Monday, 7 May 2012

For Alli



My grandmother Alli lived on Kangasalantie. I never met her. She died 1960. She worked at the harbours. Heavy and hard work. She wore an overall and carried wood in big bags on the tram. Her parents were excecuted during the civilwar 1918, they were reds. I know very little about her. I've only seen one picture of her, a framed and blurry portrait at my parents house. She wears a black barret, on the side. Her hair is cut like a page, the length is just under her chin. We have the same shaped lips. I like that.
I walked her street today. Her house is long gone. She used to live in a similar or perhaps identical house to mine. In a small flat, on the second floor in a wooden house. The blackbird pictured is from a tree that would have been behind her house, overlooking the valley. She might have stood there, listening to the blackbird and looking down at the valley, at the allotment cottages, at the Botanical Gardens. I doubt she ever went to the gardens, she was very poor. With this I don't mean that poor people wouldn't go to botanical gardens, but at this time, the classdifference would have been of such dimensions, poor people had to struggle to get food on their table and their homes heated and bills paid, they didn't have time to stroll in botanical gardens.
The last picture is from a building just around the corner from her street, there is a shop and I imagine my grandmother might have purchaised her milk and butter from this shop. The name of the shop has changed, but there are remains of the Elanto shop sign on the building. And the Elanto shop logo;) The building is under renovation but I managed to snap a picture of the logo and the letter E. I popped in and bought some milk and some flowers. Then I cykled home. I stood listening to the blackbird singing in my garden and thought it would have been nice to have known Alli. And I placed the flowers in a jar that belonged to her. That is the only posession I have that I know for sure was hers.

2 comments:

P.K said...

A beautiful post. Following the same path or being in the same place that a relative once stood rekindles their memory, and is a personal way to honour them.
It is interesting how an object such as a jar, brooch or
a small possession can connect you to them.

akissfromthepast said...

upeaa pohdintaa! hienoa että sinulla on edes yksi muisto hänestä :) itse harrastan tällaista muistomatkailua myöskin, se on voimaannuttavaa ja aina tulee jännä fiilis!
tuo aikakausi on yhtäaikaa upeaa ja samalla aika dramaattista.
kivaa että teillä on samat huulet :)
itse olen perinyt iso-isoäidin kiharaisen hiuslaadun :D