Viking Speed Skates

In Fun
A pair of Viking speed skates.
A pair of Viking speed skates.

My Grandfather, Vaino Tapio Kokkola, immigrated to the US from Finland with my grandmother to start a new family away from the expansion of the iron curtain in WW2. At Ellis Island our family name was shortened to Kola, which is how it legally remains. My grandparents have told me stories about the shenanigans they would get into in their youth, some of which involved these skates. Skating is a part of Finnish culture as many Finns take to the multitude of frozen lakes to get exercise, unwind, and have some fun. Speed skates in particular used to be all the rage. My favorite of Vaino's stories was when he once tried to woo my grandmother in these skates. He was skating fast by her and her group of friends on a local lake, hoping to impress with his athleticism and poise, only to fall mid stride. But it was an icebreaker in more ways than one. His humility turned out to be what won her heart. 

Place(s): Oulu, Finland
Year: 1942


Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant