Michael HeikkilaX

Born: 1890

Location: Nisula, Michigan

Father was working in the mine in Central Mine, Michigan when I was born in 1890. Soon after, we moved to Minnesota where my sister Manda was born. It was there also that my little sister Elina died. That was so sad. By 1900 we were back in Michigan and moved a few more times. I remember living in Redridge because that’s when I had to quit school to go to work in the stamp mill. I was eleven years old. I think it was in 1905 that my folks made their final move, to a farm they bought in Nisula. Since I had experience working in a stamp mill, I got a job at the mill in Winona, about 15 miles from home. I boarded there during the week and walked home for the weekend. I remember that often I heard the wolves and coyotes howling in the woods; then I ran like the dickens! Several years later I got a job closer to home, at the saw mill in Alston. I gave most of my money to my folks, but I did manage to save enough to buy a car, a Model T Ford, about a 1917-1919 model. About that time I began to notice the cute girl growing up next door at the Kiviranta farm. When she and her sister went out for a walk, I would get in my car and as I passed them, offered them a ride. Of course they accepted. (In fact, I think they left for their walk hoping I would come along!) Hilda and I were married in 1923. We bought 40 acres from my folks and built a little house. We had seven children; two of them died as infants. When the Depression hit we were in dire straits. We had to sell our car, our radio, and the suit I was married in. In 1935 I ran for the job of Road Maintenance Foreman for Laird Township and won. I got a raise to $3.05 a day! I needed a car for my job; we bought a used DeSoto for $45.00. I worked on that job until retirement 25 years later. In 1967 I went to visit my former boss in Ripley with my nephew. When I returned, I sat down in a chair in the kitchen, dropped my head, and I was gone.

Contributed by: Lillian Heikkila Lehto, Birmingham, MI