I would never have guessed a decade ago when I interviewed Norman Weber that I would one day be standing where he had stood in 1946 as a seagoing cowboy in Turku, Finland! But that is where my own seagoing cowboy journey took me and my husband two weeks ago. The purpose of the trip was to deliver a painting of the S. S. Park Victory to Jouko (pronounced Yoko) Moisala, the painting given to me by seagoing cowboy Fred Ramseyer.
Anne and Jouko Moilsala look on in anticipation as Rex Miller unpacks the S. S. Park Victory painting. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Jouko couldn’t take his eyes off the painting. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Jouko is a diving instructor based in Turku who has been diving the shipwreck of the Park Victory since 1974. He has acquired numerous artifacts from the wreck and done extensive research and written a book about the ship. And now he has a painting of the ship as it was viewed by an Italian artist in 1946 to add to his collection for which he is seeking a permanent exhibit place. Jouko served as editor of the Finnish Diving World magazine for twenty years and is well-known in the diving community. He does a number of presentations around Finland about the Park Victory. Jouko arranged an incredible week for us in Turku. We will be eternally grateful to him and his lovely wife Anne for making this such a special time for us. Photos follow:
Seagoing cowboy Norman Weber poses at the G. A. Petrelius monument overlooking Turku, Finland, November 1946. Photo courtesy of Norman Weber.
Jouko took us to the statue in Norm Weber’s picture. Photo: Jouko Moisala.
The first thing we saw at Jouko’s house was this hatch cover from the S. S. Park Victory. Small hatch covers like this one could be used as a life raft if necessary. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Park Victory artifacts are found in many places. This Park Victory chain decorates a flower bed beside a home in Turku. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
A few of the many historical posters Jouko has made to tell the story of the Park Victory. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Boxes of artifacts from the Park Victory. A lump of coal is in the box. All portholes in the ship were shattered in the sinking. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Rex holds a sextant from the Park Victory. Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Dinnerware salvaged from the Park Victory. Photo: Jouko Moisala.
Jouko gave me one of the plates that was likely from the officer’s mess hall. Something I will always cherish! Photo: Peggy Reiff Miller.
Yet to come the end of August: account of a trip to the island of Utö off which the Park Victory sank.