Miss Helen In The Bath

Johanna and me on our doorsteps. I still remember those shoes, my toes literally grew through them.

For a very short time Johanna was my best friend. She was a Jewish girl, we were between seven and eight years old at the time when I did not really understand what Jewish even meant. Her family lived very close and they had a piano. Her grandmother could play it and sing, I was fascinated by her voice and her long silver grey hair.

We would sing songs whenever we met. Johanna taught me one of those self-boasting provincial songs from her family’s province and my classmates laughed at me mockingly, when I suggested we sing that song together during our music class. 

When it was time to pick up a song for the exam to get a grade, I chose “I Saw Miss Helen In The Bath” by M. A. Numminen. My teacher, who was from the Karelian region, laughed very loudly until she was in tears, and I got a good mark.

Then suddenly Johanna and her family moved out of town and I lost trace of her for good. I wonder where she is now and what songs she might be singing.

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