February 28, 2013

A Favorite Destination

Glacier National Park, Montana, July 1966. A hike to Iceberg Lake is always a joy.

With Baba in the Backyard

Suburban Chicago, June 1963. We called my paternal Grandmother "Baba." I don't think I mentioned that earlier. In this image, she and I stand next to the backyard steps that led up to the kitchen door. When Tatjana removed an apple pie from the oven, she placed it on the top handrail of the steps. The pies were not remarkable (she used packaged crusts, and she sometimes underbaked pies), but I have a fresh memory of a warm pie cooling off outside the kitchen door.

Related by Marriage: A Second Arrival

Postwar Germany, March 11, 1949. This is Ignas, Mr. Irene's paternal Uncle, shortly before Ignas emigrated to the United States. Ignas wrote a summary of this period:
On June 18, 1949, I arrived in Chicago. My brother [Mr. Irene's Dad] had already arrived one week before me. We were very warmly welcomed and received by [our sponsor's] family. ...
The following week I got a job at a carpet warehouse. I could read and write in English, but could not pronounce the words. It was almost a month before I could have a decent conversation with coworkers. The work was interesting, but I had to learn how to lift heavy objects. In the fall I began going to night school at Inglewood High School to learn English. During this same time the Lithuanian organization “Ateitis” was re-established in Chicago. We even started a Lithuanian folk dance group.


Lake Simcoe, Ontario, Canada, Summer 1957. Toronto Al waves from the top of a steep slide. He did this long before people thought to put helmets on children's heads.

Thanks to Toronto Al for making this photo available to us.

February 27, 2013

Towering Trees

Downers Grove, Illinois, February 1962. The spruces dwarf me and my friend.

National Treasures

Lithuania has plans for saving native breeds.

Related by Marriage: Pocket Square

Lithuania, about 1939 or 1940. This is Mr. Irene's Great Aunt, Danutė. Danutė is the woman who pickled and canned wild mushrooms.

Local Interest

Madison, Wisconsin's Lithuanian community makes the news.

People used to ask me, too, whether I was a "Lutheran."

Madison is a "Sister City" to Lithuania's capital, Vilnius.

Anticipating the start of a new season.

Camp Aušra (later Camp Kretinga), Wasaga Beach, Ontario, Canada, Summer 1959. Participants get reay for another season at the Lithuanian summer camp. Erection of a traditional wooden cross is an old custom.

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

February 26, 2013

Spring begins in less than three weeks.

Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, February 1964. There's magic under the snowfall.

Spring Hike

Door County, Wisconsin, March 1976. My Mom—in the center—takes an early spring walk with her best friend, Donna, and Donna's husband, Vytenis.

Modeling in the remodeled space.

Suburban Chicago, April 1962. After my Parents remodeled the Rec Room, Dad took several posed photographs of us enjoying the spruced-up space.

My Dad was an elegant dresser. Clothes hung beautifully on his lean frame—at his heaviest, Dad wore a size 30-inch pant waist. I remember Dad often looking like this, relaxing in his "stay-at-home clothes." He often, of course, wore a wool vest that Mom had knitted for him.


Near Geneva, Illinois, June 1967. Women from our Lithuanian community grill during an annual picnic. The woman on the left—walking away from the group—is my Mom's best friend, Donna.

February 25, 2013


Mesa Verde National Park, July 1967. The trees at the park have complicated histories.

A New, Knitted Suit

Suburban Chicago, Autumn 1968. I'm in the Rec Room, modeling another suit Mom knitted for me. She used turquoise wool for this one. I used to roll up the elastic waistband as a way to shorten the hemline. That's probably why the hem is not even.

Related by Marriage: Work at the canine security unit is finished.

Kaiserslautern, Germany, September 1948. By now, I've posted most of the extant photos from the interval when Mr. Irene's Dad worked in the canine security unit. Here's a last image from that era.

Family Physician

Kaunas, Lithuania, 1922. This fellow—a friend of Ron's family—was a physician.

