarallinen. Hitler oli pääsyt pitkälle jo siihen menneessä. Ranska, Tanska ja Norja oli Hitlerin vallan alimaisena. Stalin oli ottanut omat osat Euroopasta kuten oli Hitlerin kanssa sopinut. Puola, Eesti, Lietua, Latvia, ja Karjala oli Neuvostoliittoon yhdistetty. Mutta ei ollut monta kuukautta mennyt kun Stalin alkoi uudestaan vaatimaan Suomelta jotain. Nyt hän halusi Petsamon nikkeli kaivokset. Seuraavaksi, hän vaati pääsy oikeudet Suomen rautateitse Hankoon. Sitten Stalin halusi Väino Tannerin pois.

Suomi joutui etsimään apua jostain. Apua tuli Sakasasta.

"Finland started to look for support again from outside. In August the Germans proposed that if they supplied arms to Finland, would the Finns permit the transit of German soldiers across Finland. These would be mainly those sick or going on leave. An agreement was concluded on September 22.

On December 6, the President of Finland was ill, and an electoral college was in the process of choosing a new president. The Finnish ambassador in Moscow was summoned by Molotov and informed that the Soviet Union could not approve of four candidates: Mannerheim, Svinhufvud, Tanner and Kivimäki.

Molotov visited Berlin in November in order to try and get a new agreement with Hitler. No agreement was achieved. Hitler also rejected the request from Molotov that the Soviet Union be given a free hand in Finland to incorporate Finland into the Soviet Union in the same way as the Baltic states. This information found its way to the Finnish government.

Throughout the winter of 1940/41 the Soviet Union kept up pressure on Finland for an "agreement" on Petsamo. At the same time reports were coming in of the build-up of German forces on the Soviet frontier, but it was explained away by the Germans to the Finns that Hitler wanted further negotiations with the Soviet Union and that it was just a bargaining chip. If a war did break out it would be of limited duration only. German authorities let the Finns understand that Germany was prepared to support them, and they were urged to stand fast in the face of any Soviet demands.

World War 2

The official involvement of the Soviet Union in World War 2 began on June 22, 1941, but it was called the "Great Patriotic War" by the Soviet Union. Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa, and the German armies invaded. The incompetence of Stalin was astonishing. He was warned at least a week ahead of the invasion by his spy, Richard Sorge, who had penetrated the German embassy in Japan. He was also warned about a week ahead of the invasion by the British who had cracked the secret German codes, The Ultra Secret. Stalin was advised about the huge build-up of troops on his borders. Stalin was also warned about a day before the attack by a German defector. He refused to believe that Hitler would attack him, and gave strict instructions to his troops not to shoot at the Germans. Stalin would not give his approval to his officers to deploy their troops properly, or to protect aircraft on the ground.

Stalin had several of his senior officers shot because they had allowed the Germans to break through, while at the same time they had been under orders not to return any fire without Moscow's prior approval. One German army unit intercepted Soviet field messages saying "We are being fired on. What shall we do?" Headquarters replied: "You must be crazy. Why is your signal not in code?"

German troops poured into Finnish Lapland via the ports along the coast of Finland and overland across the border from Norway. A Soviet attack on Finland was expected because Soviet diplomats had said on several occasions that in the event of a war with Germany the Soviet Union would immediately launch an offensive against Finland. The government prepared a declaration of neutrality, but on June 22 and on June 25, the Soviet air force dropped bombs on a number of towns in southern Finland. On June 25 the Finnish parliament declared that a state of war existed between Finland and the Soviet Union. This new war was called by the Finns the "Continuation War" because the Soviet Union broke the treaty of March, 1940, and continued the Winter War."

The Continuation War

"By the end of August, 1941 all the territory lost in 1940 had been reconquered, but the Finnish offensive was kept up until the beginning of December, by which time the greater part of East Karelia had been secured. It was considered that this area might be valuable as a bargaining counter in peace negotiations.

