Family TreeSeptember 1, 2007 at 9:25 AM | Posted in Personal | 1 Comment
First of all, on my dad’s side of the family, I thought that my family treee ended with my grandma. As I was given to understand (to be fair, some of this sounds familiar, so maybe I was young, or didn’t pay attention, or didn’t understand the link, or something), my grandma was one of four orphans, immigrants from Finland. My grandma was the only one to have progeny; two other died young, and the remaining sister was a spinster.
I thought my family tree was a dead end at that point.
Like I said, some of this sounds familiar. In actuality, their parents emigrated from Finland to Canada. Perhaps an influenza epidemic or some other treachery that was life in the turn of the 20th Century, but the mother died. The father gave the children up for adoption in Minnesota. . .then returned to Saskatchewan.
His name was Tom Sukenan, and actually it was something else before that. I didn’t quite get what the mother’s name was. These are my great-grandparents.
So Tom returned to Canada. He had already been a successful wheat farmer, and inventory. He had invented a thrasher for havesting wheat, and a sowing machine of some sort. Upon his return, however, apparently he went quite mad.
He returned alone, destitute, and heartbroken. He wanted to return to his native Finland. And so, there, during the drought and depression of the 20s and 30s, in the middle of the Saskatchewan prairie, a thousand miles from any ocean. . .
He built a ship.
I have to give all of this proper context, because when *I* hear it, it just doesn’t sound that crazy. But he was committed, institutionalized. But he built the ship.
The ship still stands, and there is a museum. A fictionalized novelization was written of the account, back in the 70s. Here recently, someone is making a documentary about his life. It is already written and in production, but they intend to add a footnote, I suppose, about the family.
My Aunt Nina is in contact with them; the documentarians had no idea what had happened to the children. She is going to go up and meet with them in September–watch this space for more details.
Hearing the story, and more details comes at a time in my life when. . .I was seeking direction and a clarity of purpose. I’ve always wanted to build a ship. Or a spaceship. Or a vast underground headquarters from which to launch my takeover of the world. You know, the usual stuff.
But it’s nice to know where. . .all this crap in my head comes from.
click on this–then on the left, scroll down to "Tom’s Story."