April 16, 2012

Related by Marriage: California Wedding

Mr Irene's Uncle Ignas met his future wife, Ellie, in the Lithuanian Displaced Persons camp in Würzburg in July, 1946. Ignas had just reached Würzburg in June, finally reuniting with his brother, Mr Irene's Dad. The two saw each other for the first time since they had fled the advancing Soviet Army in July, 1944.

Ellie was in Würzburg with her Parents. She was a scoutmaster for a troop of young girls. Ellie met Ignas at a campfire social, and they developed a quick and close friendship.

By January 1949, Ellie's family received an invitation to settle in Los Angeles, where Ellie's mother had a distant relative. Ignas and Mr. Irene's Dad emigrated to Chicago in June 1949, to settle with their sponsor, a first-waver uncle who had emigrated from Lithuania before World War I.

Ignas and Ellie corresponded, and Ellie had hoped to join Ignas in Chicago. One year later, the start of the Korean War interrupted those plans. The U.S Army drafted Ignas, and Ignas reported for duty in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, on August 22, 1950.

In January, 1952, while on leave in Los Angeles, Ignas proposed to Ellie. They married after Ignas's discharge in October, 1952, and they settled in California.

A pastor tried to convince Mr Irene's Dad to settle in Los Angeles too, but after his discharge from the U.S. Army, Mr Irene's Dad returned to Chicago.

Los Angeles, California, October 1952. Ignas and Ellie were the first couple to be married in the new Lithuanian parish church, St Casimir's, which had opened in 1951. Mr Irene's Dad—on the far left—was the best man at the wedding. Mr. Irene's Dad was still in the U.S. Army at the time, stationed not too far away at Camp Irwin, in Barstow.

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