August 31, 2012

We pause.

Glacier National Park, July 1970. We take a break as we hike the Gunsight Pass Trail from the trail head on Going-to-the-Sun Road to Sperry Park Chalet.

Olga takes a dip.

Brookfield Zoo, Spring 1966. Olga goes for a swim.

Roadside Attractions

On our way from Toronto to Lake Nipissing, Ontario, we stopped at an "Esso" gas station that featured a taxidermy display of local wildlife:

Ontario, Canada, July 1965. Dad checks out the fighting wolves.

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Ontario, Canada, July 1965. Dad also stops to see the bear and her cub.

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Ontario, Canada, July 1965. No visit to northern Ontario is complete without a moose sighting. That's our gold Buick in the background.

Mom sets the table for a special occasion.

Suburban Chicago, December 1964. I think she's getting ready for another New Year's Eve party.

This is not my home movie. But I watched it as if it were.

"Las Vegas 1962"

Thanks to my childhood friend, Al, for pointing it out.

I'm dying to knit.

But I'm not sure I am ready for a "sustainable coffin."

August 30, 2012

There's more than one way to resolve a dispute.

Brookfield Zoo, February 1975. Two Dall Sheep settle their differences.

Vacation Breakfast

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. Mom and I enjoy a typical breakfast: bread, cheese, sausage, strawberry jam and ... chocolate milk.


Suburban Chicago, December 1962. My Parents share a quiet moment in the living room.

Related by Marriage: Hearty Thanks!

Kaiserslautern, Germany, Summer 1948. Mr. Irene's Dad, on the left, gets recognized for his work in the canine security unit.

A Different Era

Kaunas, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1962. My Kaunas Cousin sits with her maternal Grandparents: my Dad's cousin, Henry, and his wife, Suzanne.

Be true to your school?

My alma mater, Trinity High School, is the subject of a short article.

I have few opinions about single-gender education, but I make two observations: (1) In the 1960s and 1970s, the boys who attended our "brother school," Fenwick High School, were much better prepared for university work than we were. Although we had solid training in the humanties, the Fenwick boys were better educated in the hard sciences (example: Mr. Irene); and (2) after four years at a single-gender institution, I found it rough to adapt to a co-ed setting. During my first year at university, I slowly adjusted to men in the classroom. During my second year, our small dormitory went coed.

August 29, 2012

Ontario Sunset

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. My Dad was happiest when he took black-and-white photographs.

Picnic Culture: Group Shot

Tinley Park, Illinois, June 1960. I'm perched on my Mom's lap, and my Godfather is behind me, on my right.

Sock as Accessories

Würzburg, Germany, about 1946. I noted earlier that so many of the Displaced Persons were quite fashionable. My friend Kris's Uncle Al was no exception. 

Thanks to my friend Kris for making this photo available to us.

Moms Who Drove

Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois, Winter 1958. Many 1950s- and 1960s-stay-at-home Moms did not drive. It was not uncommon for women to wait for their husbands to chauffeur them around on weekends to the grocery store and other house-related destinations. Mr. Irene's Dad walked to work, so his Mom had the car available to her during the workday. Unlike her sister Martha, Mr. Irene's Mom learned to drive. My Mom also drove because she worked, and she often headed off to house calls during the night.

I thought it was strange that some woman could not drive. Imagine not being able to drive and living in the suburbs, with no shops, libraries, or cafés within walking distance.

A Smile

Kaunas, Lithuania, about 1943 or 1944. "A smile" is all Mom wrote on the back of this photo.

August 28, 2012

When old becomes cool.

Mr. Irene's old neighborhood draws some attention.

We had a little rain tonight.

And then, the sun appeared.

Verona, Wisconsin, August 2012. For a short time, we saw double rainbows, but I didn't act quickly enough to capture them.

Cancer Brain

A new report looks at cancer distress.

The background is more interesting than the subjects.

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1973. Mom and I pause during a short hike. I can tell it's a short hike because Mom is carrying a pocketbook instead of a knapsack. I am wearing that favorite, aran sweater.

Making Friends

Suburban Chicago, Autumn 1969. Kadis, the husband of my Dad's twin sister, Jonė, gets acquainted with our new dog, Gigi.

Congratulatory Call

Suburban Chicago, July 20, 1969. My Dad sometimes photographed views on the television screen that weren't restricted to my childhood crushes. Here's an image of President Nixon congratulating the astronauts during the moonwalk.

Childhood Crush

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Suburban Chicago, 1964. I mentioned earlier that the television character, Dr. Kildare, was one of my childhood crushes. In the days before at-home-recording devices, there was no easy way to rewatch a favorite TV actor or program. My Dad therefore took photographs of the television screen so that I could look at the beloved Dr. Kildare whenever I wanted to see him.

August 27, 2012

Vintage Resort

Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, July 1962. This is the waterside entry to Ervins Cedar Lodge, the resort at which we rented a cottage during our vacation on the shores of Lac du Flambeau.

Roadside Raspberries

Near Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1964. We've pulled over to gather some goodies.

The "Starter" Ferris Wheel

Melrose Park, Illinois, Autumn 1962. Chicagoans who visited Kiddieland should remember this Ferris Wheel as the one designed for the younger set.

