R is for Riippa
This is the story of my father's families name in Finland.
Riippa is Swedish for snowbird. Our family is Finnish.
A long time ago there was a terrible winter in Finland.
(well, most winters in Finland are terrible, but this was worse than usual)
Travel through the country side was almost impossible.
Sweden ruled Finland at that time and the Swedish authorities
sent out rescue parties to bring aid to the Finnish villages
which had been cut off in the heavy snows.
At one village, all was quiet. It appeared that all the
villagers were dead, having perished of
the cold and the lack of food. Then they heard a
small sound and began to search the houses.
In one house, they found a baby girl.
Her parents had placed her next to the chimney in
a last attempt to keep her warm.
They brought the baby back to their own village and she
was adopted by a wealthy family. They called her Riippa because
they thought she looked like a little snowbird.