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Pirkko from Swimming Hall
Pirkko Ha

Pirkko from Swimming Hall

  • Pirkko Havanko started as a cafeteria manager at the newly completed Uusikaupunki swimming hall in September 1987. After the summer, she is facing her last autumn in the beloved work community.

There are things that have not yet changed in the accelerating pace of the world. For Pirkko Havanko, the swimming hall’s cafeteria manager, a few things come to mind immediately: the cafeteria’s popular herring sandwiches and the drink machine at the end of the line that has been mixing a green sports drink for decades.

Once we tried to get rid of Hart-Sport, but such a loud public movement arose that we had no choice but to dig the machine out of storage and back onto the counter,’ Pirkko laughs.

And there the machine still spins, just as it did decades ago in childhood. The cheerful green drink is as much a part of the Uusikaupunki swimming hall brand as the blue slide, ankle-fitted key lanyards, and lifeguard Jerry Lee.

And then there’s Pirkko.

Hartsport-kone myyntitiskillä.

The tall figure bustling behind the counter is familiar to most visitors from years past. Pirkko has sold tickets, brewed coffee, and organized hundreds of friend birthdays on the swimming hall’s balcony.

She has always had time for customers. Exchanging news with Pirkko comes naturally. From behind the swimming hall’s counter, she has had a front-row seat to watch many children grow from youngsters to adults. Now many old familiar customers visit the hall with their own offspring.

At one time, a young man’s parents often called him home from here. Both of us laughed when this now-grown man came for the first time to pick up his own child who had forgotten to leave the pool, Pirkko recounts.

It’s partly about community upbringing, with all of us looking after the children and youth together.

She jokes about being stuck at the swimming hall, but in reality, she has enjoyed her job so much that she hasn’t even considered other options.

I’ve done various customer service jobs over the years, and the nicest customers are here. Who comes to the swimming hall in a bad mood!

However, Pirkko will not move to the new swimming hall opening in Wintteri in the spring of 2025. She already considers herself ‘in overtime,’ but is happy to continue working until the new hall opens.

Parting is, of course, bittersweet, as this hall is so beautiful. But above all, I will miss the people. Coworkers and customers.

PIrkko järjestelee makeisia.

Much of the cafeteria manager’s job involves things that don’t appear to the customer stopping by the counter. Gradually, all that nearly forty years of accumulated silent knowledge has been transferred to the next operator.

Pirkko’s time will be spent pursuing hobbies in the future. Plans include traveling, wandering in the forest, foraging for mushrooms and berries, cooking, and baking. More time is also in store for her niece’s family.

My time won’t be long, Pirkko grins.

One thing before retirement still needs to be clarified: what happens to Hart-Sport? Surely the legendary machine will continue to delight swimmers in Wintteri?

That’s a big question! In Wintteri, the cafeteria is not connected to the swimming hall in the same way as here, so nothing will really transfer there. But surely someone will start a petition about the absence of Hart-Sport, as it has become somewhat of a trademark of the Uusikaupunki swimming hall,’ says Pirkko Havanko, laughing heartily.

Swimming Hall on Uudenkaupungin kaupungin elinkeinopalveluiden julkaisu, jossa tuodaan esiin uusikaupunkilaista asumista ja elämäntapaa.
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