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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Cummings-Komulainen Family Gray and South Paris 2008

7th Finglish trip August 2008 #5

Sarah Cummings-Ridge plays Finnish kantele, she has participated Sommelo kantele festival in Kuhmo, Finland. She is a music teacher. Kuhmo in Finland is the place were her grandparents came in early 1900s. Both her grandmothers family Haverinen and Heikkinen and her grandfathers family Komulainen were from Kuhmo. They were the first Finnish families in South Paris, Maine. When Komulainen family got their citizenship, they changed the name Komulainen to Cummings.

Sarah took us to her family farm where her father Konsto Cummings (1916-2009) still lived. Konsto was taking a nap and after he woke up he said "I have long waited for death and I still sit here". He spoke the old Kuhmo Finnish dialect, the same dialect his parents spoke in his childhood. Konsto's parents bought an old Yankee farm in 1907. It was a dairy farm but Konsto liked to work in the forest and thought himself as a "metsämies", a logger. Konsto was one of the builders of the Finnish Trinity Lutheran Church in South Paris. He also found his wife Lilja (Lillian) among the South Paris Finns, two daughters and two sons still live nearby.

One of the sons Peter has a wild blueberry farm, he also grows Christmas trees. His most important job as a blueberry farmer is to get donuts for the berry pickers, he says. Earlier in his life he was a crop dusting pilot in Virginia for twenty years. After moving back to South Paris he had a serious accident where his lower limbs were paralyzed. His dog Matsi is his best aide.

Next Art Jura South Thomaston Maine USA

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