July 31, 2012

Another Air Show

O'Hare International Airport, June 1962. We're visiting an air show again, and we tour a plane assigned to the 4133rd Strategic Wing command.

A Classic Choice

Cape Cod, Massachusetts, July 1963. Nothing looks better with a pair of jeans than a white blouse.


Würzburg, Germany, 1946. Displaced Persons at the Würzburg camp engage in a volleyball game.

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

Related by Marriage: "Parking for Motel Guests Only"

Dearborn, Michigan, Spring 1958. Mr. Irene's Mom (center) stands with her older sister, Martha, and Martha's future husband, Wally. Mr. Irene's Parents traveled with Martha and Wally to visit the Henry Ford birthplace in Dearborn and the sites around Holland, Michigan.

July 30, 2012

Piazza Vuota

Piazzetta San Marco, November 1983. It's early morning, and few people are near San Marco.


Suburban Chicago, November 1965. Mom makes sure I devote at least thirty minutes each day to my piano lessons.

Under Control

Seligenstadt, Germany, June or July 1948. American soldiers arrive at the Displaced Persons camp from which they have recruited Lithuanian men to serve in the canine security unit.

My maternal Grandfather, Jake, my Mom, and my Father-in-Law (Mr. Irene's Dad) all lived at this camp in the post-war years (1945 to 1949).

"Camp Irwin Facts"

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, December 1951. Here's information about the army base at which Mr. Irene's Dad served during the Korean War.


Würzburg, Germany, about 1947. Lithuanian Displaced Persons enjoy a game of pick-up basketball.

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


Congratulations to Lithuania's Ruta Meilutytė, who today won Gold in the Women's 100-meter breaststroke.

This is a big deal for a little country.

(Via Ltnews.net.)

Thank you.

Today, the blog received its 50,000th hit. This is a little blog, focused on old photos. I never imagined I'd get that many views.

Thank you, sellers of Holy Communion dresses, dog containment systems, sterilized baby bottles, and Cape Cod vacation properties; searchers for "life size anatomical dolls," "nice big shot of penicillin," "1970 had lots of pantyhose," "mountain goat dress," "beret for mini poodle," "dinner party bored," "tipsy grandmother," and "chihuahua birthday."

Seriously, thanks to all my readers. I am grateful that you enjoy my little distraction.

July 29, 2012

Motor Vehicles Prohibited

Mackinac Island, Michigan, July 1961. If you want to get around the island, then hire a horse-drawn buggy.

Related by Marriage: Canine Security Unit

Kaiserslautern, Germany, June or July 1948. The Lithuanian Displaced Persons who served in the U.S. Army's canine security unit work their German Shepherds in the kennel area of the base.

Tea with a Beauty

Suburban Chicago, April 1961. We're hosting another Sunday tea in the living room; you've seen a photo from this afternoon earlier. This snapshot shows the tea cloth that my Mom stitched; our beautiful guest has one of the matching napkins on her lap. She's also placed her red pocketbook on the end table.

When, as a child, I met this woman for the first time, I thought she was the most beautiful living thing that I have ever seen.

Folk Dancing in Exile

The Lithuanian Displaced Persons who settled in the post-war camps brought their folk-dance traditions with them from the old country. Maintaining the custom of folk dancing was another way to preserve Lithuanian culture after the Soviet occupation of the nation had begun. Like scouting, folk dancing cemented the spiritual ties with the homeland.

Würzburg, Germany, January 2, 1946. Members of the folk dance group, "Sietynas" (for meaning, see here), gather before a New Year's performance. The mural on the right, behind the dancers, features a typical Lithuanian folk art motif, the stylized tulip.

Sunday Paper: Self-Timer Edition

Suburban Chicago, April 1961. Dad has made it from the tripod to the sofa in time to settle in and look relaxed.

July 28, 2012


Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, July 1967. We're waiting for the rain to end, sheltered in a store, while the gold Buick LeSabre gets drenched.

Knitting Duet

Suburban Chicago, December 1968. My Mom and her best friend, Donna, get together for another afternoon of knitting. They're sitting in the corner of our living room; Mom feels at home because she's wearing her moccasin slippers. The women both wear ensembles they knitted by hand, and they have matching, gold, knitting bags.  I suspect they're knitting suits in the photo; my Mom appears to be working on a skirt.

There's an ashtray on the end table, and my paternal Grandmother Tatjana's copy of Nicholas and Alexandra rests on that surface, under her eye glass case. It's funny that Nicholas and Alexandra pops up in this post; I was just talking this afternoon with a friend about Robert K. Massie's 2011 book, Catherine the Great.

Weekend Duet

Suburban Chicago, Winter 1967. My Best Friend and I perform at a recital.

A Poodle usually grabs everyone's attention.

Rockford, Illinois, July 1961. I may think the adults are looking at me, but they're really focused on the dog.

Is Princess Anne ...

... making the "loser" gesture?

