Sunday, November 10, 2013


     I have probably mentioned it before in this blog that I am 1) Finnish on my mother’s side of the family and 2) I have heard the expression, “sisu” thousands of times growing up.
     Sisu means spirit, determination, finish the job at any cost. I am in the midst of writing a sequel to Albin’s Letters, the first book about my grandparents coming to America from Finland at the turn of the last century. The sequel will be Hilda’s Spirit (or Hilda’s Sisu).
     It took me awhile to figure it out but I probably have been thinking about this Finn expression all my life, for instance: Our first born child is Nancy Sue—NanSisu. I couldn’t find a connection with our second child’s name, Phyllis, but after she  married she and her husband named one of their first sailboats Sisu. Our daughter Susie is Sisu backwards and the youngest girl in the family is Teri named for my mother, her grandma, Esteri (Esther in English) who I know for a fact was blessed with more sisu than anyone I knew.
     Subconsciously I may have been thinking that sisu only applies to females. We women-folk have had to be more aggressive down through the years in demanding our rights.
     Our boys and their Dad have a lot of spirit, but maybe not as much sisu as the females in the family. What do you think? What does sisu mean to you? (You don't have to be Finnish to vote.)

Rosie Atkinson

November 2013

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