Savolainen Taina and Heikki & Virpi
How the Savolainen Family Is Associated with the Darlings

September 1994 it was a cool and foggy morning in Jyväskylä. I was supposed to pick up Dr. John Darling, our visitor from Louisiana, at the Hotel Aleksandra and drive him to our department to see Juha Näsi. I had heard from Dr. Darling but I had not met him yet. My colleagues and I in the school of business and economics made plans for Mrs. Melva Darling who traveled with her husband. Dr. Darling was waiting for me in the lobby. After introducing and shaking hands I was wondering if we waited for his wife but he told me she got cold when she went to swimming a couple of days before during their visit to Tampere. So Mrs. Darling would stay in bed. And I knew that we would give up to our plans that we made for her.

We got in the car and while I was driving toward the university - not more than 7 minutes - we got to talk a lot, about my doctoral studies, the topic of my disseration that was under an initial planning process at that time. (I completed my licentiate in march 1994), his travelling , his Presidency at LSUS, etc. When we arrived in the university I felt we had known each other for more than 7 minutes. And I was looking forward to meeting Mrs. Darling. I was also excited to introduce John to my husband Heikki. This happened at the lunch we three had together during that visit. At that lunch I talked about my plan of internationalization and my interests to make doctoral studies abroad.

I got to meet Melva before they returned to Helsinki. Our school organized a social evening in Savutuvan Apaja. I was impressed about her courage to go swimming in September (although she had just recovered from bad flu). I could not even go outside from sauna. (Well, later on things have changed, though: no matter if it is January or June I go to swimming.) At that first meeting I knew we would be friends. I remember that Melva told me if I ever came to Louisiana her house would be a house for me and my family.

As if she had known…anyway, this "prophecy" became real before long, in August 1995. I had gotten an invitation letter from LSUS even before John and Melva returned to Louisiana from Finland in Autumn 1994.

My husband, my youngest one, Virpi, 12 at that time, and I left Finland for Louisiana in July 1995 to spend a year there as a part of my doctroal studies and internationalization process. At the time right after we arrived in Louisiana John and Melva were of great help when we settled in and encountered many practical and not so practical problems to be solved. Whether it was a question of kitchen stuff or sheets or conceptual problem concerning my dissertation study their provided help. And, as Virpi missed her Grandmother in Finland, Melva showed her love and comfort so Virpi felt as if she had her Grama over there.

We also got be dog and house sitters for the six weeks that John and Melva spent in Finland. It was a very hot and dry period in Louisiana - not a drop of water for six weeks. We watered the yard regularly and did not really know how much to water and wondered how much the utitlity bill would be. But John and Melva never mentioned anything about the bill supposedly because the yard was still green when they returned.

We had a very good time in Shreveport and for that we are most grateful to John and Melva. Their help was outstanding and I think the friendship we have shared ever since we first met in Finland has been invaluable.

"Turbo" Taina and Heikki & Virpi

Asko Korpela 19990922 (19990922) o o AJK kotisivu