Related by Marriage: Three Suits

Brighton Park, Chicago, Illinois, about 1949 or 1950. Mr. Irene's Dad (left) and his brother, Ignas (right), stand with Ignas's best friend near the home of the Americans who sponsored their postwar immigration to the United States.

Entry, from a Different Angle

Isarhorn, Germany, August 2 to 14, 1948. Here's another image of the Lithuanian scouts from the Displaced Persons camps as they march in the third National Scouting Jamboree.

August 26, 2012

Day Hike

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1973. Mom and I make our way on the Grinnell Glacier Trail, along the edge of Lake Josephine.

It was a slow Sunday at the Seven Seas Panorama.

Brookfield Zoo, 1961. The Seven Seas Panorama is only about a year old, but the novelty seems to have worn off because there are few people in the audience.

At the bench.

Chicago, Illinois, 1962. We don't have many photos of my Dad at work, so this one is special.

Good Dog

Kaiserslautern, Germany, June or July 1948. A member of the canine security unit lifts his dog's spirits.

Sunday Paper: But-I-can't-read-yet Edition

Suburban Chicago, March 1962. It's Sunday, but I am not yet equipped to take part in the newspaper ritual.

August 25, 2012


Suburban Chicago, Spring 1963. Lamb Chop is the star of my puppet show.

"Caramel" Bliss

Suburban Chicago, August 1962. The Slo Poke was a popular candy at our house. There are several photos of me as I enjoy the treat.

O'Hare in the Early Days

My childhood home stood less than a fifteen-minute drive from O'Hare. The home was on a runway path, and I used to sit in the living room bay window and read the airline logos on the plane's tails as they landed.

But O'Hare was a military airport before it became a commercial airport. The early 1960s were a time when everyone was interested in space, airplanes, and the Air Force. As a result, I visited many exhibits dedicated to flight and space travel.

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Suburban Chicago, Summer 1962. O'Hare has opened some of its areas for a civilian viewing.

Thrill Ride

Suburban Chicago, 1962. I take the hamster out for a spin. This is one of the photos that my Dad decided deserved placement in the "little Irene" album.

Wolf Path

Before my maternal Grandparents, Jake and Jadzė, built the house in Kaunas, the family lived in the Soldiers' Quarters in the city of Panemunė. My Mom used to walk to and from school. The path leading to her family's apartment went through a small, forested area. Mom describes the area as being pretty cultivated—on one side of the path grew tree roses, and on the other side, Wisteria. She recalls, however, that her father Jake admonished her to walk quickly through the path because wolves frequented it.

See what you think. Was the danger-of-wolves story a real threat, or was it a way to prompt Mom to bolt home more quickly?

Panemunė, Lithuania, 1930. This is the "wolf path" leading to the Soldiers' Quarters. My Mom's family had an apartment in the building at the end of the path.

August 24, 2012

A poised poodle often crosses her paws.

Sun Prairie, Wisconsin, August 2012. This is "Mary Kay." Mary Kay is our Poppy's Mother.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 1956. My Toronto Cousin focuses on an art project.

Related by Marriage: Lucky Strikes

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. Mr. Irene's Dad, seated, poses with an Army buddy.

Self Governance

Würzburg, Germany, 1946. This is the "Lithuanian Committee" that worked with UNRRA at the Displaced Persons camp.

Thanks to my friend Kris for making this photo available to us.

August 23, 2012

Tour Boats

Niagara Falls, New York, July 1963. I remember one detail about our visit to Niagara Falls. After our boat tour, we went to a "fancy" restaurant for lunch. The lobby displayed life-sized, wax statues of President and Mrs. John F. Kennedy. I found it strange that someone had depicted living people in statue form. I slid past the burgundy, velvet rope surrounding the statutes and stood next to the Jackie figure. I touched the the hem of her bouclé skirt.

The wait at the restaurant was very long, and after one hour, we left the place.

The Early Eighties

Suburban Chicago, June 1980. Dad captures Mom and me as we get ready to go to a friend's wedding. The fabrics of our dresses were intensely bright. Gigi was starting to show her age.

Foot Traffic

Tambov, Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1958. Here is another Soviet-era postcard that depicts the city in which my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, lived.

Related by Marriage: Reporting for Duty

Seligenstadt, Germany, June 1948. The Lithaunian Displaced Persons who volunteered to work in the U.S. Army's canine security unit prepare to depart for Kaiserslautern.

"Letters from Siberia"

The documentary, "Letters from Siberia," is part of the Hope and Spirit exhibit hosted last winter by the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture.

The documentary is now available online. The video appears in four parts: Part I is here; Part II is here; Part III is here, and; Part IV here.

The narration is in English.

UPDATE: This site has all of the video links on one page. Go here to read about the letters.

At the net.

Würzburg, Germany, 1946. The Displaced Persons engage in another volleyball game.

Thanks to my friend Kris for making this photo available to us.

Most Popular, Out-of-Print Books

Number Ten is a favorite of mine.

August 22, 2012

Flamingo Reunion

Riverbanks Zoo, Columbia, South Carolina, October 11, 1988. Mr. Irene and I commuted for two years. When he flew from the Midwest to see me in South Carolina, we sometimes traveled to Charleson or Hilton Head. Most often, we stayed in town, and then, we sometimes visited the zoo.

Girl Talk

Brooklyn, New York, January 2, 1962. My paternal Grandmother Tatjana's friend, Paul's wife, sent this photo to Tatjana. She's the one on the left.