In the middle of 1950s Tove was very, very lonely. Her letters of that time are melancholy, as she desperately yearned for true love. By this time she was very interested in dating women (as to her, Atos Wirtanen was in a way the last man she wanted to love). But circles were small in a small town, where homosexual acts were both a disease and illegal.
It was 1955, when Tove met Tuulikki Pietilä. They knew each other vaguely by looks. They had attended Ateneum’s art school at the same time but Tuulikki was few years younger and usually students spent time with their own language group (Tove spoke Swedish, Tuulikki Finnish).
The love story which lasted until their deaths, almost half a century began at Pikkujoulu party (”Little Christmas” in Finnish, a party traditionally held in anticipation on Christmas, usually among coworkers or friends) arranged by Finnish art society. Tove asked Tuulikki to dance, but she declined - probably out of propriety. But later Tuulikki sent Tove a card picturing a striped cat and asked her to visit her atelier.
Next summer Tuulikki visited Tove at an island. Love was born. Tove wrote; “I have finally come home to that one person whom I want to be with”. The picture of a striped cat was always and still is on the wall of Tove’s atelier. The couple spent their summers together on an island and winters working in their ateliers, which were right next door from each other.
It can be said that Tuulikki saved Moominvalley. By the time they began their relationship, Tove was absolutely tired of Moomins. Tuulikki’s support restored Tove’s belief in Moomins and they became an important hobby to them both.
Moomin book Moominland Midwinter (1957) is a book about loving and falling in love with Tuulikki. And it really shows. In the book, Moomintroll (who is an avatar of Tove Jansson) wakes up in the middle of unfamiliar and eerie winter, facing loneliness and death for the first time. In the middle of all cold and silence Moomintroll finds Too-Ticky, who’s calmly watching a snow lantern. Too-Ticky is robust and strong with blonde hair and a knife at her hip; everything Tuulikki was.
Too-Ticky becomes Moomintroll’s calm and supportive mentor. She never gives ready answers and instead gently guides Moomintroll as he grows and learns. It is Too-Ticky who says the phrase which Tove repeated often in her interviews and which was seemingly one of her most important philophies: “Everything is insecure and that makes me calm”.
After Tuulikki’s first visit Tove wrote; “I love you both enchanted and very calm at the same time, and I don’t fear anything that might await us”. After finding Tuulikki, Tove described how much calmer and safer she felt. Whole living felt easier.