Ida Nisonen KarttunenX

Born: November 15, 1879

Loneliness sits on one's heart like a cold chunk of butter, but it also melts with the warmth of love. I was born in Finland and lived on a small farm. Mother died when I was five, leaving Father to care for five children. Soon we lost that farm. The older girls got work in different households, but Brother and I were so young that nobody wanted us. I went to stay with Father's cousin. When his wife saw me each night crying by the window, she would give me bread with a pat of butter and say, "Go by the brick oven and spread the butter on the bread, and you won't be so lonesome." Often the pat fell in the oven, as it was hard to see with teary eyes. Russian Emperor Alexander III had a vacation palace nearby. I got work babysitting for the guard's children for room and board, but no pay. Of course, I was a child, too. I remember when the Czar visited our city. He rode a carriage pulled by black horses. Nineteen-year-old Nikolai II, the next emperor in line, rode in a second carriage. I climbed a gate to get a good view; otherwise, I wouldn't have seen much in that crowd, being so small yet. Over the years, work became my constant companion. I cared for children, cleaned school rooms and got a job at a spool factory. I met Antti at the factory when I was 19, and soon we married. After a few years, he built a farmhouse in Green, near Ontonagon. My cheeks always rosy from cooking at the wood stove, I raised seven children with Antti in that home. I savored the love of our expanding family, and those drops of loneliness sizzled away. -Heather Karttunen Hollands, Ida's Great-Granddaughter

Contributed by: Heather Karttunen Hollands, Skandia, Michigan