Here's her blog, Amber Reunion, which begins here, on September 16, 2011:
Atlantic Ocean, June 1949. This is where everything began. These happy folks are my parents, as immigrants, aboard the "General W.M. Black," the vessel that transported them to the United States. They were Displaced Persons from Lithuania, and they had lived since the end of World War II in the American-occupied zone of Germany.It's full of "family photos dating back to the 1860s": "Tambov, Russia, 1912. This is my paternal Grandmother, Tatjana. Tatjana was about sixteen when she posed for this photo. I love the shoes!"/"Soviet Union, 1940. The is my paternal Grandmother's mother, Nina. After the Russian Revolution and the execution of her husband, Pavel, Nina continued to live in the Soviet Union. Nina's expression, the way she holds the wildflowers, her hat, and her ill-fitting stockings speak to me."/"In the 1930s, my Mom's maternal aunt, Dora, adopted the glamorous look that came into fashion on the eve of World War II. Think Marlene Dietrich with auburn hair. The first stories I heard about Dora pivot on her forward-looking viewpoint. More provincially wired people found her views and behaviors scandalous. Others recognized that Dora simply was born about sixty years too early."
The ship sailed from Bremerhaven. My Mom was shocked by how small it was. Men and women slept in separate quarters, and everyone ate oatmeal. Most of the passengers got sick during the trip. My parents had never felt better.
There are many stories and photographs of growing up in Chicago in the 1960s — like: "When I was growing up, I learned about holiday customs. Lithuanians, for example, celebrate Christmas on the night of Christmas Eve ("Kūčios")":
The Kūčios meal consists of twelve meatless dishes, one to represent each of the Apostles. All of the foods are cold dishes so that the hostess does not have to cook on such a solemn day. On Christmas Eve, we primarily eat vegetable salads, gefilte fish, and marinated herrings. Lots of herring: herring is served at least four ways.There's mindbogglingly intricate knitting. (Sometimes that knitting came to me and you saw it on this blog — like here.)
Enforcement of these traditions is inflexible. During one memorable Christmas Eve, we had a guest who did not eat fish. Cold fish therefore was out of the question. My Mom roasted and served a duck. My Dad spit bullets about the breach of Kūčios protocol. Even now, over thirty years later, my Mom usually says on Kūčios, "Do you remember when I roasted a duck on Kūčios?!!" as if that were a really screwball, Lucille Ball-like, thing to do.
And there were many vignettes involving poodles. (Sometimes those poodles made it onto my blog, like here and here.)
What a great life she lived! How lucky we were to have known her!