July 27, 2012

The East Coast

Martha's Vineyard, July 1963. We've reached Martha's Vineyard, and the view is astonishing.

Project Ready

Suburban Chicago, Winter 1965. I'm getting organized again at my play table in the Rec Room. My colored pencils are in place for drawing, and there is a container of Elmer's Glue on hand. Lamb Chop awaits the next game, and my toy clarinet is ready for the another duet.

Full-Service Station

Ontario, Canada, July 1957. My Parents are on their way to another Canadian vacation. They wait for a gas-station attendant to check the Ford Customline's oil.

Scouts come in all sizes.

Near Schweinfurt, Germany, Summer 1948. Lithuanian boy scouts from the Displaced Persons camp gather for a meeting before they head off to the National Scouting Jamboree in Isarhorn.

Way Back When

Suburban Chicago, January 1977. Mr. Irene and I were buddies for many years before our thoughts turned to romance. Although we grew up in the same neighborhood, we didn't meet until we were teens. Then, we both attended a meeting to create a suburban, Lithuanian folk-dance group. Later, we coincidentally attended the same university. This is the first photo that we have of the two of us. My shirt was sewn from Quiana fabric.

July 26, 2012

First-Fair-Isle Reunion

Madison, Wisconsin, Autumn 2002. This was my first fair-isle project. It featured nine colors, and I worked it as a vest for Mr. Irene. The buttons look like miniature yarn balls.

UDPATE: Here is a photo of the unknitted skeins. (Photo by She Ewe Knits.)


Melrose Park, Illinois, June 1964. I celebrate my graduation from Kindergarten by taking a spin on my favorite Kiddieland ride.


Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 1964. Kadis, the husband of my Dad's twin sister, Jonė, fishes in a public park.


The annual fashion show, the "Madų Paroda," was a celebrated event in the Lithuanian community. My Mom and her best friend, Donna, attended the show every year. The show was a stylish event, and it took place at the Lietuvių Jaunimo Centras, or "Lithuanian Youth Center,"on a Saturday night. Women sat at long tables, and, during the intermission, they ate a family-style meal of Lithuanian foods, namely sausages and sauerkraut, boiled potatoes, kugelis, a lingonberry crumble cake, and Napoleonas. The room smelled like hairspray and cigarette smoke.

All garments featured at the Madų Paroda were handmade. Women submitted their items to a committee that juried the selections for the show. We were thrilled when a few suits that my Mom had knitted made it onto the runway.

The catwalk models were Lithuanian women; most were former Displaced Persons. They were among the most elegant in the community: they had perfect figures, and most had "Baltic blonde" hair and frosted nails. When not fashioned for the show, the stylish women usually wore a lot of black clothing, accented by bulky amber jewelry. If you grew up in the Lithuanian community, then I'm sure you can picture this 1960s standard of ethnic beauty.

Gage Park, Chicago, about 1963. A woman, serving coffee, stands between my Mom and Donna. Mom and Donna have secured a great table, right next to the catwalk. (Photo by V. Noreika.)

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Gage Park, Chicago, about 1963. There's a lot going on here! (Photo by V. Noreika.)

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Suburban Chicago, 1972. It's my first Madų Paroda, and Mom and I have sewed matching dresses.


"Šaltibarščiai" is the Lithuanian word for "Cold Beet Soup." We never call it "Borscht." A bowl of Šaltibarščiai is a real summer treat. Here's our family recipe:

3 cups buttermilk (I use 2 cups buttermilk and 1 cup Tzatziki. Some people use kefir.)
8 ounces (1 cup) sour cream, stirred
3/4 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoning Salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper (McCormick "Grill Mates" Montreal Seasoning)
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
One pound cooked beets, peeled or one 16 ounce can whole, small beets, drained (reserve liquid)*
8 ounces cucumber, preferably seedless, peeled
4 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1/2 cup freshly scallions, white and green parts (3 to 4 scallions)
1/4 cup fresh dill weed, minced (measures 1/2 cup, loosely packed, before mincing)
1/2 to 3/4 cup reserved beet liquid
additional fresh dill weed, minced
hot boiled potatoes

In a large (3- to 4-quart) serving bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, Tzatziki (if using), sour cream, salt and pepper, horseradish, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and sugar. Blend well to combine.

In the workbowl of a food processor, with the shredding disk in place, shred the drained beets and peeled cucumber. Transfer to the serving bowl.

Insert the metal blade into the workbowl of the food processor. Add the hard-boiled eggs, scallions, and dill weed. Process, using on/off turns, until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Add to the serving bowl with the beets and cucumbers.

If mixture seems thick, add some of the reserved beet liquid. (How "thick" the soup should be is a personal preference. I come from the school of thick soup, so I rarely add more than 1/2 cup.) Chill at least 4 hours before serving.

To serve, garnish soup with fresh dill sprigs. Serve with a boiled potato on the side, topped with the fresh dill.

Makes 10 cups.

*It's summer, and it's hot. Why heat up the kitchen by boiling or roasting fresh beets? Canned beets work perfectly in this recipe.

UPDATE: My Toronto Cousin sends this image of a bowl of pink Šaltibarščiai, served with a side of boiled potatoes, in a Lithuanian café:

July 25, 2012


Verona, Wisconsin, August 2011. Poppy (the Puppy) was quite small when she came to live with us. Great-uncle Rex towers over her.


Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1965. Čipūlis, the chipmunk we'd been feeding near our rental cottage, springs into action.

Related by Marriage: Apple Orchard

Near Goodman, Wisconsin, about 1938 or 1939. Mr. Irene's Mom and her family check out the apple trees on Cousin O's farm. Seated on the lawn is Mr. Irene's maternal Grandmother, Anna. Standing, from left to right, are Mr. Irene's maternal Grandfather, Stanley, Cousin O, Mr. Irene's Mom, Mr. Irene's maternal Aunt, Martha, and Cousin O's daughter.

Summer Steps

Kaunas, Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic, about 1965. My Dad's older cousin, Henry, stands with his wife, Suzanne, their Daughter, Kaunas Nina, and their Granddaughter, Kaunas Cousin.


Erlangen, Germany, 1946. My Mom and her medical-school roommate explore the Palmsanlage, a park near Erlangen's University Clinics. Decorating with indoor palms was very fashionable in the early part of the twentieth century. But I had never before seen palms used so extensively outdoors in a northern climate.

July 24, 2012

Air Show

Michigan (?), Summer 1961. On our way home from a vacation at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we stopped at an air show that featured exhibits about the U.S. Air Force, Cold-War defense, and space exploration. 1961 was a big year for "space" things, and I got my fill of rockets, jets, and missiles.

What's on your mind?

Suburban Chicago, December 1963. I'm watching television again, but I seem preoccupied.

Raising the Flag

Schweinfurt, Germany, 1948. Lithuanian girl scouts raise the flag that identifies the nationality of the Displaced Persons living in the Schweinfurt DP camp. My Dad is the fellow standing on the far left, wearing the lighter-colored shirt.

Watch your step.

Near Parry Sound, Canada, August 1959. After the rattlesnake incident, my Mom and her friends take measures to protect themselves on their next hike.

Swatches, in Three Takes

Here are three swatches I knitted based on the principles I learned at Janine Bajus's Three-Day Design Your Own Fair Isle Workshop.

The design of each is the same; only the colors differ.

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Verona, Wisconsin, July 2012. Do you have a favorite?

July 23, 2012

The view from around the bend.

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1972. We're moving forward along the Gunsight Pass trail on our way to Sperry Park Chalet.

Air Guitar

Suburban Chicago, February 1965. I have some fun with my Dad, who's determined to catch me in my candid moments.

Related by Marriage: California Garden

Los Angeles, California, 1955. Ignas sent this photo of himself and his wife, Ellie, to his brother, Mr. Irene's Dad. On the back of the photo, Ignas wrote, "From one brother to another."

Friendship Bridge

Near Kaunas, Lithuania, June 15, 1940. My Dad—the fellow with the eye glasses—joins his friends on a bridge overlooking the Nemunas River. The notes to the photo state that the friends made this outing to the river on a Saturday afternoon. This photo was taken at about the time my Dad graduated from Aušros Gimnazija.

Sentimental Value

A friend popped in for a lovely visit yesterday. In the course of reviewing some of the old photos I have scanned for this blog, we stumbled upon the original snapshot of the 1936 Kaunas flood. My Dad had described that flood earnestly to his Father, Vytautas, who was traveling in Belgium, in a note that filled the back of the photo.

Vytautas's trip to Belgium loomed large in our family's history. Perhaps in the mid-1930s, people considered a trip from Lithuania to Belgium a big expedition. I suppose for people who lived in a country that was the size of West Virginia, a journey that took longer than a few hours was significant. My Mom, for example, remembers packing lunches, blankets, and other "long distance" supplies for the train trip from Mom's hometown of Kaunas to Mariampolis, where her maternal Grandparents lived. Those two Lithuanian cities stand about one hundred kilometers apart.

Alternatively, maybe the Belgian trip glowed in everyone's memory because it represented a significant milestone in Vytautas's career. Vytautas, who was an officer in the Lithuanian Army, traveled to Belgium to purchase supplies for the Army. (I've wondered why Vytautas was not in uniform when he traveled to Belgium.)

Just as I'd been thinking about that Belgian trip again, my Toronto Cousin last night coincidentally sent me a photograph of the souvenir brass bell that Vytautas brought from Bruges in 1936 as a gift for his wife, my paternal Grandmother Tatjana.

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, July 2012. The brassy gal from Bruges has stayed shiny.

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

July 22, 2012

Sleepy Poodle Reunion

Verona, Wisconsin, December 2007. Baci doesn't even look up when we take his picture.

Fuzzina traveled, too.

Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, July 1967. Dad's checking out the view again, and I've brought Fuzzina along for the sight-seeing trip.