I can't find the poem, but digging through every scrap of writing I could find turned up a journal entry I'd made back in January 1990. My brother was in the process of applying to colleges then, and for reasons I can't now remember was hesitant to apply to Syracuse, although it was a school that interested him.

While putting laundry on his desk that January day, I noticed an envelope addressed, in Poppa's hand, to Greg. Actual mail from our grandfather being a rare thing indeed, I had to be the snooping little sister and read the letter, which left me in tears as I slipped it back into its envelope and replaced it. Here's what it said:

'OK og [only grandson, which, at the time, he was], here's the 40 bucks for your application to Syracuse. I only expect one thing from you and that is to try. There is no shame in losing--only if you don't try. You have Finnish blood in you and we have a motto--SiSu. As you grow older and wiser you will understand what it is. Love from Poppa.'

No comments: