Jennie RapinojaX

Born: September 9, 1907

Location: Embarrass

My name is Jennie Rapinoja, and I was born on September 9th, 1907 to Finnish immigrants, being fluent in both Finnish and English all my life. I grew up outside the small town of Embarrass, MN with my 5 sisters. Without any brothers, we all had to learn to work on the farm, even driving horses to plow the fields. During the winter, my father was a trapper and logger, to earn extra money. In high school, I began working as a maid for wealthy people. When I was in 10th grade, my father died, so without any money to go to school, we had to drop out. I then moved to Duluth to work as a maid and cook's helper. At 20, I began to nanny a young girl, and got to travel all the way to California with the family. I even got the chance to go to the 1933 Chicago World's Fair with some friends, one of which was the sister of my future husband. I went with her to visit her family in New York Mills, MN, where I met her brother, Aale Pesola. We were married inJune of 1935, and bought my family's homestead, and we worked with the WPA during the Great Depression. We then bought part of Aale's father's farm in New York Mills, where we lived for the rest of our lives. I learned to save everything I could while farming with my husband and raising our six children. While helping out in various ways on the farm, I also built furniture, sewed and advocated natural, healthy food, early only what we grew. I loved to grow flowers, listen to church services in Finnish on the radio and hunt for four-leaf clovers.

Contributed by: Cassandra Evens, L'Anse, Michigan