Antti Joronen survived the Winter War physically intact so it is ironic that shortly after it ended, he was skiing down a steep hill with his rifle slung over his back when he had an accident. There was a fallen tree ahead of him. He turned to avoid the tree, but his skis hit a patch of ice, and he went into the tree. That cost him two weeks in hospital.

In 1941 Antti was back in the army, this time as a sergeant. By September of 1941 the Finnish army had taken all the territory north of Lake Laatokka (Ladoga). Antti's unit was given the task of taking back the islands in Lake Laatokka that had been taken over by the Soviet Union. From the north end of Lake Laatokka, at Läskelä and Lahdenpohja, they commandeered a number of clinker-built wooden fishing boats onto which they installed guns." (Laatokan Sissit - in Finnish)

Antti's Finnish Army regiment Liberates Valamo Monastery
Antti's Laatokka War Photo Gallery

"1942 was an active year for Antti. He left the army and went back to working for the Finnish railroad in Viipuri (Vyborg). That same year, he and Meeri Saarnio were married. They bought a mini-farm, about 1.5 hectare, 14 kilometres east of Viipuri in Honkaniemi, and settled down there.


Finland ran its war against the Soviet Union largely independently from the Germans. Although Hitler wanted the Finns to attack the Murmansk railway and Leningrad, they refused to do so. Antti said that they did not like the Nazis, they did not particularly want to kill Russians, and they did not want to March on Moscow. they just wanted the land back that the Soviets had taken from them. If they had attacked the Murmansk railway they would have cut one of the supply lines for materials into the Soviet Union. But this was not taken into account by the Allies when the Soviets began their final offensive Westward, and Karelia was lost. If they had attacked Leningrad it is possible that the city would have fallen. If that happened how many citizens would Himmler's SS have murdered? Also, the fall of Leningrad would have released another German army to march on Moscow. What effect would that have had on the outcome of the war?" Finland was indeed a friend of the Leningraders during their ordeal with Hitler, not a foe as Stalin tried to make Finland appear to Churchill and Roosevelt.

"The tide of the war finally turned and the Red Army started marching west. D-Day was supposed to have the Soviets attacking from the east at the same time as the Americans landed in France. But, the Russians instead attacked Finland. The Soviets signed the Atlantic Charter in 1942 along with numerous other countries which promised that they would not attempt to use the war to gain territory from neighbors. The Soviets were attacking illegally! As the Red Army approached Finland Antti continued to work on the Railway, but was put under Military authority. One morning at 0400, Antti's Captain telephoned him "The Russians are 20 kilometres east of Viipuri." This was in June 1944. Antti was unable to get a ride out to his farm in Honkaniemi, so he walked and ran the distance. When he got there he could not find Meeri, but the railway tracks ran alongside his property, and there was a train waiting there. He was told that Meeri was on the train, so he went aboard to find her. Russian Bombers began bombing the train. Antti took Meeri off the train together with their son Kari who was 9 months old at the time, and went into the farmyard, together with several other people. All those who went into the farmyard were unhurt, but several other people were killed and injured. They were rescued by the Finnish Air Force who attacked the bombers. When the raid was over they got back on the train, but not before Antti had gone back into the house and smashed all the jars of preserved food they had stored there."

"When the train had travelled about 10 kilometres towards Viipuri they were attacked again. This time Antti considered it too dangerous to continue by train, so they once again got off and started walking. Then along came a horse-drawn ammunition wagon. Then the air raids started again. The main target was Viipuri, and Meeri estimated that there must have been 200 planes. During the attack they got off the wagon and lay beside the road. One driver went crazy, but the other one took them along a dyke to the bus-staging area. The bus took Meeri to another train and on to Tampere. Antti went back to work at the railway station. Eventually the Russians arrived at the railway station, and when they arrived Antti took off in the other direction on a bicycle. He was fired on by the Russians but was not hit. This would make Antti one of the last people out of Viipuri. While he was riding along the bombers came back. He got off the bicycle and lay down. A teenage girl who was riding along close to him stayed on her bicycle and was killed by a bomb. Her body was gone but her hands still clutched the handle bars. As far as Antti was concerned the only good thing happening was that the Finnish Air Force was in action and shooting down Russian planes."

