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Tom was born Touko Valio Laaksonen
in Kaarina, near Turku, on the southwest coast of Finland in 1920.


Tom talks about his youth:

We lived in a school house, the way it worked back then was that teachers had an apartment in the school house. Mom was the head teacher and when another teacher was needed for the school because the population in the area was growing, they hired a man. And he fell in love with the head teacher and they married. To the end my mom was the boss at school and dad was the other teacher. No-one’s ever said anything anywhere but thinking about it, it does seem pretty meaningful. Mom really was an energetic head of the school. They were both pretty typical pious and God-fearing teachers of the time, and very protective parents. They meant well— there were five of us kids — by wanting us to stay home rather than out and about with the other kids.

-Kati Mustola, Unforeseen

Kaarina is now a part of the Greater Turku region.