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John and Tyra

Lydia I. Holmes

Dis här is a story of a Svede, "Yohn Yohnson", vhat came from Finland in the year of our Lord 1899. His farbror vas in America allready and vas vritting to Finland all about a bootiful place dat had Dollar Bay for a name. It's in State of Michigan and dats vhere Farbror vas living vith his Hustru and barnen.

Everything vas vonderful i Dollar Bay and so many people from Pörtom, Malax, Narpes, yah from Mostasaari, Johanes Dahl and Rapandes Bakan lived there.

Yohn vas på nitunde år vhen he vent from Gamla landet på hösten av åren 1899. He vorked all summer på jäsivarsgården and still he had to vrite Farbror for money to help him get to Dollar Bay!

It vas a bootiful day in Portom da Yohnson reste till America and he vas both happy and sad to leave. He thought of the "bekanter" he vas leaving behind and might never see again, and tears came to his eyes vhen he thought of the cuckoo bird that Farbror said he vould never see or hear in Dollar Bay, unless it vas in a clock.

Yah sa, Yohn vas going to America to make a fortune dat vas so easy to do dere, and he vas going on the "White Star Line" boat. Dat vas better dan to stay in Finland vhile still a young man. Anyvay he could alvays come back to Finland.

Vas Yohn ever sea sick! Even the "maten i kapsaken" looked green! Dat vas some boat, it yust vouldn't stop going in circles. No vonder it took more dan 10 days to cross the ocean. Yust vjen Yohn started to be able to valk around better it vas time to get ready "for sjun på Ellis Island". Pushed around like a herd of cattle! So much noise and pushing and nobody knowing vhat dey vere saying or vhere dey vere taking us, yust going vith all the people on the boat. Yah, now Yohn thinks it va yust like vhen "barnen spella sista par ut" pa bakan i Dollar Bay.

Yohn didn't have to stay on Ellis Island, he vas a healthy Svede even if he vas sea sick. He got put on a train somevhere and vhen he thought he must be soon in Dollar Bay he had to change trains vith many other people, dis vas some place in Canada, and ride again and still more changing of trains. Surely now he must be in California, but really he vas in Hancock, Michigan. Farbror vas at Hancock depot to meet him

Farbror and Yohn vent to Hancock Aptecke to get some "tan vercke droppar" for Hustru who had tanverke for två dagar and she yust vouldn't let Farbror pull the tooth.

Then Farbror and Yohn vent to Dollar Bay by ferry boat from Hancock. Yoh vas so busy saying "hallo" and passing out "schikningar" från Gamla Landet to all "bekanter och släkt" he yust forgot to be lonesome for at least a veek and then Farbror had a yob for him in the "skogskamp" for the vinter. There Yohn met many more Portom och Malax boar.

It vas a very hard and cold vinter for Yohn. He vas sure glad to get back to Dollar Bay på våren. No more skogskamp for Yohn. He vas in America and he vas sure going to learn to talk American and try a different yob too!

The Hancock & Calumet Railroad vas looking for vorkers so Yohn got a yob vith them in the section gang for the summmer for $1.00 a day, 14 hrs. a day.

This vas summer of 1900 and vas there ever lots of fun for Yohn! He vas saving money and had paid Farbror the money he had sent him for his resa ifrån Gamla Landet. So now Yohn began to think of maybe going to school på hösten and learning to read and write and språk American.

"Lördags kvellan" vere alvays lots of fun "för de unga" i Dollar Bay. All the Svedes got together for talk and fun, Malax boar and Portom boar too, it didn't make any difference. Everybody vas your friend.

Excursions on the ferry "Ploughboy" to Vhite City (White City) and Baraga vas very exiting too, but now Yohn began to think of the girl he left behind. She vas more "bootiful" than ever, he thought. Vell, vhy couldn't she come over här too? He vould have to see about dat. So Yohn wrote to Tyra telling her how much he liked Dollar Bay and asked her to come to Dollar Bay too. Now yust imagine his pleasure vhen Tyra wrote and said she vas coming to America!

Tyra vouldn't come to Dollar Bay before midsommar's dagen 1901 so Yohn vent to schoool på hösten. Tventy years old and in grade school! His teacher had a funny name like Fru Crosstick or Crosspatch and Yohn says she vas yust like her name. How could he help it if he vas learning vasn't he! Yah, dat vas some problem for Yohn. Miles for kilometer, and pund for liter and so forth. Yohn says, "I sure must ha been a green harn".

Point Mills vas a very busy town in those years and lots of Yohn's släkt lived there. He sometimes rode the railroad hand oar to visit there on Sundays but most of the time he and his friends vould valk thru Bollmans Bush to Point Mills.