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

February 24, 2013

The Finest Drawing Room

Venice, Italy, June 1989. The subject of Napoleon Bonaparte first arose on this blog because of his connection to Lithuania. When I look at this photo, I recall Napoleon's impact on Venice. Napoleon called the Piazza San Marco "the most beautiful drawing room in Europe," and I imagine Napoleon had a view similar to this one when he made that observation.

Student Hourly

Evanston, Illinois, Autumn 1979. Beginning in my sophomore year of college, I worked at the Student Health Service as a switchboard operator. When classes were in session, I usually operated the board for 15 hours per week. On weekends, I often took the second shift from 3:00 to 11:00 pm. It was a good job because the phone didn't ring that often, and I could do some homework while I sat at the console.

The console was very old school—even back then—with its rotary dial, heavy headset, and live plugs. When connecting a call, I had to toggle the plugs to make sure no one was already talking on the line. Breaking into a call was a bad thing.

More Rounds

Suburban Chicago, Autumn 1962. Mom heads out for another set of Sunday rounds at the hospitals. (For earlier "rounds" shots, see here, here, here, here, and here.)

I don't see the joke.

Brooklyn, New York, 1954. My maternal Grandfather, Jake, engages in some mischief for his card-playing friends, but I am not sure what could have sparked this humorous moment.

February 23, 2013

Things are still wintery.

Thatcher Woods Forest Preserve, Suburban Chicago, February 1964. But the lengthening days tell us spring is around the corner.

Life Jacket

Lac du Flambeau, Wisconsin, July 1962. Is Mom planning to rely on that pillow flotation device if we get in trouble?

Saturday Errands

Suburban Chicago, April 1961. Mom pulls out of the driveway in her beloved "Swan."

Related by Marriage: German Beer

West Germany, early 1950s. Here's a Lithuanian friend of Mr. Irene's Dad. The U.S. drafted the friend after he emigrated to the United States; he was stationed in West Germany. On the back of this photo, the friend wrote, "Here you see me with a little bottle of beer. I think you'd like to be here with me, sharing a German beer."


Here's a crocodile snow sculpture. Click on the photos to enlarge—I love the one of the doggie sitting next to the 16-meter beast.

February 22, 2013

Inspecting the tool.

Brookfield Zoo, August 1968. Dad won several competitions with this photograph. An enlargement of the image hung in our Rec Room, where it creeped out my friends.

Mohair is a magnet.

I grew up watching my Mom knit exquisite suits, sweaters, and coats. One fiber struck me as especially luxurious and exotic: mohair. I was enchanted when Mom wore a mohair sweater.

Lake Nipissing, Ontario, July 1964. Mom used red and green angora to stitch flowers onto the beige, mohair sweater. I earlier posted a few images of Mom wearing the same sweater here.

A Shielded Snowman

Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Winter 1957. Toronto Al—my Toronto Cousin's husband—has built a impressive snowman. What did he use to keep the snowman's arms outstretched?

Thanks to Toronto Al for making this photo available to us.

Fashion Forward

Lithuania, probably late 1930s or early 1940s. This is Ann, a relative of my friend Ron. I wish we wore hats today as often as people sported them way-back-when.

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

February 21, 2013

Rock Hike

Copper Falls State Park, Mellen, Wisconsin, July 1962. Dad aims for an edgy shot.

Watch your fingers.

Suburban Chicago, February 1965. My facial expression shows that I know swans can snap.

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 9)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, two friends of Mr. Irene's Dad remind Dad that they are "Two Best Buddies."

Winter Work

Beardsmore, Ontario, Canada, 1947 or 1948. This is Vladas—Toronto Al's Dad—during the time he worked in northern Ontario on a lumber contract.

Thanks to Toronto Al for making this photo available to us.

February 20, 2013


Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, Alberta, Canada, July 1970. We've crossed the border, and we're enjoying the fancier side of the park.

One verdict ...

… reached in the teddy-bear invasion case.

(Background here)

Everyone could use a lazy day.

Suburban Chicago, September 1961. I don't know what prompted Dad to take this photo. Those striped trousers lasted for about one year.

Related by Marriage: Flip Flops and Suspenders

Suburban Chicago, June 24, 1964. Mr. Irene, on the left, stands on the stoop of his home with two neighborhood boys.

