Finding Leena

Mumu spoke the language of children. Accompanied with a smile and a hug, it has no verbal barriers.

After writing about my childhood friend Leena, I became very curious about tracking her down. I’ve never done something like that, so I was feeling rather Nancy Drew-ish. Thanks to my raging insomnia, I had the opportunity to do a little searching on the Internet last night, and before I knew it, I found someone who matched her description and sent her a quick note. She responded rather quickly, and voila! I connected with my dear childhood friend.

Although Leena confirmed I had a good memory, I did get a few things wrong, so I wanted to clarify a few points:

  • Mumu should have been spelled phonetically. In my defense, I looked up grandma on Google Translator and they spelled it the other way, so that’s what I went with.
  • Mumu could not speak English and had no desire to learn. But she did speak the language of children. Accompanied with a smile and a hug, it has no verbal barriers.
  • Leena’s father did learn to speak Finnish so he could converse with his mother-in-law.
  • In the old country, Mumu worked as a shoemaker. No wonder she wore sensible shoes.

Now that she knows about my Finnish ancestry, Leena has taught me my first Finnish phrase:

Minua Rakasta Sinua, Leena

(with love, Leena)

I’m a little teary now, but they are good tears as I remember a simpler time, before the complications that accompany most teen years, a time when all you needed was a good friend and an imagination to get through the dog days of summer. Those were the days when we made forts out of empty refrigerator boxes, stuck olives on our fingertips, smoked pretzel cigarettes, and enjoyed the company of a large, rubbery hippo.

Minua Rakasta Sinua

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