The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Downriver Dispatches

News of Western Wahkiakum County and Naselle


It’s Monday. A good rain is outside, but the dog and I are dry and warm inside. Aren’t houses a blessing when it rains? Since I work part-time at Torppa Construction’s shop, I think of “my” Torppa crew up high in the woods and hope they are all warm and toasty in their trucks and machines that the early logging workers sure would have loved to have. Their logging work was tough and hard. Many of those years were during the Depression years so they were glad to have a job of any kind. Life has changed now and keeps changing, but we can be reminded of those folks who worked in the Willapa Hills just by visiting the Appelo Archives Center in Naselle. I am thinking of Abbie Laine as I write because she is – in my mind – the first director who caught Carlton Appelo’s vision of a research base for folks who want to know more about those who came before. Abbie is one of the best researchers and writers I know, and I hope she comes soon to visit the center and see how far it’s come since her years with Carlton. Annika Kay is the director now and we are lucky to have her.

Annika’s Mother Visits Archives Center: Marilyn Kujala (American name) told me about her life last Friday. She has a history with both Finland and California, and homes in both as well. Annika was born in Finland, so Marilyn made sure Annika has dual citizenship in both countries. Marilyn was born in Finland. Her mother had seven children. Her father died early at 39 years old, leaving his wife with no income. In 1955, all the children were adopted or sponsored; six went to the United States, with four sponsored and two adopted, and one stayed in Finland. Marilyn, at seven years old, and her brother flew to America on an airplane as young children. She went to Ohio, and he went to Florida. In World War II, she trained in Cleveland, Ohio, as an Army nurse, then cared for wounded soldiers from Vietnam while she was stationed in various cities in the US. She left the Army as a captain and a proud veteran.

Finland: Marilyn (Finnish name: Pirjo Marja Liisa Salonen) learned to read as it was required for confirmation in the Finnish Lutheran Church. She explained to me that in Finland, education, medical care, and housing for the poor are all subsidized by the government. Taxes are very high, but she sees today’s Finns living contented lives with less stress than Americans. There are no homeless as everyone is housed, and if someone is not working, the government finds work for them. Children are required to go to school, and higher education is the norm for all graduates. The general population is very well educated due to no debt accrued by attending a university, and students can go on for higher degrees if they choose, though they may have to compete for their spot at the college they prefer. The elderly have aides and nurses who come to their homes, and if they need to be in a nursing home, they will be moved to one. However, the number of aging Finns is growing quickly, so nursing homes for the elderly are usually full. Taxes are high, but the offset of government support and services is seen as fair.

Current life: Marilyn’s husband, Jari Satola, is a financial advisor in Fullerton, California where they live eight months of the year in a condo. They also have a condo in Finland where they live in the summers for four months. She has been active supporting the National Finlandia Foundation and other organizations with Finnish ties. She is proud of Annika and hopes her daughter will continue as director for many years. Marilyn sees the Appelo Archives Center as the ideal work environment for Annika because she has deep ties to Finland and a love of history, too. She also is well experienced in fundraising and can use that talent for the good of the center.

Annika’s work: Annika has made great strides at the center already. I hope Abbie Laine will visit so she would see how far the center has come. Abbie has been busy raising her family, but her girls are growing older, so hopefully she will return one of these days, perhaps as a volunteer. Along the back hallway May Adair’s genealogical boards have been mounted on the wall so everyone coming through can read about the original families who came here and their descendants, many of whom live here still. The Agnes Appelo Memorial library upstairs has an area specifically for Finnish books, and many, many more are ready to be accessed and put on shelves. Volunteer Anita Raistakka remains in charge of the library and oversees work done with all the books, including some Swedish, as well as a nice collection of logging history books. The library was first established with books collected from Agnes Appelo, Carlton’s mother, and Berenice Appelo, Carlton’s wife. The family’s books and history periodicals collections are included, some from the early 1900’s. Since the Appelo collections were identified and organized by Abbie Laine some 20 years ago, the center has become a legal non-profit, and Carlton made a gift of the current building in his will. Next year, in 2022, Carlton would have been 100 years old. Over his lifetime, he supported growth and development for his hometown of Deep River and Naselle. He would be so pleased with how the center has developed with its past Directors and I feel sure he would be very pleased with what Annika is doing today. We who knew Carlton and his early workers at the center look with pride on the progress made over the years. Now when we walk through, we can see the new children’s room upstairs, see how the “welcome” room downstairs has grown to having food and a book shop, and look in the filing cabinets at all the genealogical research that’s been done. Again, may I say Carlton and his brother, Burton, his father, C.A., his wife, Berenice, and his mother Agnes, would all be proud of their namesake center celebrating the history of the region. I am certain that over the years the center will prove its value and importance over and over. Marilyn will be visiting all next week, so folks are invited to drop by the center and visit with her. She is a delight, and I am sure you will enjoy meeting her as much as I did.

Appelo Archives Tea: On June 12, the Center will host a Finnish Midsummer tea in the afternoon at 1 p.m. $15 per person. To Go boxes are also appreciated. An assortment of Scandinavian sweet and savory items will be offered with tea and coffee as well.

Senior Lunch: The CAP box lunches on May 27 will be spaghetti and meatballs, orange glazed carrots, and Caesar salad. They can be picked up at Rosburg Hall at noon.

Word for the Week: History


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