Tempestuous Weather

Some time ago, I received a letter from my father containing an article about a violent storm that descended on metropolitan Detroit causing major flooding and destruction with pictures of downed trees, power lines, and damaged homes; the hometown St. Clair Shores escaped major destruction.  As I read memories of Midwest weather surfaced:  tornadoes, thunderstorms with hail, howling winter winds, and blowing snow; Midwest weather certainly has shaped my appreciation of nature.  As these recollections flooded in (pun intended) I pictured what Dad may have thought and done as this super storm passed through.  (more…)



 “Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.”

— Michelle Held


My first beach experience occurred in the summer of 1959 at the age of one at McClain State Park on the Keweenaw Peninsula (known as the Copper Country) of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula while visiting relatives during the summer.  While at the windswept park on the shores of Lake Superior Dad photographs me asleep on the sand under a canopy rigged by Mom to protect from the hot sun; the steady wind off the lake blows my white Scandinavian hair.  The drive to the Copper Country from our home near Detroit is a grueling 12 hours requiring numerous stops to gas up and relax as there are six of us:  Mom and Dad, Sister Linda, Brothers Tad and David, and I crammed into a 1965 Chevy station wagon.  Our first long break comes at the half mark, Mackinaw City at the tip of the Lower Peninsula. (more…)

Finn Camp

My one-year vacation at home in St. Clair Shores, Michigan, near Detroit, was winding down and I wanted to visit my Brother Tad who lived in Wixom, Michigan located near the Detroit Finnish Co-Operative Summer Camp Association (D.F.C.S.C.A.) one hour to the west.  You see the Pykonen family spent 10 summers at the D.F.C.S.C.A. between 1965 and 1974 and I thought it a good idea to revisit the place before heading over to Tads.  Mom and Dad discovered this gem, nicknamed the Finn Camp, through a mutual friend and liked what they saw deciding it the ideal family environment.  The association requires its’ members to have at least one-quarter Finnish blood and the adults to volunteer 24 hours a year maintaining the grounds, working in the organization owned Ravintola (restaurant), bar and dance hall (the site of many plays and heritage dances put on throughout the year mostly in the summer), the sauna, or as board members.  The campgrounds are close Labor Day to Memorial Weekend but members visit the bar year round to attend board meetings (Dad was treasurer) Christmas festivities, or to just socialize.  (more…)