Touko’s letter to Hely, 14 September 1991

14 September 1991

Dear Heikkä,

Thanks for visiting me, it gave me great joy. Too bad the journey is so long, as I’m sure it’s hard for you. I had so much more to talk to you about, and I didn’t even manage to tell you all the important things, like asking you to thank Pekka for the card he sent from Senegal. It is undeniably one of my special things, so please thank him. Another card I’ve received from an unusual place came from Shanghai in the winter. It was sent by two nurses on a package holiday in China. I was very touched that they remembered their old panting patient on their holiday, though I don’t know how many other people here received a similar greeting. I don’t think I was the only one, and I wouldn’t want to be, but it cheered me up.

Speaking of cards. Some people have a habit of sending – or feel the need to send – a card from every trip to every one of their acquaintances. Take Jack for example. He’s this plump chap, who is Durk’s lodger in Los Angeles. He travels all the time, and when he came to Finland the summer before last, he spent an entire day carefully writing postcards to about 60 people by my count. Well, perhaps this is just as exotic a country as Senegal for these people.

I was expecting Kaija to visit me today, but she didn’t turn up. We had probably agreed that she would come tomorrow. Unfortunately such incidents of forgetfulness and confusion are very common for me now. I’m afraid I keep writing letters to the same people with the same news. So I’d better not criticise other people.

My assistant Viki is in California for his summer holiday. This is the third time, and I thought that he would like the lifestyle over there: fast cars, wide freeways, palm trees and cacti, and a carefree way of life, especially for young people. When he returned from his last trip after Easter, he said that he wanted to move there. I told him about the problems of everyday life in that country, so his firm decision was shaken a little, but we all need to try things out to see what we value.

I’m planning my return home from the hospital, but it’s quite complicated, so we’ll see.

Give my love to everyone – you especially.