Touko’s letter to Hely, 30 January 1960

Helsinki, 30 January ‘60

Dear Heikkä,

I think it’s time that I grabbed my pen to write you a letter and to say CONGRATULATIONS! So your fifth baby is now safely with us. I’m sure it’ll change your life, though you’re well familiar with being busy with the little ones. The kids are probably more excited than anybody else, and their grandfather, who went sweetly poetic in his letter that arrived yesterday. But I have a guilty conscience as I still haven’t even thought about starting a family. And I guess it’s getting too late, anyway.

Yes, Father was funny when he told his story in a very secretive style, without mentioning any names. Did he really think that we didn’t know what was going on? “I went to Heideken maternity hospital the other day, and there were five happy new mothers there, and would you believe: I knew one of them!”. It was only when he got to the end of the story that he mentioned that perhaps she ( i.e. you) was already at home in Leivola. Good fun. It was also funny that Jaana’s biggest worry was that the newcomer would be a girl. As was the reaction from a certain firstborn, who, after having been told by her father that she now has a little brother, said that they should go and tell the news to their mother in the hospital!

It’s so cold again. It rained for a while, then it got so cold that, stepping outdoors, it was difficult to breathe at first. I don’t feel like going out unless I have to. Thankfully it’s warm indoors now, but a couple of weeks ago it was so cold that I had to pull on a woolly jumper when I got home.

At work it’s always too warm, which is uncomfortable, especially since we can’t open any windows because if we did, there’d be an ice-cold draught. Our office will move to the city centre in the spring, into a new building beside the Uusi Suomi office, and we’ll have air conditioning and ventilation and everything there. It’ll be very good. Even if there won’t be much more space, at least the facilities are new and suitable. I’m especially happy to have more peaceful working conditions. The drawing office is divided into double rooms, instead of the current one where there are eleven of us working in the same messy room, with people from the other departments constantly dropping in with or without an errand, and one of the four phones always ringing. I don’t know about the others but I find it very difficult to focus on work in such a hustle and bustle, especially if I need to focus on something new.

But generally speaking, I really like my current job, and I really feel at home in this business. Of course, the results are not always the best possible. Failure or too much work can easily make me feel low, but when I feel like I’ve succeeded in a job or if I’m praised for a job well done, I get all excited again. I enjoy the job when things are normal, and that’s what counts. Continuous in-depth study of the tricks of the trade and technical possibilities in the field makes it much easier and develops skills. There’s a downside, though: I’ve too much work to do. I have to bring work home almost every night, and even if there’s nothing urgent to finish for the following morning, there’s always some long-term planning to do. I’ll have to come up with new and outstanding ideas for an ad for a painkiller, or an attractive and cool-looking two-colour ad for Fazer’s new chocolate bar. This can’t be done in the same way as an ad for Strömberg’s electricity transformer, for example. My problem is that I can’t just leave the work behind when I leave the office, but I tend to spend my spare time thinking about the jobs. Of course, this kind of subconscious or mostly overly conscious working method also creates wonderful results, but it would be quite healthy to be able to completely detach oneself from time to time and engage in something else with a good conscience. One’s job should not be one’s main focus in life.

Well, at least I should now have a chance to relax as I finally bought the enlarger I’ve been talking about. It’s a relatively small Ericson machine. It produces 18 x 24 cm enlargements, and even bigger ones if I place it on the floor. That should be enough. I’ve tried it a couple of times, but the results are not exactly first class. It takes practice. But the kitchen is the best possible laboratory. There’s a yellow-green light on the ceiling, which is said to be better than red light, there is enough space on the table; I can reach everything and the sink is handy for rinsing. It’s good fun, but I’ve realised that my next purchase will have to be a better camera. The more you have the more you want.

Well, I’ve been chatting away. There’s no news here, really, as I’m in good health, too – thankfully! My love to everyone, stay well. Touko