The occupants of Ainola

Eva Paloheimo (1893-1978)

Eva, or "Valpu" as her sisters called her, was eleven years old when the family moved to Ainola in 1904. Eva's playmates were the children from the neighbouring houses: the Paloheimos of Kallio-Kuninkala, the Järnefelts of Suviranta, the Ahos of Ahola and the Halonens of Halosenniemi. "I must admit that we had an unusually enjoyable and happy childhood and youth," Eva Paloheimo recollected later. "And there were exceptionally many of us young people there in Tuusula, artists' children."

Eva moved from Ainola to Helsinki in January 1906 when she started at the coeducational secondary school, Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu. She stayed with Sibelius's family friend Martha Tornell, but she spent most of her weekends and holidays at Ainola. Correspondence reveals that in 1907 Eva and Ruth celebrated with the Paloheimo boys until the early hours, when Jean and Aino were in Berlin and Martha Tornell was in charge of the children. "Looking back, I am really astonished at how liberal our father was," Eva Paloheimo recollected. "Besides, Cupid was active, and a lot of people from our crowd ended up marrying each other."

Cupid's arrows struck Arvi Paloheimo and Eva at an early age. They got engaged in the summer of 1911, when Eva had finished school and passed her matriculation examination. As an engagement present, the daughter was given an Etude for piano by her father. Eva and Arvi were married on the wedding day of Janne and Aino Sibelius, on 10th June 1913. At Ainola there was a great feast, with dinner served to about 80 people.

During the years that followed Eva lived with her husband (who was a businessman) in Käkisalmi and St Petersburg. The revolution in St Petersburg brought Eva back to Ainola for a time. The Paloheimos finally settled in Helsinki, but they often came to visit their mother and father at Ainola.

As the composer grew older, Eva Paloheimo managed the family's affairs with a rod of iron, and it was she who put out official public statements concerning the family. During their childhood, "Get Valpu to sort it out" had been a regular saying among the sisters whenever problems cropped up. 20. On 20th September 1957 she and her sister Katarina came from Helsinki to their father's deathbed, in time to hear the composer's last words: "Eva and Kai".

After 1957 Eva and her sisters took it in turns to come to Ainola so that their aged mother Aino did not have to depend solely on the help of servants. In 1972 Eva Paloheimo and her sisters decided to sell Ainola to the Finnish State as a museum.

Read Eva Paloheimo's Memories of Ainola