Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Farm House Parlour


During the Canadian Friends of Finland Runeberg Celebration Jan, 31st we were shown a picture of  Runeberg's parlour with its antique furniture. The following discussion about the fact that the parlour was used mainly for receiving guests reminded me of an experience in my childhood. I often visited a farm in Lapinj√§rvi parish in southern Finland. The farm was larger than many other farms in the area. It was run by my Aunt Martta after her husband had died from a heart attack.

One Sunday winter afternoon in 1937, when I was 12 my aunt intended to visit some neighbour farms by horse and sled. She invited me to come along for the drive. There was ice on the roads. Suddenly the horse slipped and fell. It couldn't get a foothold and remained lying in its harness. 

There was a small farm house nearby and my aunt told me to run to the house for help. I ran towards the closest door which was the main entrance of the house. Aunt Martta shouted at me, "Not the main door, you idiot, go to the kitchen door."

I should have known not to go to the front door. Although growing up in a town, Loviisa, I had seen some of the smaller farm houses. If they were not very poor they often had a parlour, which, especially during the winter, was not heated. In the room there sometimes were one or two pieces of often inherited antique furniture. There may have been a piano, which didn't fare all too well in the cold. The family's activities took place in the roomy kitchen which held a large table with benches, used for taking meals and other activities.

We got assistance from the farmer and the horse was helped on its feet. After that the farmer's wife had served coffee, while excusing herself for not inviting us into the parlour. We thanked them and we continued our trip. 

Posted by CFF member and board director Ulf Fagerlund

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