Wool Socks

In Attire

My object is a pair of wool socks given to me by my great-aunt while I was visiting her in Kauhava, Finland. My grandfather moved from Finland to America in 1972 and I recently visited where he grew up and got to meet much of my family for the first time. While not the exact same, these socks are very similar to the ones my great-grandmother used to knit and send to me for Christmas each year from Finland. I only met her once, she came to America when I was a small child and she did not speak any English, so those socks growing up were my only connection to her. My great-grandmother passed away when I was in high school and I have since outgrown the socks she sent, but one of the reasons I went to Finland was to learn more about her and my Finnish family as a whole. While there I found that many Finns require you to take your shoes off in the house so as not to track in snow, and will give you a pair of traditional Finnish wool socks like these to wear inside to keep warm. My aunt gave me these particular socks to remember her and the trip by. Now I see that beyond just sending me a gift every year, my great-grandmother was also sharing her Finnish heritage and customs, as well expressing how she cared for me from across an ocean and a language barrier.

Place(s): Kauhava, Finland
Year: 1972

– Ella Mann

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