"Antti finally caught up to Meeri at Tampere. Meeri said that Antti was a changed man. He was very depressed. He had seen a lot of death and destruction, and lost his land and farm. On top of that Finland faced defeat at the hands of the Russians. The loss of Viipuri was a tragedy for all the people of Finland, but especially for the people who had to leave homes, graves, businesses and everything their ancestors had worked for. Meeri saw it differently. She had to look after Kari all this time, and he was so good through all the bombing and destruction.

Also, people were so kind. They had lost everything, but people took them in and helped them however they could. It was as if the war, with all its shared hardships had brought everybody together." Säkkijärvi displaced person.

"Antti rejoined the army and stayed with the army until Christmas of 1944. He then went back to working for the railway in Helsinki.

Peace feelers with the Soviet Union were put out very early in the war, but these were all rejected by the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union insisted on settling on the borders of 1940, while the Finns insisted on the borders of 1939. W hen detailed peace conditions were conveyed to the Finns in March, 1944, two of them were considered impossible to fulfill: the payment of a war indemnity of $600,000,000.00 and the expulsion of all German troops within a month. In August 1944 the Finns won an important defensive victory at Ilomantsi. The armistice with the Soviet Union was signed on September 19, 1944. Finland ceded territory lost in 1940, plus Petsamo (Pechenga), but instead of Hanko, the Porkkala peninsula only 29 kilometres from Helsinki, was leased to the Soviet Union. The indemnity was reduced to $300,000,000.00 but the actual value was almost double that amount. It took several months of fighting to expel the Germans from Lapland."

"At the time Antti did not understand why Stalin did not take the whole of Finland. The rumour was that Stalin was in a hurry to go after Berlin, and did not want to waste any more time in Finland than he had to. He also wanted Germany's other allies (Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria) to look east rather than west for terms.

The preservation of Finnish independence enabled pro-Soviet writers in the west to deflect suspicions of true Soviet intentions in Europe. Later research showed that Antti's original rumour was not too far wrong. Stalin was not just after Berlin, but after Denmark too, but the British arrived there first. With Denmark, Stalin would have controlled access to the Baltic Sea."

Antti Amerikassa

Ison lohen Antti Kanadassa. Tuli suolalohta moneksi viikoksi.
Antti with his catch of Lake Trout. Salt salmon - his favourite.

Having lost his home in Karelia, Antti brought his family to Canada. Here in Long Lake Ontario near Sudbury, he became famous for his fishing skills using lures of his own design which he manufactured and sold. Nobody caught fish that big in the lake for years. Photo taken in his front yard in the 1950's. The sauna is in the background, the lake on the right and Suomi Ranta a hundred meters behind Antti, and the Finnish hall right across the road. Work in the Sudbury INCO nickel mines was not his idea of why he came to Canada. Antti became sick from the mine air and from ingesting the mercury and other poisons in the fish he ate from the lake. In his fever, he looked out the window and saw the moon shining into the room. He heard a voice say "you must stop this or something bad will happen." Not long after that, after just over two years in Ontario, we drove all the way to Vancouver B.C. and two years after that settled in Victoria B.C. and became a salmon fisherman, with Sointula as base, and then a top physiotherapist. This was a huge transformation for Antti which increased his sphere of friends and acquaintances enormously, from Alberta to Vancouver Island.



The question of why so many people left Finland after the war is now clear. Valpo, the Ministry of Interior in Finland was headed by a Communist. There was a fear of a Communist uprising and subsequent entry of the Soviet Army into Finland, as they did in Czechoslovakia. At one time, roads leading to Helsinki were closed and Soviet Army was poised across the border to move. For some reason, the Communists on the Finnish side did not get their act together in time, and the chance to take over the country escaped these communist traitors.

Antti Amerikassa

Kun Antti ja Meeri joutuivat jättämään kotinsa Karjalaan, ja ei maistunut elämä uudessa kodissa, he päättivät lähteä Kanadaan kuten moni muukin. Kuva Antin perheestä Ruotsissa odottamassa lippua Tässä kuvassa joka on otettu omakotitalon pihassa viidenkymmenen luvulla, Antti on justiin palannut kalasta Long Lake-iltä, joka on Ontarion osavaltiossa Sudburyn lähellä. Jos tuuli oikesta suunnasta, Antti aina lähti narraamaan kalaa. Sauna on taustalla vasemmalla, järvi oikealla. Suomi Ranta, joka on suomalaisten omistama, on saunasta muutaman sadan metrin päässä. Sen toisella puolen tietä on suomalainen tanssipaikka ja urheilukenttä. Antti oli suuressa INCO nimisessä nikkeli kaivoksessa täissä, ja eihän se tälle Karjalaiselle sopinut; nimittäin Antti sairastui siinen huonon ilman olotilaan joka on yleensä maan alla. Ei sekään sitten kuitenkaan ollut Antille ja Meerille koti, ja mieli teki kovasti lähteä siintä katsomaan mitä muuta voisi Kanadasta löytää. Että voisko siellä sittenkin olla ihmemaa vuorten takana. Niin kahden vuoden perästä he lähtivät perheineen: Eevan, Karin, ja Osmon kanssa suurelle seikkailumatkalle halki Kanadan maata, British Columbiaan joka sijaitsee Tyynenvaltameren rannikolla, vuoristossa sekä itäpuolella osaksi preerialla. Se ihmemaa jota kutsutaan englanniksi joskus "lotus" maaksi sen vuoksi kun kaikki muka pyrkivät sinne eikä tahdo sieltä pois.

Tämä reisu oli oikeastaan huvimatka jossa meni yli kuukauden. Antti oli keksinyt semmosen uistimen että sitä ei ollut kellään. Se oli painavalaatuinen kiilto uistin jotka tehtiin muotissa valamalla, sitten viilattiin ja kiillotettiin. Ja ihmiset osti. Kun Antti heitti sen veteen, kohta oli kala. Ainakiin yhden kerran pikku sisko Eeva oli huutanut "Antin uistin on paras uistin" Englannin kielellä että ihmiset tuli katsomaan mikä ihme usitin se oikeestaa on. Ja samalla Antti sai kaupaksi, pensaa autoonsa ja ruokaa perheellensä. Iltaisin kalastettiin ja tehtiin uistimia, ja päivisin ajeltiin länteen, ja uuteen toivoon.

Aavan meren tuolla puolen jossakin on maa
missä onnen kaukorantaan laine liplattaa
missä kukat kauneimmat luo aina loistettaan
siellä huolet huomisen saa jäädä unholaan

No, saavuttiin kohta aavameren rantaan, Vancouverin kaupunkiin, joka oli ihme. Suuret vuoret nousi melkeen rannasta ja iltaisin ne loistivat valoillansa jotka tulivat vuorella sijaitsevasta ravintola sekä hiitomäeltä, joka on vain parin tunnin matkanpäästä suuremmasta nykyisestä kuuluisesta Whistler Mountain hiihto keskuksesta. Mutta Victoria tuli olemaan uusi kotikaupunki ja siintä hän ei voinut mennä enään pitemmälle muuten olisi Kiinassa.

Victoria on siisti ja kaunis British Coumbian pääkaupunki, kuten Viipurikin. Siellä Antista tuli Suomi kerhon puheenjohtaja, ja hän oli kohtalaisen tyytyväinen. Syksyt muuttuvat Viktoriassa hitaasti talvipäiviin, jolloin on joskus kovatkin pakkaset jotka eivät kestä kun muutaman viikkon, ja sitten voi tulla niin lämmintä että ei tarvitse takkia lainkaan. Japanilaiset luumu puut alkaa kukkimaan jo Maaliskuussa, ja säät muuttuvat hitaasti kesäksi melkeen huomaamatta. Laivat ja vesitaso koneet menee ja tulee yhtämittaa satamassa. Karjala tuntuu olevan niin kaukana..., mutta kuitenkin lähellä sydäntä samalla aikaa. Siellä kirjoittaja sai kasvaa ja samalla yrittää säilyttää äidin kielensä ja vaikkapa oppia kirjoittamaa Suomeakin.

Antista tuli Tyynenvaltameren verkko kalastaja, ja Sointula, joka sijaitsee Vancouverin Saaren koillisella puolella Malcolm Saarella, oli hänen kotinsa kesällä. Siima kalastajat kalastivat yleensä eniten Vancouverin Saaren länsirannikolla, ja verkko kalastajat Vancouverin Saaren ja mantereen välisissä vesistöissä. Monet kalastajat tulivat hyvin toimeen kalastuksellaansa kun vain kalan hinnat pysyivät korkealla ja pystyi rakentamaan taloja myytäväksi talvella, tai mitä tahansa, ja kalastaa kesät, niitä suuria länsirannikon lohia. Ja heillä vasta vehkeet oli - hienot suuret veneet joilla pystyi menemään pari sataa kilometriä maasta merelle, vaikka Queen Charlotte Island:iin saakka. Monet kalasteli pohjakalaa kun lohi aika meni umpeen. Olin itse Charlottilla töissä kun illalla menin kävelylle laivarantaan. Kuulin sieltä tuttua ääntä - suomen kieltä. Kävelin lähemmälle ja huomasin että se oli isän kalastaja kaveri, Hautakosken Veikko ja pari toista Suomalaista. Juttua riitti se on selvä.

Mutta ei sekään ammatti kestänyt kun Antin paleltuneet jalat alkoivat pakottaa, ja hän pääti menevänsä takaisin kouluun - Torontoon. Vaikka ei ollut kielitaitoa, hän sai toiseksi parhaat numerot. Kyllä pitää olla sisua miehellä! Hänestä tuli "fysioterapisti," yksi Kanadan parempia. Siinä ammatissa, jonka alun hän oli saanut Karjalaiselta äidiltä, Antti oli tyytyväinen. Niin tunnettu oli Antti siinä hommassa kalamiehenäkin että joku oli sanonut häntä ei saa viedä sairaalaan, vain äänsi, "take me to the fisherman" - "vie minut kalastajalle." Ihmeellistä.

Roger Pratt, joka kirjoitti jotkut osat näistä sivuista, varsinki Antin sota toimeista, oli yksi Antin potilas. Hän on insinööri British Columbian valtion palveluksessa, ja juoksia. Mutta hänellä oli kipeä kohta jossakin vatsan kohdalla jota lääkärit eivät voineet parantaa. Kun hän asui Victoriassa, joka on British Columbian pääkaupunki, Antti tutustui moneen valtion herraan. Yksi niistä oli Roger. Kun Roger kuuli mikä Antin homma on, mainitsi hän omasta ongelmasta. Antti kävi häntä katsomassa, ja mies parantui. Antista tuli hyvä "accupressure" (sormilla painetaan eri paikkoja) parantaja joka ihmeellisesti ymmärsi mistä kivut johtuivat, joka joskus oli aivan jossain muualla, ja kuinka niitä saa parannettua. Kenties joku muinaiskalevalainen taito. Sen jälkeen Roger oli Antin paras ystävä - lähes 30 vuotta. Hän myähemmin kirjoitti kirjan Antin työstä ja alkoi opiskelemaan itse Antin työtä, jota hän tekee vielä tänäpäivänäkin ympäri maailmaa. Monelle Antti antoi samanlaisen innostuksen esim. Albertassa, joka oli Antin "toinen koti," sekä British Columbiassa. Kun Antti oli Albertan matkalla, hän aina joutui olemaan jääkiekkoilijoiden (Grand Prairie, Alberta A's) terapisti. Hän pani monta sijoiltaanmenneitä olkapäitä paikalleen sekä otti erilaisia kipuja pois, ja pojat saatiin takaisin jäälle. Sellainen se Antin elämä on ollut Amerikassa.

Säkkijärven Evakko


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