Working like a beaver.

"I didn't know beavers could walk on their hind legs like that."

Thanks to my Toronto Cousin for pointing this charming clip out to me.

February 19, 2013

"Pork is a nice, sweet meat."

That's a quote from the movie "Babe." The trio of mice that constitutes the film's chorus utter that sentence between acts. Later, the trio warns of "a tragic day."

Madison, Wisconsin, March 2012. Aren't you going to finish that?

Catching Up

Brooklyn, New York, 1954. My maternal Grandfather Jokubas—on the right—reconnects with friends he knew at the Displaced Persons camp. I don't know why Jokubas's tie is not tucked into his cardigan-jacket.


"Pfui," a word of German origin, is what we said at our house to express disgust. I don't know whether my Parents incorporated it into their vocabulary when they were Displaced Persons or whether Mom learned it from the time she spent in the German-speaking part of Lithuania.

We said "pfui" often around here when the dogs were puppies.

In America we say "phooey." But "pfui" sounds stronger to me.

Morton Arboretum, Lisle, Illinois, May 1961. This is the facial expression that accompanies "pfui."

Planning Ahead

Seligenstadt, Germany, March or April 1948. This is another image taken shortly after my Parents got engaged. The woman on the far right is Angele, and the child is my Mom's goddaughter.

Latvian Displaced Persons

The Lutheran World Federation Service to Refugees preserved a treasure trove of historic images. This photo reminds me of the cultural exhibit my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, helped organize.

Thanks to commenter Peter Hoh for pointing this resource out to me.

Snake Sweater

"Milky Joe is one lucky snake."

Thanks to commenter Peter Hoh for pointing this link out to me.

February 18, 2013

Spring, in the Backyard

Suburban Chicago, Spring 1962. Dad relaxes in one of those wonderful wicker chairs we used to have on the backyard patio. My tricycle stands in the background.

She was always happy to get out of the house.

Suburban Chicago, Spring 1965. My paternal Grandmother, Tatjana, is delighted by another chance to attend a social outing.

"Mystery knitters add warm touch to Naperville statue[.]"

Public library's "Cat in the Hat" statue yarnbombed.

A Little DP

Probably Munich, Germany, about 1949. Here's my friend Ron at the Displaced Persons camp.

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

Banking Headaches

The suspension of Ukio Bankas AB is causing many problems.

February 17, 2013

Grab a Book: Campfire Edition

Samoset Lodge, Lake Nipissing, Ontario, Canada, July 1964. Mom reads a book on the porch of our rental cottage while I play near the campfire.

Sunday Butterflies

Suburban Chicago, December 1971. Gigi helps me finish my homework before I go back to school on a Monday. I'm working at my Dad's desk in the Master Bedroom.

I don't recall whether I was studying there because Dad was helping me with my homework, or whether he and Mom just were making sure I did it.

Related by Marriage: Army Buddies (Part 8)

Camp Irwin, Barstow, California, 1952. In this "Army Buddies" snapshot, a fellow tank instructor wishes Mr. Irene's Dad, "Lots of Luck."

Sunday at the Playground

Schweinfurt, Germany, 1945. Displaced Persons gather in a makeshift playground. I don't know more about the persons in or circumstances of this photo. My Dad had stored it in an envelope that he called "Voketija," or Germany—referring to snapshots from the Displaced-Persons era.

February 16, 2013

Golden-Gate Reunion

San Francisco, California, Spring 1968. My Parents visit the bridge during their trip to San Francisco.

I am ready.

Suburban Chicago, Spring 1965. The work on my first folk dress is done, and I am ready for another "Minejimas."


Suburban Chicago, January 1965. Mom puts some of the finishing touches on my first folk dress.

The Annual Commemoration

Suburban Chicago, February 1964. My Parents' friend Lily addresses the members of our suburban, Lithuanian community at the Independence Day "Minejimas." This was the same "Minejimas" at which I recited poetry.

The woman with her back to the camera—and wearing the matronly hair bun—is my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana.

Amber Google

Google.lt celebrates Lithuanian Independence Day: