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  • Writer's pictureVesa Oja

Anja & Mauno Laurila Voluntown 2008

7th Finglish trip August 2008 #22

Mauno and Anja Laurila met in the mid-1950s in Harlem in New York City. They now spend their summers in Voluntown, Connecticut and the winters in Florida.

Originally from Lahti, South Finland, Anja came to America to work in domestic service. She was emplopyed by John D. Rockefeller Jr., the only son of John Rockefeller, the founder of Standard Oil. At the time, John D. Rockefeller Jr. was one of the richest men in the United States and the world.

Anja found it all to be exciting: the family of two had 15 servants. “And we even had a servant to clean our rooms. We spent the summers in Maine, in a villa with 99 rooms. The Rockefellers were friendly, polite and tactful employers who greeted all their employees,” Anja recalls.

Mauno Laurila is active in Finnish activities, in a choir and as the chairman of various associations. He also edited a history of the Finns of Harlem, with the last funds of the Imatra Foundation.

The Finnish-themed bedspread is a 50th wedding anniversary gift from their daughter.

Next Lempi Issakainen Brooklyn New York USA

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