Touko’s letter to Hely, 8 June 1973

8 June ‘73

Dear Heikkä,

Thanks for your letter of congratulations. To celebrate the fact that my name is back in the calendar, I made a meat and sausage pâté. Somebody gave me the recipe. All sorts of other ingredients go into it, and the end result is quite exciting. I invited some acquaintances to taste it and it went down very well. It was a pity that Salme didn’t make it. She’d sent a card to Kaija, saying that she’d be arriving in town on the 20:30 and going to Kaija’s then. But the strike was on, so nobody could call her to come over here instead, and Kaija had to go home early to meet her. It was getting late so they didn’t bother coming here after all. Well, it wasn’t so bad; they both came here the following day and we polished off the pâté. It actually tastes better the following day. I love cooking something different. It doesn’t always work out but sometimes the result is surprisingly tasty. 

Old Salmuski spent the rest of that week here, and I think she came back with Erkki. I’m not sure if they met each other as I haven’t spoken to her since. She was so lonely because Erkki had been away for so long. I racked my brain, trying to come up with things to do with her, but the days flew by with us doing nothing much, and I think that was the best solution. At least she seemed to love it, nowhere to rush to and nothing to do. I think the business with the bookshop is too much for her.

It’s hard to believe how wonderful the weather is, and has been for some time now. It’s so bright green and fresh outside, and the sky glows so blue that it’s really hard to stay indoors. And fortunately I don’t have to now, not like when I worked for Liikemainonta. That’s another bonus of my new life. Nipa and I have spent time relaxing in Kaivopuisto Park every day, it’s so lush. He had a gallstone operation in early May (33 gallstones in total, some of them the size of a thumb!). He’s been recuperating for almost a month. He’s going back to work next week, which is good for me, as I haven’t exactly been able to focus on work. And he’s probably looking forward to returning to work again after being away for so long, at least judging by the unusual bursts of energy he’s had lately. He cleaned the larder from top to bottom, and even painted it and the door, so that we now have a very clean and fine larder. Today we went to the market and bought flowers for the window boxes. My room has such wide windowsills that pigeons sit there all the time. They poo and coo and ruffle their louse-infested feathers. Gosh, I hate those birds. Last summer I came up with the idea of placing flower boxes on the windowsill so that the pigeons wouldn’t have so much space, and it also looks lovely to have flowers outside two windows. They are yellow bobble-like flowers, I don’t know what they’re called. The seeds on the elm trees behind them are already turning brown. Dill and parsley are growing incredibly fast on the balcony.

Would you believe it? A pigeon was just trying to squeeze himself on the sill but there wasn’t enough space so he got embarrassed and flew away. What an excellent result! Yes, I do love living here. If only I owned the flat so that I could renovate it to be my dream home. Or maybe it feels so good because life in general is so good at the moment. 

Changing jobs last winter was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s funny how I thought that the pressure had disappeared when I first quit the job. And yet I’ve noticed this spring that it feels like I’m becoming freer, as if there are strings inside me that tightened over the years, making weird knots. Now the strings are loosening, one by one, so I’m starting to feel normal again.

I’m sure that it being summer also helps; perhaps I’ll feel differently when the long and dark autumn comes, but at least for now I’m happy with the way things are. I’ve been back to Liikemainonta once since I left. It didn’t make me feel like I miss it; quite the opposite, in fact, even if there are people there I’ve known for years. I can always see them if I feel like it.

There are downsides as well, of course. The dollar exchange rate is going down all the time, which causes problems as I get fewer Finnish marks for each cheque and everything is becoming more expensive. But I’ve also started taking on work from Finland, so that balances things out. It’s good that there’s as much work as I can be bothered to do. Being bothered is another thing. I need to pull myself together and pick up my pen. It’s so easy to find other things to do. I didn’t have that problem with the “compulsory” working hours. But I’m sure I’ll get busy if it looks like I’m running low on funds.

There’s a risk, of course, that if I become too stuck in my own world, I will become asocial. But all I have to do is switch on the television, and I can have as much social interaction as I can take. That was one of the things that inspired me to break away from systems and organisations. It is really sad to see that humanity is not evolving even if science and technology evolve, that propaganda and inflammatory speeches put the masses into some sort of Mao-like blind state of trance just like what Nazism did to the previous generation of Germans. Markku’s Kaarina is a typical example. I know many people like her. For example, this architect. He graduated a year ago, he’s from a wealthy bourgeois family, mixes in the “better circles”, i.e. capitalists. No way would he change his comfortable lifestyle for something vulgar, nor would he share his salary or possessions with the proletariat, yet he goes on about student and worker democracy, and how Finland should adapt the Maoist system. I think, though, that for him it is just a fad, not a firm ideology, and I suspect it’s the same for most of the others, including Kaarina. It’s good that Markku hasn’t joined in since independence and humanity are more sustainable ideas. At some point, however, everyone realises that they are individuals who need to live their own lives, being one in a Maoist mass is not enough.

Well, who am I to save the world. We should just be happy as long as we are independent. I think I’ll finish now, I need to have something to eat.

I hope you have a sunny and relaxing summer. Best wishes, Touko