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Marja Heino - 1954-55

Marja Heino Is Married

Announcement is made of the marriage of Miss Marja Heino and Anssi Arpiainen, which took place on June 4 in The German Church, Helsinki, Finland. 

The former Miss Heino was in Oberlin in 1954-5 as the first foreign exchange student at Oberlin High School. While she was here, she lived at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Mosher, 346 Reamer.

The couple met while they were attending the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration.

They are both employed in the jewelry business and will make their home in Helsinki.

Oberlin News-Tribune, Oberlin, Ohio, Thursday, October 6, 1960, p. 3B.

E-mail received 31 May 2004

I visited the excellent Oberlin High home pages and found myself but the information is sadly out of date. My fault, of course, for not keeping in touch. As my Oberlin High class is having its reunion in the summer 2005, I thought it is time for me to fill in the huge gap.

Here goes:

Married to Anssi Arpiainen in 1960. We have two daughters, 
Leena b. 1961 and Laura, b. 1963. 
We divorced in 1985. 
I have a grandson Lauri, now 7.
I married my present husband Pentti Levänen in 2002. Pentti is retired Bank Manager and a lawyer and my class mate from my Finnish high school. 

During my working life I held  a number of interesting jobs, ranging from being the one-person Finnish staff of the British Atomic Energy Company. We were trying to sell the first nuclear power station to Finland (unsuccessfully). I was also the Commercial Officer in the British Embassy in Helsinki 1969-1975, and worked at the Finnish office of Merck Pharmaceutical company until 1990 when I started a one-woman translation service called Wordplay. I was an  interpreter in the court of law in international disputes on the side.  My daughter Leena is now running Wordplay.

I am happily retired now and devote a lot of  time to my garden, which has over the years become an increasingly dear hobby of mine. My husband Pentti is also retired, so there is plenty of time for travel during the winter months.  We spent last Christmas on a cruise to Africa, visiting Senegal, Gambia and the Cape Verde Islands. A lovely change from the dark and cold Finnish winter. 

I have been back to Oberlin only twice since 1955. In 1975 I spent a couple of weeks in Washington D.C. with the Moshers when you had your Bicentennial Celebration. The Finnish State sent our most famous choir, The Tapiola Choir as a cultural contribution to the celebration. The choir consists of musically talented youngsters in Tapiola High School, and my daughter Leena sang in it. I joined the choir for the trip with my youngest daughter Laura and we had a lovely time with the Moshers, my American Father being congressman at the time. We also visited Oberlin together.

The second time in Oberlin was a short visit to attend the memorial service for Mr. Mosher. I was planning to come over having heard that his health was failing but I did not get there in time. Mrs. Mosher has now also passed away, but I shall keep them both in fond memory and will never forget their kindness in providing me the opportunity of studying in Oberlin and making me a full-fledged member of their family. The contact we had only broke when they passed away. 

I also have many fond memories of my
English teacher, Mrs. Rachel Hannon, who made me take the college preparatory course in English and work harder than I ever had before with my school-work (essays on 11 plays by Shakespeare, which I as a Finn had not read in the original language). My knowledge and love of English literature I owe to her. She also laid the foundation for what became of me -  knowledge of English was a deciding factor in how my working life turned out. I am still proud to say that there is an A for English in my final report card from Oberlin High. 

As for AFS, both Leena and Laura followed their mother's footsteps; Leena spent a year in Rhode Island and Laura was in Johannesburg, South Africa for her AfS year. In addition, we  hosted Lavonne Carlson from Texas while Leena was in Rhode Island. 

Please tell my former classmates that I send everyone my love and would have loved to participate in a class reunion . However, I suffer from severe CHF and my cardiologist frowns at transatlantic flights. 

Kind regards,

Mia Arpiainen 
Tillinkuja 2 A
02330 Espoo

Posted 4 Sept 04

August 11, 1954, 42 students sailed from Finland as AFS students.  On August 11, 2004, a fifty year reunion was held in Helsinki, Findland

The meeting was great fun after all these years. It is understandable that some old friends were missing, 7 have passed away and some live outside the Finnish borders. But those who attended enjoyed themselves thoroughly and decided to have another reunion in a couple of years' time.

Kind regards,

Mia Arpiainen
(Marja Heino - the first AFS student in Oberlin)

2004 photo
Taken at our 50th anniversary in Helsinki Finland on August 11, 2004.

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Updated 6 November 06