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#83575 - 10/14/02 07:05 PM Finnish ballet slippers
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Has anyone ever heard this before? Somehow I have the feeling they have nothing to do with tutus. The person that told me this phrase refuses to describe them but I get the distinct impression that they are not very attractive footware for very cold weather. [brrr-e]


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#83576 - 10/14/02 07:57 PM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
Finnish? I haven't even started mine...

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#83577 - 10/14/02 08:18 PM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
redpepper Offline
stranger

Registered: 10/13/02
Posts: 10
Has anyone ever heard this before?
Those Finnish ballet slippers are a revered symbol of the indomitable will of the Finnish people who survived Stalin's "reign of terror" in the 30s. Survivors like Laila Korpi. Laila eventually made it back to the land of her birth (America) and died in a Nursing Home with her forbidden ballet slippers hanging by their ties on the wall by her bed. Here is Laila's story:

Laila Korpi, originally from Ishpeming, went to Karelia with her mother in 1934, a few years after her father had gone. Her dad was assigned to a lumber camp; her mother became a mail carrier; and Laila was permitted to enroll in a Finnish drama school where she also studied dance, her first love. The Finnish people in Karelia at that time had an active social life.
In a few years, the school closed, the speaking of the Finnish language was forbidden and Finnish books and magazines were burned. The time of terror was upon them.
Laila had married Olavi Siiki, a second generation Finnish American from Detroit whose search for an ideal society had led him too to Karelia. He was very active in drama circles, even skiing to distant fishing villages and lumber camps to provide folks there with some entertainment.
They had been losing friends, friends who simply disappeared and were not heard from again. One night in 1937 the dreaded knock was heard at their door and Olavi was led away. Her father, too, was arrested and taken perhaps to prison, perhaps to a labor camp or perhaps to be shot.
After her husband was arrested, Laila was told to get out of their apartment and she lost her job. After all, the wife of "an enemy of the people" didn't deserve any sympathy. Olavi's parents volunteered to care for the baby Oliver while Laila and her mother went to Kostramo to live. Life was harsh. Their fist winter in Kostramo was very cold. They didn't have a bed in which to sleep so they laid boards from trunks to chairs; put on all their warm clothes including mittens, shoes and tams; and piled under and over them whatever warm things they could find.
During WWII, Laila was shipped to Siberia to work on a collective farm where all the other workers spoke only Russian; she perforce learned to speak Russian.
She was moved to various factories and eventually found herself again in Petroskoi, where she taught English at the elementary level for nine years and later worked in a drafting department until her retirement at age fifty-five.
Through the efforts and the generosity of her cousin Emmy Kulkki of Gwinn, she was able to return to the area of her birth, living in Snowberry Heights until her health deteriorated, at which time she was transferred to the Palmer Nursing Home. Her old ballet slippers, which she had carried with her through the many years, hung by their ties on the wall by her bed.
Her son Oliver moved from Russia to Alaska and called her regularly. She never saw her grandson nor her three great grandchildren again, which was a sorrow to her.
Although she had been an atheist, while in Snowberry Heights she attended church regularly, anxious to learn what religion was all about. When she died, a service was held for her at St. Mark Lutheran Church in Marquette, where I was privileged to deliver the eulogy.






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#83578 - 10/15/02 03:24 PM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
TEd Remington Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/17/00
Posts: 3467
Loc: Marion NC
I was starting to write a spoof about this, loaded with puns, but then something made me google this woman's name. What are the odds that we would have someone here who was actually involved in this woman's life? Weird.

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TEd

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#83579 - 10/15/02 03:49 PM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10525
Loc: this too shall pass
>What are the odds that we would have someone here who..

well, there's always the possibility that redpepper is the source of connie's phrase.


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#83580 - 10/15/02 05:44 PM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Nope. Came from a Yooper. I suspect it might mean snowshoes.



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#83581 - 10/16/02 05:28 AM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
consuelo Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/11/01
Posts: 2636
Loc: Caribbean
Shoot. I've been told it's not snowshoes.


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#83582 - 10/16/02 08:53 AM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
Buffalo Shrdlu Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 06/24/02
Posts: 7210
Loc: Vermont
if you happen to be in NYC:
http://www.nypress.com/14/40/news&columns/eats.cfm
part way down, AQ Cafe, 58 Park Ave. small gift shop next door that sells Finnish slippers...

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formerly known as etaoin...

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#83583 - 10/17/02 09:04 AM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
AnnaStrophic Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 6511
Loc: lower upstate New York
what are the odds that we would have someone here who was actually involved in this woman's life?

Spooky, indeed, TEd.

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#83584 - 10/17/02 10:07 AM Re: Finnish ballet slippers
FishonaBike Offline
veteran

Registered: 10/11/00
Posts: 1346
Loc: Sussex, England
>what are the odds that we would have someone here who was actually involved in this woman's life?
Spooky, indeed, TEd.


RP's comment is mostly a quote from here, folks:

http://www.mmnow.com/mm_archive_folder/00/0010/feature.html

Not his/her (o's ) own experience.

It'd be appreciated if you could credit such references, RP (and maybe mark out the quoted bit in a different colour or something) - saves confusion* and enables further investigation from those interested. Ta.


* I'd thought you were a deliverer of eulogies also


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