Touko’s letter to Hely, 3 February 1944

3 February ‘44

Dearest Heikkä,

Thank you for your letter. Life is great fun. Or rather, I am great fun. See, I got scolded (unwarranted) by the commander, which cheered me up as I’d been feeling a bit down. This was because that chap Virtanen left for a month’s leave, and the parting was sad. Which is odd as I don’t usually feel sad when parting from anyone outside the family. But I’m super fond of him, and we had such a fun evening before he left, so I think that’s what did it. He’s very different from my other acquaintances, being mentally as well as physically healthy and vigorously alive, sensible, and even serious, and he’s a music lover so he’s great to be with. I’m impressed by his love of sports, honesty, fairness and vitality, and I rather feel like an old fogey when I’m in his company. But he’s on leave now, and after that he will probably go to the officer school, so we’ll be apart for more than six months. If I’m in charge of a new battery after that, as has been discussed, I want him there. It’s remarkable that a mere comradeship, and with a young comrade as well, can have such an impact on the spirit, the energy levels and everything one does. I always thought it took innate love for one’s family or for one’s dear spouse, either present or future, as I think is the case with you. Well, enough of that.

I took an exam yesterday. It was much harder than I expected. But I think I’ll pass. It was just a very broad topic area. We had to design the entire advertising package for a new company: advance ads in a newspaper, personal marketing letters, invitations for the opening, a speech for the guests, the window texts, a columnist’s description of the opening and a thank you note in the papers. Designing that would take at least a week; there is no way it can be done properly in an hour or two. Anyway, I think it should be good enough, and that’s the main thing. 

In the evening we went to hear France Ellegaard play Chopin, and she was just brilliant. Her technique was wonderful, and we could see how she moved her fingers up to the upper circle. I thought that the interpretation was a bit feminine – limited, should I say. I would have wanted to hear more grandeur in the Polonaise in A major and the Etude in A minor, for example. She did play wonderfully, and everything was first class in all respects so it was a very good experience. Our hands were red and heads sweaty from applauding.

We also had a little party at the Vuorinens. There were supposed to be ten people, but two didn’t come. We had a lovely time, and I couldn’t help but wonder how the aunties were so approving about the whole thing. Aunt Tyyne is always delighted when “young people have fun”, but what was really unexpected was that Aunt Aino made us use the good dinner service, and we had to have coffee in the dining room. Sometimes it’s fun and refreshing to socialise, dance and play like in the good old days. Maija Larva was my date, and she looked very attractive with her hair done up on top of her head. And have I told you about the wedding? The people were greedy and odd, it was all very starchy and horrible. The music was a side issue, or maybe somebody did listen to it as I had to finish Moonlight Sonata, which had been interrupted when the happy couple arrived.

Tonight we’ll have an entertainment event where we’ll play songs such as Sä kasvoit neito and Oi terve Pohjola for the first time. Keep your fingers crossed that it goes well.

It would be great if you could send a little mat. It shouldn’t be longer than one metre, and as beautiful as possible, please. Also: could someone lend me a ration card for clothing as I’d like to buy or have a pair of trousers made, of top-quality twill. A rare opportunity now.

I’ll be over when I’m on a leave again from the 19th. Our birch branches already have big green buds.

Bye for now. Touko

PS The songs went pretty well and the whole evening was a success. A cheerful programme. Bye again. Thanks for the parcel too.