Reede, 18 Mai 2018 19:00
Ellen Leivat - Estonian Life No. 20 2018
On day 125 of Estonia's 100th anniversary year, AKEN women organized an event to celebrate a universally significant landmark in Estonia's history AND THEY DID IT THEIR WAY! With a celebratory “BLUE-BLACK-WHITE” fundraising event! So instead of the usual Giant Rummage sale, a Giant Esto Boutique and Friend's Cafe and Bake Sale filled the Galley and Crystal halls of Esto House to capacity. Since no-one can resist beautiful Estonian articrafts or scrumptious Estonian baked goods, a total of $10,000 was raised in support of the Estonian community and the Estonian House.
“IT'S FUN” is the reason most often mentioned by volunteers, who return time after time to help out at AKEN basaars and it's also one of the reasons mentioned by repeat customers, who shop and “reshop” at the basaar year after year. Take Marika Sepp, who explained her presence at the May 5th basaar this way: “I know I need ABSOLUTELY nothing but I just cannot resist coming to the AKEN sale and ”kohvik” because it's so much fun.” And, as she sauntered away with her purchase, Marika added: “besides, I am always delighted to discover that I do need something after all”.
At the Friends Cafe on May 5th , I bumped into long-time AKEN committee member Irja Mägi, who had come to the “SINI-MUST-VALGE” event strictly as a customer. Irja ran the Bake Sale and cafe (nicknamed Irja's Cafe) for AKEN's first 20 GIANT RUMMAGE SALES at St. Andrew’s Church. Irja mentioned that she had just run into Lionel, one of her regular customers from the St Andrews Bake Sale days. “I remember Lionel well because some 25 years ago he asked me for advice as to which cake I would recommend for a friend's birthday and I suggested Ivi Kiilaspea's rum cake and every year after that he lined up early for the basaar and when the doors opened, he made a beeline for the Bake Sale and Ivi's rum cake”. And what do you think Lionel was carrying when he exited Esto House on May 5th? If you guessed Ivi's rum cake, you guessed right!
In the Gallery Hall I approached a customer who was eyeing a sewing machine. No, it was not an Estonian sewing machine (though donated by an Estonian) and yes, a whole table full of non-Estonian items had managed to sneak their way into the otherwise mega sale of Estonian art, artifacts and handicrafts. The customer, Sarah Mayor, lives in the neighbourhood and explained that she had attended many art shows and had often lunched with friends at the Estonian House Cafe. “I love coming to the Estonian House” she said “because it’s so homey and there is always such a comfortable and friendly feeling of community in the place.” And what about the sewing machine? “I'm thinking about buying it for my son so that he can sew up his own pants when he splits his seams”. SOLD! An excellent mother's day gift for Sarah!
In the Crystal Hall, Estonian folk costumes were practically flying off the racks. However, the story of the day involved two sisters, Anneli and Maiki Andre and their mother Valve Andre. Anneli explained that for some time she had been looking for and had finally found at the SINI-MUST-VALGE sale a vest for her “Mustjala” folk costume, a vest that fit her perfectly. But Anneli's excitement grew when she discovered that the vest had been donated to the basaar by her sister Maiki and that it had belonged to their mother. A beautifully sentimental ending to Anneli’s search for a vest and a perfect home for a vest that may henceforth become an Andre family heirloom..
I next approached a very glamorous looking woman decked out in the BLUE-BLACK-WHITE theme of the day. Andrea Hansen explained that last year as a way of commemorating her mother who had passed away, she took a sentimental journey down memory lane to her mother’s favourite haunt on Broadview – EESTI MAJA! Much to Andrea's surprise and delight, her journey happened to coincide with AKEN's Giant Rummage Sale #26 on April 30th 1917 at Esto House. She was immediately hooked and to this year’s sale she brought along her husband and her brother Karl, who had just arrived from England the day before. Karl explained that their grandmother, Tiina Hansen, used to live in London, Ontario and since he was going to London on business he hoped to locate an Estonian neighbour of their grandmother’s named Anu Jõe, whom they had gotten to know many years ago when visiting their grandmother.
And the rest of the story is that Karl and Andrea did not have to travel to London to find Anu. They had only to travel to the Gallery hall of Esto House, where Andrea was overheard by one of the AKEN salespersons to say “my grandmother had one of those”. “Who was your grandmother?” inquired a friendly salesperson. “Tiina Hansen” replied Andrea. Yes, you guessed it, the helpful salesperson was none other than Anu Jõe! An unexpected and happy reunion amidst Estonian artifacts!
And that is a glimpse of what transpired on day 125 of Estonia's 100th anniversary year at the “SINI-MUST-VALGE” celebratory fund-raising sale at Estonian House, a house that was not only Andrea’s and Karl’s mother's favourite haunt on Broadview but a house that has become the new home for AKEN BASAARS.
On behalf of the AKEN committee.....Ellen Leivat