an Amazing Song
the dark days of the Finnish-Russian
war, having lived with my grandparents in North Finland and later in
Sweden, I returned back to my Mother, sister and brother in the south,
when the war ended. We lived in poverty for several years.
a miracle took place at the internationally famous Hotel Aulanko, when
mother returned to her previous position which she had held before the
war. Us children also worked at the hotel as we grew
Who would have thought that a hotel bellboy in
Finland, would become a
successful Country Club Manager in America and finally the owner, with
my family, of a
renowned Italian restaurant south of Boston. Thinking back on my life,
it was conducted by my Higher guide, God. Having experienced this
amazing odyssey, my wife and I retired to the Charleston, South
Carolina area, close to our daughter and grandchildren. It has
been an intrepid journey.
I am John Raikkonen, the author of Life is an Amazing Song.
smoking a shoestring in the
bomb shelter while the Russians were devastating his grandparents’ city
of Oulu, in Northern Finland. Later they moved to their family
farm away fromthe city, where even a Russian war prisoner became part
of the family life. This is the beginning of the exciting and
refreshingly colorful memoir of the life of a Finnish boy growing up
during World War II in Finland and Sweden and his eventual journey to
These memories are his
story. Life was bleak and raw for many years after the war when
he moved back to South Finland to live with his mother, sister and
brother. He faced his mother’s harsh life. His father’s
absence during the war and later his desertion of the family made
matters worse. He left them without any financial help.
Mother struggled to raise two sons and a daughter by holding down a
miserable job as a prison guard in an ancient castle. She
suffered in order to make sure her children never went without.
A few years later, they
moved back to where they had lived before the war. There they
resided on the premises of the internationally famous Hotel Aulanko in
Hameenlinna, close to Helsinki. Mother resumed her old position
as the food controller at the hotel and later, when the children grew
older, they also worked at the hotel. Life was beautiful
again. The hotel years were uplifting and exciting.
The book continues to
the point when the boy at age seventeen steps off the ship SS UNITED STATES in New York.
A miracle had happened as he worked as a bellboy at the hotel. He
became friends with a businessman from Philadelphia USA, who became his
benefactor in America. He enrolled the boy into a High School in
Philadelphia and took care of all the travel expenses and living
expenses. His mother and siblings had met the man and extended
their blessings to the boy and heartfelt thanks to the gentleman.
This unbelievable dream became a reality.
The boy arrived in
NewYork on January 11, 1955 to begin his life in America.
The book is a memoir in the tradition of Angela’s Ashes, the Swedish book My Life as a Dog, with also a hint
of Tom Sawyer.
am a proud American-Finn living in the Charleston SC. area , close to
our daughter and grandchildren. I arrived in America at age 17. My
book, a memoir from the Finnish-Russian war has won several 5 star
ratings and excellent press reviews. The book: LIFE is an AMAZING
SONG will captivate you with being ENCHANTING-SAD-UPLIFTING-REFRESHING
and HUMEROUS. The book is an immigrant’s story unlike you have ever
John (Juha) Raikkonen
ENCHANTING - SAD - UPLIFTING -
REFRESHING - HUMOROUS