March 31, 2013

Related by Marriage: Easter Dinner

Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois, about 1954. Mr. Irene's Dad, second from right, sits with a cousin and other family members at Easter dinner.

We spend holidays with our closest friends.

Suburban Chicago, Easter Sunday, 1965. The family of my Mom's best friend, Donna, join us for Easter dinner. From left to right: Donna's Dad; my Mom; Donna's husband, Vytenis; my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana; Donna's Mom; Donna's brother, Uncle Al, and Donna.

(We used to place a scrap piece of the wall-to-wall carpeting in front of the sofa to prevent extra wear. We didn't realize that the coarse backing of that scrap did more damage to the carpet than the soles of our feet.)

Easter Manners: Wear a necklace.

Rockford, Illinois, Spring 1962. The Rockford Poodle allows me to hold her.

Easter Traditions ...

... in Lithuania.

Happy Easter

Šiauliai, Lithuania, August 2011. Traditional Lithuanian wooden crosses stand on the Kryžių Kalnas.

Thanks to my Toronto Cousin for making this photo available to us.

March 30, 2013

Gigi grays.

Suburban Chicago, 1972. It's easier to photograph a black dog once she gets older. Here, Gigi sits at her favorite spot, the ledge of the bay window.

Practice before the guests arrive.

Suburban Chicago, April 1966. Dad took this picture the night before Easter. That chandelier wouldn't be lit if it weren't evening. The folkdressed fashion doll sits atop the piano.

Easter Manners: Enjoy the table.

Suburban Chicago, Easter Sunday, 1961. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, again enjoys hosting another party. She's seated at the dining room table with the mother of my Mom's Rockford friend and my Godmother's father. The decanter holds Tatjana's brew of citrus-flavored, milk liqueur. Ach! The tablecloth has creases.

Tatjana made a yeast Babka every Easter. The recipe used five egg yolks. On the table, you can see what Tatjana made with the leftover egg whites: a "Bizet Torte." A Bizet Torte consists of five or six layers of baked meringue disks, held together with coffee buttercream, and decorated with toasted almond slices. Although the Bizet Torte isn't as popular in Lithuania as a Napoleonas, it is a lot less labor intensive.

Latvians make Bizet Torte, too.

Spring's Hope

Probably Palanga, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1964. My Kaunas Cousin delights in the weather as her maternal Grandmother, Suzanne, and Mother, Kaunas Nina, watch her.

March 29, 2013

Reach down and pet the good pony.

Melrose Park, Illinois, August 1962. I enjoy another pony ride at Kiddieland.

Teacher Crush

Sacred Heart School, Melrose Park, Illinois, Spring 1967. My third-grade classmates cluster around our teacher. It's likely we were heading to an end-of-year field trip to Brookfield Zoo because: (1) one girl wears a nametag; and (2) I otherwise would not have brought my camera to school.

Spring Wear

Suburban Chicago, April 1963. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, models her new coat and hat.

An Ice-Fishing Hazard

Over 200 Latvians rescued from two ice floes that floated 4 kilometers into the Gulf of Riga.

March 28, 2013

Sunset Fishing

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. We'll be back at the cabin before the sky darkens.

Windbreaker Duo

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. Dad wears his London Fog windbreaker. Mom's windbreaker likely is newer.

Easter Manners: Egg Skills

Suburban Chicago, April 1969. I got better at lifting the eggs from the dye. When we weren't using those bowls to color Easter eggs, we served Jell-o in them.

Background Nap

Suburban Chicago, Spring 1962. I've seen this photo many times, but I hadn't noticed earlier that my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, naps in the background. Tatjana liked to doze off on the patio.


Yarnbombing started as "guerilla knitting," a trend that later dovetailed with the Occupy movement.


"I've been going online looking for places for us in Klaipeda. Klaipeda?!"

A bank releases a Lithuanian commercial featuring George Clooney: "Some people get lucky. Everyone else should save. Start now."

(It originally ran as a Norwegian ad promoting a Norwegian bank.)

March 27, 2013

Bear-Grass Reunion

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. Summer arrives late in the mountains.

Has someone noticed that the fence's gate is open?

Suburban Chicago, June 1962. The purpose of the fence was to keep me from from wandering out of the backyard.

Easter Manners: The older folks will enjoy the party, too.

Suburban Chicago, April 1969. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, reflects on pre-dinner drinks with my Godmother's father and another friend.

"Part of Paris exhibition about Napoleon dedicated to Lithuania."

Napoleon in Lithuania (again).

Tucked Away

Hohenheim University, Stuttgart, Germany, 1946. Here's a touching scene from Dad's (pre-Mom) double date. It looks like it was a cloudy day, but the sun came out later.

March 26, 2013

"Galloping in Grand Central"

"Heard NY" is not the usual flash mob.

Just-Passing-Through Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, March 2007. They're keeping to the side.

A Weekend in Augsburg

Augsburg, Germany, 1947. My Dad visits the Augsburg Displaced Persons camp, where he reunites with a friend and her daughter.

Related by Marriage: Easter Manners: Line up.

Marquette Park, Chicago, Illinois, April 1962. Mr. Irene, his Parents, and his maternal Grandparents head out for Easter Mass.

Sit near the rye bread.

Brooklyn, New York, about 1954. My maternal Grandfather, Jake, attends a wedding reception, and he finds the best seat at the table.

March 25, 2013

Hometown Reunion

Chicago, Illinois, April 2007. Mr. Irene and I travel to Chicago for a wedding.

Before there was email, the phone used to ring.

Suburban Chicago, October 1963. Mom wasn't on the phone for pleasure. She's standing in the kitchen, ans it's likely a patient interrupted her meal. The rotary phone was pink (to match the walls), and its label featured the old phone-number system: "FIlmore 5- ...."

Easter Manners: Hold the "egg" carefully.

Suburban Chicago, April 1962. I am ready for Easter Dinner.

Related by Marriage: An Accordion Anniversary

Mr. Irene had his first accordion lesson, conducted at home, forty-eight years ago today. Kindergarten classes would soon be ending for the school year, leaving a summer calendar open for daily practices of at least forty-five minutes each. The lessons continued on a weekly basis for the next seven years.

Mr. Irene's teacher worked for The Music Center, a Chicago business that combined instrument sales with a large, home-based instruction program. Robert Halter founded The Music Center in 1939. Halter recruited the finest students to perform in his all-star "Accordioneers" orchestra. At the height of its popularity in the late 1940s through the early 1950s, the orchestra performed for audiences of 100,000 in the Chicago Music Festivals at Soldier Field.

Suburban Chicago. March 25, 1965. This sheet of accordion music was the subject of Mr. Irene's first lesson. The teacher added an instruction: "Memorize."

March 24, 2013

Do the usual knitting projects bore you?

Try a little mathematical knitting.

(Knitters know that knitting already is a series of mathematical considerations.)

If your going to feature a story about knitting ...

... then the first photograph shouldn't feature a crocheted fried breakfast.


Morton Arboretum, September 1963. The hollowed trunk is a source of amusement.

Related by Marriage: Easter Manners: Cherish the Bunny

Suburban Chicago, Easter Sunday, April 1963. Check out Mr. Irene's tie (his jacket is on the chair).


Near Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, July 1962. I don't recall what caught my attention here, but Mom and I often went picking for blueberries and wild strawberries.

Sherman Hall

Champaign, Illinois, January 1981. A commenter today correctly identified the dorm that housed my first, graduate-school room. The room was on the fifth or sixth floor, on the left. The quarters were small and provided a good place to study.

March 23, 2013

Do you remember the Kiddieland train?

Melrose Park, Illinois, Autumn 1962. The train tracks circled Kiddieland's parking lot.

Related by Marriage: At the Matterhorn

Los Angeles, California, July 1970. Mr. Irene (in the pink shirt) and his Los Angeles Cousins visit the "Matterhorn" attraction during their visit to Disneyland.

Easter Manners: Be patient.

We have to go the church, first:

Suburban Chicago, Easter Sunday, April 1963. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, restrains my enthusiasm.

"Kai Klaipėda memeliu vadinos ..."

"When Klaipeda was called Memel" is a lovely collection of historical photos from the Lithuanian region that bordered East Prussia/Germany.

Another Field Trip

Sacred Heart School, Melrose Park, Illinois, June 1964. Eighth-graders gather in the school's courtyard as they prepare to depart for a class trip to Springfield.

March 22, 2013

Spring Green

Taliesen Estate, Spring Green, Wisconsin, April 2012. Here's another look at the spring greens in Spring Green.

Related by Marriage: Hanging Out

Suburban Chicago, about 1964. Mr. Irene and his maternal Grandfather, Stanley, swing in the backyard.

A Pensive Time

Kaunas, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1972. This is Kaunas Nina—the daughter of my Dad's cousin, Henry, and mother of my Kaunas Cousin.

Kaunas Nina was an English-language teacher.

Easter Manners: Deliver the Lilies

Queen of Heaven Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois, March 1961. I bring flowers to the grave of my maternal Grandfather, Jake. The "family plot" stands near the monument honoring the children who perished in the Our Lady of the Angels fire.

The coat in this photo was blue. I also wore it on the day I tried out nursery school. Those Mickey-Mouse mittens lasted through the next winter.

March 21, 2013


*     *     *     *     *

Door County, Wisconsin, July 1977. Gigi explores the shoreline.

The First Knitted Suit

Suburban Chicago, March 1962. This is the first knitted suit that I remember Mom having made (during my lifetime). She wore it for several years. She and I just were talking about the suit because Mom plans to knit a sweater for Mr. Irene using the same the window-pane pattern.

The men went fishing.

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. Dad started teaching me to take photographs when I was quite young. Here, he handed me the camera as he and his brother-in-law, Kadis, headed out for a fishing trip. It's sweet that both men removed their sunglasses for the shot.

Easter Manners: Take another look.

Suburban Chicago, April 1965. It's easier to gauge the colors when the photo isn't black and white.

It looks like I finished that potholder. It's displayed on the intercom system that didn't work.

March 20, 2013


St. Peter's Cemetery, Salzburg, Austria, July 1971. When we visited the cemetery, I wrongly assumed it was the filming location for The Sound of Music's Nazis-hunting-the-Von Trapps scene.

Spring Garden

Kaunas, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1968. My Kaunas Cousin models a new coat. Next to her is her Mother, Kaunas Nina, her maternal Grandfather, Henry, and her maternal Grandmother, Suzanne.

Click on the labels to see earlier posts about these people.

Related by Marriage: On Leave

Brighton Park, Chicago, Illinois, 1951 or 1952. Mr. Irene's Dad returns to Chicago during a leave from the U.S. Army. The man on the left was one of Dad's immigration sponsors. The suited fellow on the right is the roommate of Dad's who died suddenly.

Welcome, Spring

Suburban Chicago, June 1964. Soon things will be blooming, and we'll be posing in the backyard.

Easter Manners: How to Make "Margučiai"

Last year, The Martha Stewart Show featured a segment about making "Margučiai," or Lithuanian Easter Eggs. Lithuanian-American Christine Luschas offered detailed instructions about creation of the eggs. Read more about the segment here (in Lithuanian).

See also here:

March 19, 2013

Moonrise Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, February 2013. It's easy to spot the bird feeder, even in the dark.

Our Troop

Melrose Park, Illinois, March 1969. Our grade-school scout troop performs in the parish's basement chapel. I'm in the front row, sixth from the right.