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On a Visit to His Homeland After 68 Years in America


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In 1902 crofter’s son Erik Lindholm from Bredvik in Västanfjärd signed on a Scottish cargo boat as a seaman to begin a career that was common among people at that time, when sailing still went on with a steady tail wind. Now 68 years later this former seaman, a fit 86 years old, was on a visit to his home place and pointed out that much has happened beyond the Atlantic since then.

At that time the journey went from Bredvik to New Orleans, and from there this Bredvik boy intended to continue the trip and eventually return home again, but fate intended otherwise. The cargo boat was laid up and therefore it was necessary to seek a livelihood elsewhere.

The sea life still tempted, and Lindholm heard of a chance to hire on a boat that sailed along the coast. It was a boat driven by both sail and steam. Later he signed on a boat that went farther, usually England. Often the trips went through the newly opened Panama Canal. In the US Lindholm went to a navigation school where he married a woman from Viborg in Finland.

During the marriage he had a son who is now 54 years old and serves at an airport in Alabama. Erik Lindholm was interested in working in this country. He worked for a while with shipping transportation but later returned to sea life. Later the war came. When it was over the Bredvik boy was 65 years old. He retired from sailing and received a pension. He and his family lived in San Francisco, California where he continued puttering in his garden. His wife is dead, but she was with Erik on his trip to Finland in 1956.

During his visit to his native country Erik traveled around and said he was impressed by development. He visited the international agricultural show farms in Åbo, and he has visited relatives although there aren’t many left from his own generation. He finds it tempting to make comparisons between then and now. He remembers how it was when he, as a son on the largest croft in Brännboda farm, did a day’s work. At Brännboda farm there were, according to the law of 1918, 8 crofts with a total area of 75 hectares. The largest croft now is part of a separate utility, and it covered 10 hectares of cultivated land with two horses, 5 cows and calves.

He said: During that time we had only one horse for plowing and when we needed 2 horses, we borrowed one from Synderstö. All of the work on the croft was done 2 days a week, then we would work 4 days a week at the farm. In addition, we were required to perform 50 female jobs around the farm. It was lighter work than on the fields and meadows. I remember as a young boy that I often took part in the female labor. There was a herd of animals on the farm and there were 2 or 3 dairy maids to take care of them, and also a maid in the kitchen. The farm had its own bailiff and farm hand for horses, as well as 2 farm labor families. There were 14 work horses and 2 post horses. The work day began at 5 in the morning and ended at 8 in the evening. Nowadays the work hours around the farms are regulated and machines carry out the main work.

Mr. Jimson

Translated by June Pelo from an article from a Swedish Finn newspaper.

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