In Attire
Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Great Grandmother's Pendant Necklace
Great Grandmother's Pendant Necklace

My great-grandmother, Tyyne Kuokkanen, was born in a countryside village, Valtimo, in Eastern Finland in 1912. She grew up in a middle-class family with two sisters and one brother on a farm where she tended the animals and fields. On the east side, the farm bordered a river where she and her siblings splashed and played along. In her early twenties, she fell in love and got married to her husband, Vaari, who she met in the village school. Because of the conditions, she and her husband moved to the capital, Helsinki, in search of work. She gave birth to two girls and one boy, including Tepa, my grandmother who was born in 1937. Around Tynne's 30th birthday, Vaari gave her a golden necklace with a heart pendant. She wore the pendant all the time. Eventually, my great-grandmother died, leaving the pendant to my grandmother. She saw it as an opportunity to make a family heirloom in memory of Tyyne, making it her mission to give the necklace to the next grand-daughter. When my mother was born on October 16, 1966, she came to America in 1998 in search of a medical career. A couple of years passed, upon my birthday in 2006, the necklace was finally given to me. The pendant’s sleekness gives me a feeling of my great-grandmother’s life as a grown-up and child, splashing along the river near her countryside home and traveling through the historically rich city of Helsinki. It gives me reason to no matter how far away my relatives are, I will always remember my culture. 

Place(s): Finland, New York
Year: 1998


Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant