First entry of Blog

Published by Joe Vestich
Wednesday December 8, 2021

Greetings friends! This is my first attempt at a blog. Actually I’m not even sure what a blog is, but as I understand, it’s sort of an online diary, meant to be written for anyone who cares to read it. I’ve been around a lot and have gone through some pretty wild experiences, and many people have told me that I should write a book. What I’m thinking, is that rather than just talking about what I’m doing each day, unless of course it’s something really interesting, I’m going to roll back as far as I can remember and start telling those stories. So here we go!

I was born on September 7th, 1955, in Ironwood, Michigan, USA, which is located in the Upper Peninsula of the state very near the shores of Lake Superior. My father and mother were first generation Americans of Croatian descent, and they were both raised on small farms. There were lots of Finnish immigrants who had settled in the area as well, and although we moved from there when I was very young, some of my earliest memories were of my father often enjoying a type of sausage made from blood, barley, and onions, that is a specialty from Tampere, Finland where I have lived for the past 35 years. In Ironwood, Michigan that popular sausage was referred to as “blood sausage”, and in Finland it’s known as the legendary “mustamakkara” which is often served with lingonberry jam!

After serving in the army just after WW2, my dad went to work in the iron ore mines, just as most young men did in the area during those times. However, he was in a very bad accident in the mine where the ceiling caved in, and he was buried alive for several hours. Miraculously he survived, and after he was rescued and recovered, he decided to go to study in the university, and he packed up the family and off we went to southern Michigan, and later to California.

Through the years I never saw “mustamakkara” except when we had the family summer vacations back in Ironwood, and when I got older and stopped making the trip with my parents, I didn’t see that kind of sausage for years and years. However, when I came to Tampere, Finland as a university exchange student in 1986, the first meal served in the cafeteria was “mustamakkara”, and it all came back to me!!!

Joe would like to thank these co-operative companies