The Sauna

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The Sauna

Family folk law has it that Johan Hjalmari Kosonen didn’t want to serve another year in the Russian Army so he decided to move to the United States to start a new life. He stayed in Finland long enough to welcome his first child, Naimi, into the world; Naimi was born in Mikkeli, Finland, on February 9, 1901. Within a few months, he made the long journey alone to America to settle-in before his wife and daughter were to join him.

Apparently, he started off with the intention of settling in Pennsylvania, among a lot of his countrymen, but on the ship to the States he befriended another Fin that told him of the beauty and ease of living in the north shore of Massachusetts, where there were also a number of fellow Finlanders. Most ended up working in the Quarries and being able to make ends meet at the end of the day.

Johan bought a small house next to the railway tracks and although it was noisy at times, it was affordable and he could expand his family. One of the necessities of a Finnish household, especially in the cold winters, was a Sauna fuelled by a fire under rocks with water being poured over the rocks for steam.

The Sauna was enjoyed for at least four generations, all gathering into the little room with just a towel on, bonding with chatter as the little kids played on the floor, so they could breath better until they got older and were able to tolerate the heavy steam. The best part was coming out of the little room and walking through the snow and cold back to the house in just a towel and not feeling the cold whatsoever.

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