This weekend, I went back to visit the community where I spent my early years. It was mostly Scandinavian families back then. Very traditional, and many of the people still spoke in their native tongue.
The maternal side of my family were Finnish and my Grandmother spoke fluent Finnish and also Hungarian. The first cuss words that I learned as a child were in Finnish. Not sure that my Grandmother was thrilled about that, though!
I was able to visit my old homes, school sites, churches and the beach where my sister and I spent alot of time when we lived there. So much has changed in the 30 years since I was last there, but there is also much the same. It felt great to relive childhood memories, and share stories and my history with my husband!
The most exciting part was a visit to a local bakery which still offers many of the old Finnish items I loved as a child. Of course, back then my Grandmother made them from scratch. Nut rolls, balish, Nisu bread and Skorrpers (Nisu toast). Every holiday season my Grandmother would spend hours baking and we would eat them up in minutes.
I’m not much of a baker. I have the recipes, but I’ve not taken the time to perfect them. There is a bakery not far from my old hometown that will ship some of the items, which I often take advantage of. Someday I’ll try to make them myself.
On this trip, walking into those bakeries and taking in those familiar smells. It brought back so much. And I was reminded how much I miss my Grandmother… and my Mom! Biting into that bread and cookies was like taking a step back in time. And for a moment, I was a little girl again.
I hope to go back again soon. In the meantime, I’d better get learning on those recipes. Keep the traditions alive!