Friday, October 5, 2012

Life is an Amazing Song - Book Review

“This book is about a finnish boy's life during the 1939-1945 war between Finland and Russia. ... I would recommend this book for women who are struggling with finances and raising their children. There is nothing like a mother's love. It is also a blessing to have loving grandparents who will help. John's mother did overcome her struggles, so mothers do not give up.... The way you face situations can make all the difference in the world.... Sometimes other people like your parents, teachers can see in you all that our Creator has made you to be. And these people can speak life and empower you to be all that you can be.... In 1942 John Raikkonen was in Oulu, Finland.... His family was jolted from sleep that morning around 3:00 a.m. to the shrillness of the horribly familiar air raids.... Even at the age of four, he remembered noticing everyone else was in their private world of fear.... There were plenty of hard times during the war. But there were good times as well. What John remembers most was a strong zest for life and an enthusiasm for the discovery of all things new.... The Finnish-Russian war (The Winter War) was fought between the years of 1939-1940. Their home was in the city of Hammeenlinna just north of Helsinki. His mom was home with his sister, Inga who was born one year after he was born. They lived in a small house next to the famous Hotel Aulanko with its national park and lookout tower. It was difficult for his mother to take care of her children with her busy schedule, so John was often with his grandparents.... The war had ravaged Finland and no one had the needed money or supplies to live because of the war. His father was stationed along the Karelian border where most of the heavy fighting took place. His mother was left alone with two small children and she had a difficult choice to make. His sister, Inga would stay with the mother in Hameenlinna and he would be sent to live with his grandparents on their farm north of Oulu.... It was later in life when he thought about growing up with his grandparents, that he came to the conclusion of having been born with the "golden spoon in his mouth." His grandparents, uncles and aunts were well off compared to his poor mother in Hameenlinna, who worked so hard to take care of his sister and Brother Kari, who was born in September. With his father being in the war and his mother working long hours, the money was tight. John worked at an early age during the summers.... Many things had been on his mind. The most disturbing was the possible separation of his Mother and Father once he would come from the service. The second unpleasant idea was going to a new school.... He would be in the third grade.... His class was studying the country of India, which he found very interesting. Geography was his favorite subject... It was the beginning of April. On the south side, where warm rays from the sun reached, the snow had began to melt. The ground was frozen solid... His mother had visited Helsinki twice meeting with his Father and lawyers. His Father insisted on divorce. His Mother didn't want the divorce, but gave in and the divorce was granted. His Father was suppose to send child support for the children, but he never did.... In 1952, Finland was ready for the Summer Olympics. Finland did receive a world-wide influx of athletes and visitors.... The world's first Miss Universe Pageant had been held in California and the first Miss Universe ever chosen, was from Finland. Her name was Miss Armi Kuusela..... In the summer of 1954, John had graduated from Lyseo, which was an advanced high school..... A hotel guest, a business man which was Mr. Schwab from Philadelphia, invited John at the age of seventeen to the United States. Mr. Schwab would arrange for his schooling and paying for his ticket to come to America..... It was a scary feeling for John to start a new school in a different country. It would be hard for him for his English was not very good... Life in America for John was wonderful and exciting. The people were friendly but it seemed as if everyone was in a rush somewhere.... Later the following summer, John returned back to Finland to fulfill his army duty in October.... It was in August when he journeyed to America aboard the SS US.... He attended Temple University, which was only three blocks away from the house, studying business and accounting. John enrolled in a class to learn how to fly airplanes. On his fifth lesson, Mr. Black the flight instructor asked him, "was he ready to fly?"... For one hour he flew around the airport and performed touch and go landings on the grass run way..... Late that summer John met his sweetheart. Paola Barboni who was born in Pescara, Italy. Paola and hiim hit it off immediately. It was like love at first sight. She was beautiful and he says she still is after fifty years of marriage. Six months later they were married. Now he ad to stop school and find work, and he was able to do so with some friends help. He became the Assistant Internal Auditor at The Benjamin Franklin Hotel in the inner city. They lived happily but very frugally... His son, John Claus was born nine months after his marriage. Two years later his daughter, Laila was born in Alexandria, Virginia where they lived at that time. Lewis Hotel School had brought him and his family to the Washington, D.C. area. He accepted a position at the famous Jockey Club. President Jack Kennedy was always escorted in through the back door. Everyone who was famous in D.C. to Hollywood considered Jockey Club as their club. After thre years with this famous restaurant, he began his Country Club Career... Over the years he became a Certified Country Club Manager, running some of the finest clubs in he United States... Him and his wife had another beautiful child, Claudia... At Rolling Green he met President Ford. He came to play golf in a large fund raising golf tournament. He shared his office with President Ford... In the fall of 1977 his Mother passed away. He was heartbroken... By 1980 John was burnt out from club management. Him and his wife purchased a closed up restaurant in Fairhaven, Massachusetts. They were featured in several newspaper articles, magazines, radio and TV interviews... While John was enjoying life, his sister Inga was diagnosed with incureable live cancer. Him and his wife visited her two weeks before her death in 1993... After twenty-three years they sold the Pasta House and moved to Charleston, South Carolina.... John says that he contributes everything in his life to a higher power, God. There were many people in their lives who helped them along to achieve what they did and what became of them, but he looks up to HIM as the giver/originator of it all.... As he learned in Finland, America is the land of opportunity... John (Juha) Raikkonen is the author of "Life is an Amazing Song."