While researching Finnish women’s experiences living in the UP, I came across “Marys in Pants” or housu maijat. Here’s a description, found in the great book, Women Who Dared: The History of Finnish American Women:
A small number of women choose to use America as an opportunity to live independently in the woods. These women build their own log cabins and live off the land, hunting, fishing, and trapping….The Finnish American community refers to them as housu maijat, and develop legends about their independence, bravery, and kindness. The legends suggest that while the Finnish American community admired these women, they define them basically as freaks, not considering their behavior could be a form of self-improvement.
K. Marianne Wargelin
I want to make a NPC (non-player character) woman that lives out in the woods. Maybe I’ll name her Maria Keranen (known locally as Loukus-Maiji). The real Keranen lived in the woods and “had a colorful reputation” in the UP in the early 1900s. People often visited her and wrote about her (37).
Cool! Here’s a map of the farm section (1910-?) that STA/Room 34 just created:
Compare it to the google map of the actual land:
As part of The Farm story experiment, I’ve been working with my son fwathegamer (who turned 11 last week) on a video game inspired by stories from Finnish Americans, like my great grandparents Elias and Johanna, living in the UP in the 1890s-early 1900s. While some of the stories come from my grandmother’s memoirs + scrapbooks, much of them come from researching the history of Finnish immigrants. I’ve really enjoyed reading/hearing the stories and figuring out ways to organize them into a video game. But, I’ve had less fun trying to collaborate with my son on the project. I think neither of us had any idea that creating a video game could be so complicated and time-consuming. It’s taking all the SISU and Puotinen persistence that I have to continue
nagging encouraging him to work on the project with me.
One monumental task for this video game is crafting the UP, including the farm world, in pixel form. Thanks to a fabulous micro grant (from Tweet Small Change), fwathegamer and I got a subscription to Pickle and we’ve been playing around/struggling with it in the hopes of creating cool tile sets and backgrounds for the game. This morning, inspired by a featured game on Stencyl, the platform that we’re using, I had the idea of using the aerial view of the farm land as a guide. In less than a minute, I was able to zoom in on google maps to find it.
Pretty cool! Now, we just need to convert it to something like these: