January 31, 2013


Lake of Bays, Ontario, Canada, July 1969. There's pier-to-pier service.

What's on the menu?

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. It looks like we're having hot dogs again. I'm wearing one of my tiaras. Dad must have used the self-timer: he looks like he's run in to this snapshot.

Practice is serious work.

Suburban Chicago, April 1961. Mom again practices the piano. She has a focused look on her face.

Related by Marriage: Men with Hats

Brighton Park, Chicago, about 1950. Mr. Irene's Dad and a cousin settle into American life. The cousin wears a jacket that members of my family called an "Eisenhower jacket."

January 30, 2013

Snow-Day Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, January 2013. Our feeder had a lot of traffic during this afternoon's snowfall.

It was a little messy today.

Suburban Chicago, January 1962. A heavy snowfall is still a joy for a child.


Kaunas, Lithuania, about 1940. Here's another teacher from my Dad's high school, Aušros Gimnazija.

Leopard Spots

Lithuania, 1923. Here's a friend of Ron's family posing in her favorite winter coat. What thoughts crossed her mind?

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

Sometimes I really miss dancing.

The folk-dance group Žaibas performs a number at the 2013 Madison International Festival.

(Bonus clip: rehersal.)

January 29, 2013

Pavillon Reunion

Stuttgart, West Germany, August 1985. Things are blooming around the Neues Schloss Pavillon.

His hair turned grey when he was still young.

Kaunas, Lithuania, between about 1936 and 1939. This is one of the few snapshots in which my paternal Grandfather, Vytautas, appears wearing civilian clothing. He was in his early forties when he sat for this photo.

The First Snowman

Suburban Chicago, January 1961. Dad enjoyed helping me make snowmen. This impressive fellow came to life in our backyard. The house partially visible on the left—with the green trim—belonged to my Best Friend's family.

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 6)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, an MP friend wishes Mr. Irene's Dad, "Good Luck."

January 28, 2013

Pileated Reunion

Woodruff, Wisconsin, January 2013. This photo of a Pileated Woodpecker is much better than the one I posted last year.

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

Holding Hands

Suburban Chicago, January 1, 1965. I should have posted this photo on New Year's Day because it's a holiday-sensitive snapshot. When I ran across it today, however, I decided to post it because of the way in which the subjects—my paternal Grandmother, my Mom, my Mom's best friend Donna, and Donna's husband Vytenis—are touching one another. Tatjana's grasp of my Mom's hand especially is sweet.

Mom's wearing the dress that I later took as my own, and Donna's dress has the illusion neckline that I found so elegant.

They knitted together through the years.

Door County, Wisconsin, December 1979. My Mom's best friend, Donna, has joined Mom and Dad for a weekend in Door County. Mom and Donna spent many hours together knitting. (See, for example, here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

Mom shares her chair with Gigi, whose toy rests on the carpet.


Location uncertain (a Displaced Persons camp), Germany, about 1948. An American official—likely an UNRRA representative—speaks to the Lithuanian Displaced Persons residing at the camp. The Lithuanian coat of arms, the "Vytis," hangs on the wall behind the official.

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

January 27, 2013

Bird House

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Brookfield Zoo, Winter 1961. In the 1960s, Brookfield Zoo kept its bird collection in an early version of a "climate-controlled" building. The bird house was humid, and the staff had painted its walls a peculiar shade of aqua. I didn't enjoy going to the bird house because I found the air clammy, and I rarely saw any birds. My Dad was better at spotting them.

Afternoon with a Kitten, in Three Takes

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Downers Grove, Illinois, Autumn 1963. I'm spending a Sunday with a close friend, and her new kitten is the focus of our attention (most of the time).

The Study

Suburban Chicago, November 1978. Dad converses with Gigi in the room that later served as his study. Dad decorated the room with enlargements of his scouting photos. Two of the images visible in this snapshot appeared here and here. The third photo, on the top left, is of the Lithuanian landmark, Kryžių Kalnas, in the early years of the Soviet occupation—when a small number of defiant crosses appeared on the hillside.

Sunday Portrait

Suburban Chicago, January 1962. This is one of my favorite photos of my Mom.

January 26, 2013

Ice-Storm Reunion

Suburban Chicago, January 1965. Things are about to get icy.

Related by Marriage: The Brown Deer

In the early 1960s, Mr. Irene's maternal Aunt Martha and her husband, Wally, owned and operated a bar, "The Brown Deer." It stood on Chicago's South Side, at South Halsted Street near 78th Street. Wally worked on construction projects during the weekdays, and he dropped Martha off at The Brown Deer in time for its opening at 7:00 am. Frequently some regulars, who were just finishing their night shifts, would be waiting for Martha to start serving their preferred "happy-hour" drink: a shot of whiskey and a glass of beer. Other patrons stopped in a for a quick one on the way to their factory jobs or during lunch breaks. Wally joined Martha to tend bar at The Brown Deer after his construction work was done for the day.

Following a longstanding saloon tradition, bar snacks and lunches were served free-of-charge to customers who bought a drink. Hard-boiled eggs and dill pickles were always on hand. Corned beef sandwiches were popular at noon. Martha even ran a Friday fish-fry dinner at the tavern for a couple of years.

