Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Letters From Latvia - Nica 12 July 1947

Janis CIRKSIS was a displaced person (DP) after the Soviet union annexed Latvia and the Baltic states during WWII. This is a continuation in the series of letters that he received from his homeland, translated into English. To see the other letters in the series click HERE.

In this, the third letter in what promises to be quite a long series of posts Katrine talks about the home land. The culture, the festivals but significantly, the land itself. It is quite clear that the family has a strong connection with the land and nature, something that has been somewhat lost in modern times. I am reminded that the indigenous Australians believed that the land owned them (as apposed to people owning the land). I imagine that this belief would not have been totally foreign to Latvians up until the 1950s.

A sincere greeting from your homeland to you, Janis, in foreign parts!
Thank you so much, dear brother, for your good wishes  on my confirmation day, at which time we were apart, but in our thoughts we were together. Also for the Whitsunday greeting from the whole of what is now your family the most sincere thanks from us all.
In your few lines you again sent us happy news.
We wrote our last letter after Jani, and now after cleaning the house, I have a quiet moment in which my thoughts again fly to you, your life partner and her son, who are now your most real and best friends and with whom you can perhaps find  the homeliness of family in a strange place, so that your life is easier until you return to your homeland. We know that you are able to live a more or less satisfactory life, it is good that that is so and you are safe and well, but still that is not real life, in a foreign place, without your real home, without your homeland, and the road that in your thoughts will lead you back to the dear land of your childhood.   The only land in which you can be at home, and like an unmovable tree, which does not have to submit to the fury of winds, but which can grow and flourish and bring blessings to itself and humanity. You are not here in our midst, and yet you exist, live, work and fill your life with something until you can at last be in your real place, in your land. May God grant that your life there does not seem too empty and painful and that it actually is not so. May you as a living person be able to live a humane life and may you keep in health and strength and joy of living and faith in life. The only good thing that we can do for you is to fervently wish you this and to believe that it could be so. The day will come when after a long time of separation and absence, you will come home again, but when we meet we will not be the same as we were when we parted. We will have experienced and been through a lot and learned a lot and we will look at one another as If we had become strange and unfamiliar to each other but then we will be able celebrate your return and the beginning of a new, permanent life in which we will again feel like loving members of one family. I have no objection to you bringing back your wife and stepson, we will get to know each other and they will be like family too. If that is the happiness of your life and good fortune, if it cannot be otherwise in your wishes. Mum also says “I am happy as long as he is alive and well and comes home, even if like this.”
Katrine's CIRKSIS in her confirmation dress. 
Hay cutting time has started here now, we have already brought in some loads, the rest has been (?) and a bit still has to be mown. With the machines to cut and collect the hay we can manage easily. We are also all in good health. A hive of bees has settled in our big linden tree, today father carved out a hollow under it and cleared it out, to make more room for the bees and so we can reach to collect the honey in time. Next year, when the bees swarm, then the swarm can be caught into a beehive. So we have acquired bees, like a gift from God. Mum is in Liepaja today. She will bring back a new suit-dress for me, which will have been made for me. We wove the material ourselves in the winter. (PS I am enclosing photos of my confirmation)

Tomorrow Janis Reinis will be wed to Anna Lusens of Halva (?), and Alvina Ratnieks, who was at the Rutins’, to Fran(?) Pelnics. So life is shaped and rolls on. – Anna Kuskis has given the world another little boy – Janis, who was born right on Janu day. Tomorrow I am going to the pharmacist’s (female) sister’s confirmation, she has finished high school this year, will be confirmed in Liepaja and then will come here, to her sister’s, with her guests to celebrate.  I have started to attend the church choir. We will go to Ventspils at the end of July to sing, we have been to  Irvite (?)   But after that I won’t go any more. Half a day gone every Sunday. Enough. – So I am chattering on here all sorts of little bits and pieces, that make up our daily life, our life. Maybe they are for you sounds from your homeland. So I don’t want to limit myself and am relating everything. Last Sunday a group from Barta performed  their  oldtime christening  enactment  which won a prize in Riga in the amateur performance show. Also berry season will start soon. My new plots are yielding a bit already as well. A few raspberries are turning red, the cherries are pale red, and the currants too. We will conserve all the berries, while waiting for you to come home. We will be making wine too, for medicinal purposes. Well, my dear though distant, but so close brother, loving, sincere greetings from mum, dad, grandma and me to you all!  Kate 

If you like reading these letters, or if you know any of the people mentioned in them, why not post a comment below? Or you can message me on twitter @cirksis or Google +. 

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