Yohn vas invited to his Farbror's for "Lute fisk och "risgrynsvalling" på Jul Afton. He thinks now all of Portom vas at Farbror's that Jul Afton except of course Tyra. So hou could he have any fun vhen he vas so lonesome for her?= The Lute fisk choked him but he got the almond dat vas in the risgrynsvalling and dat made him feel better, he vas sure den his girlfriend vould be in Dollar Bay next year. Everybody vent to "Julotta" and Yohn said he sang "När Jul dags Morgon Glimma" louder than anybody else in church and then they were all together på Ny Års Vaka. "Ve sure vere proud of ourselves us Svedes and Finns dat year. It vas our New Church. Ve all vorked hard to get it built."

The next ve know of Yohn vas his trip to Hancock to meet his girl friend Tyra. Ve can imagine his surprise vhen the train came to Hancock dat day and after every one vas off the train, dere vas Yohn still standing by the depot and looking for Tyra and no Tyra.

His feet vere like lead and he yust couldn't keep the tears from his eyes vhen he started back to Dollar Bay. Everybody vould be asking him all kinds of questions and he yust vouldn't know vhat to do. Poor Yohn or Poor Tyra, vitch? One veek later Tyra come to Dollar Bay on a slow freight boat from New York. Vas she ever scared vhen she didn't find Yohn on the Dollar Bay dock. Instead some Frencman tried to find out vhere she belonged. But of course some Malax bo vas vorking on the dock and started to talk to her and found out who she vas. Everything vas rosy vhen Yohn came to Farbrors that nite and Tyra vas finally accounted for, but she sure vas mad at the Frenchman for not knowing she vas Yohn Yohnson's "flick". Dere vas only about 50 other Yohn Yohnsons in Dollar Bay at that time.

Summer of 1901 vas the happiest year of Yohn and Tyra's life. Dollar Bay vas a busy town, people - vork - fun. Surely it vas going to be a big city. Who vould have ever dreamed, says Yohn dat all those people and all the vork vould pass avay after Vorld Var I?

Dere dey vas - Yohn & Tyra.

In August of 1901 Yohn joined Enighet No. 10 and Tyra joined Syskonringen or what is today Runeberg No. 8. Dey är still vith us today.

Of course Yohn and Tyra got married. They had a big "brölop" in Svensk Church and had their vedding picture taken at Silfen Studio in Hancock. Dey vas married i Maj 1902. A honeymoon? "Of course not", says Yohn, "I bought 40 acres of land in Bollmans bush from Agent Charlie Engman and I had to plant potatoes and hay for our cow so the honeymoon had to vait". It sure vaited too; tventy seven years after ve vere married ve took the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul train one nite for a two weeks trip to Chicago. Ve spent our honeymoon vith our son and his wife and grandchild.

Dat vas 1929 says Yohn and the year dat changed the vorld for everybody. The stock market crash in October and everybody who had "Insull stock" vas panicky and lots yumped from vindows and what not. I never had to yump away from and besides I had my 40 acres vith plenty to eat. Today I think it vas not too bad, but it sure took some thing from the children growing up.

Yah, dat vas the beginning of bad years for Runeberg too. Ve lost so many members the but ve come back and now in Golden Jubilee year ve can be very glad ve kept the hand clasp of Runeberg in our minds. I can't help but see many years of success ahead for our lodge.

Dis Runeberg, says Yohn, vas a very great man of Finland and i ve vork and live by some of his teaching and ideals ve vill have pride in oour order and members for a long long time.

Sister and Brother members - many more things I could tell about all of us Yohns and Tyras who came to Dollar Bay, our happiness, our tears, and headaches - ve had many of them. Most of us are seventy years old now, have seen to great world wars and the deppressions but, ve still think Dollar Bay is still the best place to live except of course our "Gamla Landet". All those memories ve keep, but as "green harn as ve vere, ve have helpeded to bring about a good place to live and certainly a heritage for our children, also in Runeberg, a good Order. All of our mistakes should be lessons for success in all you undertake.

The writer of this article wishes to state no one person has been used in this article.

Yohn and Tyra are the many men and women who came to Dollar Bay in those years and all incidents are picked at random from the writers memory of conversations of "memoirs" over "coffee och dopp" in her own home. Similar incidents and happenings actually were the experiences of these Swede-Finns who "reste till America" during the years 1899-1912.

Manuscript in the Anders Myhrman Emigration Collection, Manuscript Department of Åbo Akademi Library, Turku, Finland. 6 typewritten pages.

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