Chicago, Illinois, 1964. Wally tends the bar. "Absolutely No Checks Cashed."

Holy Communion (Part 11)

Sacred Heart Church, Melrose Park, Illinois, November 1965. I'm a bit detatched from the ritual.


Schweinfurt, Germany, about 1948. My Dad—wearing the shorts uniform—and fellow scouts from the Displaced Persons camp engage in a ceremony.

A good place to visit.

Lithuania makes the list of the ten best "ethical travel destinations" for 2013.

January 25, 2013

Park the car and take a hike.

Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, January 1964. Dad's VW Bug awaits our return.

That is a large snake.

Palanga, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1964. My Kaunas Cousin visits the "Eglė Žalčių Karalienė" statue.

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 5)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, Bob thinks Mr. Irene's Dad is a "Great Guy." I think so, too.

Memories are a joy.

Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, November 6, 1969. Elena, one of the two younger sisters of my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, writes, "To Tanjusha, my dear sister. I love you as I loved you in childhood. I am 67 years old, and I am working as a model. I am living the life of a widow. I remember everything … Mama, Papa, our brothers. Memories are a joy. I kiss you warmly."

Thanks to my friend, D, for translating the text from Russian to English.

January 24, 2013

Lunch Break

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. We've reached Cracker Lake, so we might as well see what's in the lunch bag.

"Scottie Pinwheel"


Thanks to usoniaboy for pointing this out to me.

It's cold and flu season.

Suburban Chicago, January 1961. Another family friend pops in for an in-house doctor's call. Mom's doctor bag and her brown, otoscope case rest behind her on the couch.

Cold-Weather Fashions

Lithuania, about 1923. Here's a friend of Ron's family posing in her winter finery. That looks like a sheared beaver coat. Compare this coat and Dora's attire from about the same time period.

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

Happy Birthday, Toronto Cousin!

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 1956. My Toronto Cousin—on the far left—celebrates her birthday. Those are odd party hats, no?!

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 1956. My Dad's twin sister, Jonė, serves up the cake.

January 23, 2013

Knitting has gone to her head.

Photographer Louise Walker's "Wooly Head" series.

The kitchen work is done.

Suburban Chicago, December 1962. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, relaxes after she has finished the day's chores.

"She's just having a toddler moment."

Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, July 1962. Mom explains my behavior to one of the owners of the lodge near our rental cabin.

One person should look at the camera.

Near Kaunas, Lithuania, June 15, 1940. My Dad and his friends continue their walk.


Probably Munich, Germany, about 1946 or 1947. A group of women from the Displaced Persons camp wear Lithuanian folkdress for a special occasion.

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

"Shetland" Ponies ...

... wearing Shetland, fair-isle sweaters.

Thanks to usoniaboy for calling attention to this article.

January 22, 2013

The Aftermath of the Blizzard

Yesterday I mentioned the 1979 Chicago blizzard. Here's how things looked after Mom dug out the driveway:

Suburban Chicago, January 1979. The Skylark is in the garage.

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Suburban Chicago, January 1979. Here's the walkway to the front door.

Images from Vogue Knitting LIVE!

"18 things that happen when knitters get together."

Supervised Snow Play

Downers Grove, Illinois, February 1962. My Mom and a friend watch over us. I later continued skiing.

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 4)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1951. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, Mr. Irene's Dad—standing, on the left—joins his fellow Privates near the barracks.

Skiing in Russia

Penza, Russian Soviet Socialist Republic, January, 1964. Natasha, one of the two younger sisters of my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, cross-country skis.

"Dog owners wearing sweaters made from their dogs, or when you’ve gone too far."

The sweaters are made from dog hair. More here.

The featured breeds all are heavy shedders. My favorite is the Samoyed duo.

January 21, 2013

It's not as cold as it looks.

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. We're about to join a snowball fight near Logan Pass.

After two World Wars, was it a good idea to name an auto "Kaiser?"

"Kaiser" was the founder's surname, but …

Chicago, Illinois, about 1952. Friends of Mr. Irene's Dad picnic in front of their "Kaiser."

Thirty-Five Years

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 1978. My Toronto Cousin and her husband, Toronto Al, celebrate their wedding day. I was fishing for this photo when I decided to write another anniversary post.

A Wedding, in Three Takes

I was preparing a wedding-anniversary post today, and I realized I'd forgotten to extend our wishes to my friend Kris and her husband, who recently celebrated an anniversary. Their wedding was memorable because an historical blizzard hit that day. 

Evanston, Illinois, January 1979. I had no trouble getting to the wedding because I could walk from my dorm to Kris's apartment. Each bridesmaid sewed her dress. We used Ultrasuede fabric to make the garments. Do you remember Ultraseude?!

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Skokie, Illinois, January 1979. It took my Parents two hours to drive from our home to the wedding site. Normally, the trip took forty-five minutes. Mom sewed her dress in another 1970s synthetic fabricQiana. When I later moved to Italy, I took Mom's dress with me. I wore it one night to go dancing in a Roman disco. Sorry, but I don't have any photos from that night.

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Skokie, Illinois, January 1979. My Dad and—from left to right—Mr. John and Kris's maternal Grandfather raise glasses in honor of the newlyweds. This photo captures my Dad at his happiest.