We ate breakfast at the old Pacific Hotel in Chatham, then rode twelve miles south to Trenary where my Mom's brother Jorma Syrjanen had Ruth's grandfather, Oscar Suvanto, build the Trenary Home Bakery (THB) in 1928. That's the original bakery above with typical winter snow for that place and time. Ruth has a copy of the original agreement between Jorma and Oscar to build the bakery and sell it to Jorma for $1,000.
Jorma ran the bakery until his death in 1940. His widow, Elsie, then kept the bakery going for as long as she could manage, with help from her sons, my cousins, Donald and Leo. She sold the bakery to the Hallinen family in 1950. The THB is still in business in Trenary. Among the large variety of baked goods that have been continuously produced there since 1928 is the hard cinnamon toast called Trenary Toast, the recipe for which was brought from Finland by Grandpa Gust when he immigrated in 1913. This unique toast has the desirable quality of a very long shelf-life. It can be kept for months without special preservation requirements. For this reason, it was a favorite staple on sailing ships in days of old. The THB has a website from which you can order Trenary Toast today and have it delivered to your door by Fedex. This is the toast link . During our visit, I ordered four bags of toast to be shipped home.
The bakery today has a new sign painted by co-owner and baker, Subi Hallinen.
My cousin Donald has the original sign mounted on his garage in the Town of Rock, 18 road miles south and west of Trenary. A picture of that is included below.
On the way into Trenary, we stopped at the Mathias Twp Cemetary north of town to visit the Syrjanen family plot. Gust, Saime, Jorma, and Elsie are all buried there.
Grandpa Gust's burial with my mother, Aina Ellen, standing between her brother Jorma and the minister, and Elsie standing beside Jorma with son Leo standing in front of her. Donald wasn't yet born and my parents weren't yet married.
We left Trenary about noon and rode over to Rock to see my cousin Donald and his wife Dottie. I first met Donald and Dottie nine years ago, and this is only the second time I have seen them. Thanks to the efforts of Ruth and Mark, Donald is now in possession of the original Trenary Home Bakery sign created by his father. This photo was taken by Mark a few years ago.
Ruth and Dottie on the front porch with one of Dottie's Bambies.
Donald had some old albums with photos I hadn't seen before. This one shows my mother, Aina Ellen, kneeling in front of her mother, Saime, in front of my mom and dad's first home in Sturgis, MI.
Another old photo of Donald's. My dad, my mother, her mother, and her sister-in-law Elsie, Donald's mother, in front of the Sturgis house.
Donald and I stayed up late that Tuesday night talking about family and how he and I are the only two left of our generation of Syrjanen decendents. We made plans to get together this winter in Florida. I think we can both feel the clock ticking. I departed early Wednesday morning, heading west and following the western shoreline of Lake Michigan down through Wisconsin.
I pulled into a county park south of Marinette for one last photo of Old Blue and Lake Michigan and then headed south as rapidly as I could since I had to be home in Lake Lure the following day.
I made it to Champaign, IL that night, and pulled in our driveway about 6:30 pm Thursday night, tired but content after a satisfying ride with no mishaps. Our family and friends began arriving the next day for the Lake Lure Labor Day weekend bash. The Trenary Toast that I ordered when we were visiting the bakery arrived the same day as our guests and was a big hit for breakfast.