Category Archives: memories

Murry Jumps In

Hello Joan and Niilo, Sent you a card the other day. Have been getting news of Niilo’s recent trip to hospital and return home from John Culbertson. Also had a great phone conversation with Jay Worley and passed on news to him. He and Pam are in Santa Paula looking after Pam’s 91 yr. old father. He told me that he and Pam were married by Niilo on your property. Lovely connection I didn’t know about.

Just want to wish you well and let you know I think of you so often. My years smokejumping in Alaska were made all the more wonderful by our friendship and the many, many saunas shared Sundays evenings. The love and special feeling of your home was a touchstone for me during times when I needed to feel close to family and the better things in life.

I’ll be in Fairbanks in June of 2009 for the 50 year Reunion of the Alaska Smokejumpers. I’ll be there a week or so and will come by for a visit. In the meantime, know that you are thought of often with much love.

Sincerely, Murry Taylor

2008/05/13 at 7:51 AM

It’s All Relative

Tervehdys Suomesta,

Koposet society is going to have annual meeting this weekend near Jyväskylä. We have published books about Koponen families covering them from 1600 until 1860. We are collecting now information after 1860.
I noticed that Niilo is born 1902, an I wonder if You have the information about his family before that, so we could try to link him to our book.
I used to work with Jari Ailio and he gave me information on Your family.

All the best wishes to Niilo and all,
Ahti Koponen

2008/07/14 at 9:17 PM

NOTE FROM CHENA:  Niilo of this blog was born in 1928, not 1902.  His father, Niilo William Koponen was born in Riihimaki, Finland on October 28, 1902.  Best wishes to Jari, Dad’s first cousin in Finland.  He is Niilo Emil Koponen’s mother’s nephew, and the families have all too rarely visited each other.

All Honored

We are greatly honored to have David McReynolds make a post here. For those who don’t know him, David was the Socialist Party presidential candidate in several recent presidential election, using his campaigns to speak out for democratic socialism and human rights for all.

–Ken Burch

2008/07/11 at 5:17 PM

Posted photos

A certain niece was asking for historic photos.  I dug through my digital collection and came up with these.

As time allows, we’re searching for older ones that will have to be scanned. If anyone has photos they’d like to share, let us know.

– Gary

Recording, as Dick sees it

In 1981 Niilo and I were visiting. As he sat on my couch he noticed a paperback on history of close to 400 pages in length. It had taken me six hours of dedicated reading from start to finish the book. Niilo picked up the book and began reading it. He was literally seeing whole pages in one glance. It took him 35 minutes to read and finish the book.
I then asked him questons about the book. He understood the book far better than I did so I asked him how he did it. Niilo said he had taught himself to read as a young boy after his mother used to read the comics
to him from newspapers of his day. Eventually Niilo was able to teach his
mind to see and read whole pages rather than individual words.
Niilo also described his ability to record complete conversations in his mind of up to three hours. He could repeat these conversations verbatim for several days, then would in effect erase the conversations in his mind to allow for other conversations to be recorded.
In the mid 80s I was visiting Niilo while he was serving as an elected
representative in Juneau. I caught up with him as he entered a budget hearing and decided to stay. Shortly after the hearings began I looked over at Niilo and his eyes were closed as if he were sleeping. Forty minutes into the hearing a question arose, someone asked Niilo if he knew the answer and without opening his eyes Niilo went on to give a detailed history of the problem then outlined several possible solutions.
Following the meeting I asked Niilo why he kept his eyes closed during the hearing when he obviously wasn’t asleep. Niilo said by closing his eyes he was able to more fully concentrate on what was being said. In his own way he was recording the hearing.
I have always so enjoyed watching this amazing mind work. dick farris

2008/06/20 at 3:35 PM

Early Year Memories from Ruth Hyde Paine

I met Niilo when I was at Antioch College. We traveled together (maybe hitchhiked) to Columbus, Ohio. I attended a hearing he had with his draft board. He was trying to establish himself as a conscientious objector. The hearing officer had trouble believing that someone had beliefs which had not been instilled in him before age 6 by his religious group. He did not grant the C.O. Status.

I can’t remember if we both went on from there to Wheeling West Virginia, but I did. What I remember for sure is that Niilo taught me a song in Finnish which I then taught to the weekend Folk Dance Camp I attended at Ogelbay Park.

I lost track of Niilo after college, but discovered later that he had married…Joan who is a cousin to Michael Paine. I think you call it cousin once removed, when they are not the same generation. They grew up as age peers (during vacations in the) summers.

Raising young children and working for a living often leads to being too busy to keep up with distant friends, and I lost track of Niilo and Joan. Then one spring at Southeastern Yearly Meeting (Florida) I read an epistle to our YM from the clerk of the unprogrammed YM in Alaska: Niilo! I wrote and we’ve had Christmas Letter communication since then.
In 1998 I saw several members of the Koponen family at a memorial service for Ruth Forbes Young complete with a display of art by family members.

I believe I had a brief visit with Niilo in Florida in connection with a trip he took seeking physical therapy for Joan. Niilo also visited with someone who entered kindergarten with him in NYC. They were both from the Finnish community, and both entered Kindergarten speaking only Finnish. It was sudden immersion into English!

My greetings and prayers to to all the family. Thank you for keeping in touch.

Ruth Hyde Paine