Half a century ago I parked my car in the center of Sotkamo and walked across a square of grass, bluebells and clovers surrounded by tall pines. I had been appointed junior teacher in Sotkamo middle school and high school, and I was on my way to meet the principal – the Principal with a capital P.
I have often wondered at the miraculous compatibility of schedules in life. Way back in the winter I had promised to give a ride to a friend who was due to interview a well-known Finnish writer in Sotkamo. At the time I made that promise, I had no idea of my own future. But it turned out my meeting at my new workplace was to take place at the same time as my friend’s interview.
I walked up the steps of the school, walked along the quiet corridor, and knocked on the door of the principal’s office. The chairman of the school board was sitting in a big armchair. I greeted all those present in the room and told them my name. The principal, a small, grim-faced lady stood up from the chair behind her desk. She surveyed me from head to toe a couple of times and asked:
– Well, what grade are you coming to?
I repeated my name and said we had agreed about a meeting.
– Oh, yes, that’s right. I thought you were a new student.
We then began to discuss school matters. Afterwards, the principal often reminisced about the mistake she had made, taking the new teacher for a student.
For the first few years of my teaching career, I was not much older than my high school students. Some had started middle school later than average, some others had repeated a grade.
That was how I started my lifelong career as a teacher. I only left teaching to retire on old-age pension. It was interesting and exciting work – and I was inspired to teach.
For the first two years I lived in a small attic room a stone’s throw away from the school. I was afraid of dogs, and I remember often watching groups of village dogs roaming past my window.
My years as a teacher cover a good stretch of the history of the Finnish school system. A few years after I started, Finland adopted the current comprehensive school system that guarantees free and equal basic education to all children. Curricular changes were worked out many times during my tenure. The practices and activities of schools went through a number of upheavals and alterations.
The bluebells and clovers in front of the school disappeared a long time ago, and only a few of the old pines still stand. The school building has been extended. A new office building with a large, paved parking area was built some time ago.
I had a rich life and a lot of different experiences while living in Sotkamo. I followed the life course of many people from near or far and even participated in some people’s lives. I remember some more clearly than others, I do not know why.
It is always a joy to meet unexpectedly someone that I have not seen for a long time. When they come up to greet me, I feel my work has been meaningful.
What has happened to me during these decades? I certainly do not look like a schoolgirl any more. I have gone through many grades in the school of life. I have collected a good number of wonderful memories, although not all groups have been easy. God has guided my work.
I am sitting in my rocking chair knitting a cardigan, which is a good thing to knit on a rainy day. When I moved to Sotkamo, I had a simple bunk bed, a small desk and a red spindle-back chair. The white rocking chair that I am sitting in was the first piece of furniture that I bought with my paycheck.
Wind is churning up leaden water,
heavy rain drops bouncing off the surface.
This water has many shades of color,
the clear blue of a sunny summer morning,
the glow of purple clouds,
the golden reflections of autumn.
Text: Aili Pasanen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
Oikeudessa puidaan pian sitä, mitä saa Suomessa uskonnonvapauden nimissä julkisesti sanoa. Samalla punnitaan kahden perusoikeuden, uskonnonvapauden ja sananvapauden suhdetta. Molemmat ovat Suomen perustuslain mukaan luovuttamattomia ja suojattuja oikeuksia.
Mikaelan perheessä ei paljon puhuta asioista. Tehdään töitä, käydään koulua. Mutta jossain pinnan alla on salaisuus, joka saa äidin hyräilemään surumielisesti ja Mikaelan silmäilemään tarkemmin muutamia nuoria koulun käytävillä ja ruokalassa.
Annika Koivukankaan runoissa heittäydytään nuoren elämän aallokkoon, sen iloihin ja kipuihin, koettelemuksiin ja arjen suloiseen turvaan – kun on usko, johon nojata ja rinnalla saattajia. Syviä tuntoja keventää raikas huumori: ”Kunpa voisin asettua hetkeksi koiran turkkiin. / Tuntea sen lämmön / karkumatkojen tuoksun / ja myllätyn kukkapenkin ilon. Paijaavia sormia riittäisi.”
Kahdeksanvuotias Nalle Karhunen on kuusivuotiaan Nupun eli Omenaposken viisas, kiltti ja hellä isoveli. Joskus Nalle käyttäytyy kuin talviuniltaan herätetty hurja ja äkkipikainen karhu. Silloin Nupun on parasta lähteä ulos tai laittaa oman huoneen ovi visusti kiinni.
Kirjoittajat eri puolilta maailmaa kertovat siitä, kuinka Jumala on johdattanut heidät valtakuntaansa. Kertomuksia yhdistää kokemus kotiinpaluusta, Raamatun mukaisen uskon löytymisestä ja uskovaisten välisestä rakkaudesta.