Helmi Luoma Ashtabula 2007
5th Finglish trip July 2007 #25
"Oh, the one who walks everywhere” – is what we hear when we ask the way to Helmi Luoma's house. It is unusual in America for one to take care of matters on foot, or not even to own a car. Although Helmi has never obtained a driver's license, it has never held her back.
Helmi Luoma's (88) mother came to Ashtabula from the village of Niemelä in Ylivieska. Her father died when she was five months old. Helmi's mother heard that she had inherited a farm in Finland and decided to return when the girl was 12. Helmi completed Lutheran confirmation classes in Finland, but her mother arranged her return to America so that she would not have to be a farm maid all her life.
Helmi Luoma worked for many years as a cleaning woman for an electrical company. When she was 87, she did cleaning work. She keeps her hair in a tight bun; let down it would fall past her knees, for she has cut it only once, when she was in a hurry to get to a funeral and her hair was tangled.
Helmi, known and appreciated for her bread and coffee bread skills, hasn´t bought bread in over 50 years, often providing her homemade breads for special events.
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