For more information on Latvian translations please see the Latvian Translations page.
It has been a while again since I last posted a letter. This is partially due to me exploring other avenues in relation to my family tree and partially because I have been a bit busy / lazy recently. I am on leave at the moment so I intend to cue up some of the letters to auto publish so that I am releasing them more consistently in the future.
The next letter in the series has a number of interesting features in terms of life in Latvia directly after WW2 and also on a personal level. My father used to tell me that his mother was a very hard worker and these letters confirm that. In this day and age in Australia, sawing and chopping wood is usually considered (rightly or wrongly) a man's job. Of course women are perfectly capable of doing such tasks but popular culture seems to have placed them squarely in the man's domain. For this reason it surprised me to discover that chopping firewood was actually a job reserved for my grandmother! Perhaps in those days this was common but it doesn't seem to be anymore. From now on, when (on the rare occasion) I am call upon to chop wood, I will think of my grandmother and how she would likely be doing a better job than me!
On a personal level this letter mentions several friends, relatives and neighbours. These are people that I may be able to contact in the future. Perhaps they have photos or stories about my relatives, perhaps I have photos of their relatives... Maybe one day they will Google their grand father or grandmother's name and they will find this web page. If they do I hope they will leave a comment below.
Best wishes to you, dear Janis and Lidija, on the anniversary of the beginning of your life together!!!
Your family at home.
Nica, 14.11.47A sincere greeting to you, our dear Janis!
We received your letter of 28.9 already on 1.11 and your greeting on father’s namesday a few days later. Thank you so much for the letter, your photo and father’s greeting, about which he was proud and happy. But you wrote that you have received my letter written on the 2nd September, but I didn’t write on such a day, and so I was concerned about where such a letter could have come from, and what might be written in it. But maybe I did write it and one or the other of us has mixed up the dates. I wrote on the 30th August, which you have received, before that on the 12th July, but after that only on the 17th September and from then on twice a month. We received your letter on the same day as we sent one to you. We were very happy to receive the photo, especially I. I have to say that it seems to me that you, dear brother, and your wife are very well suited to each other, even though she is older than you. If you did not have this age difference, I think there could not be a better suited couple than you two. And I can say the same about Lidija’s sister and her husband. And about Janis’ friend – in the photo the tin can in his hand suits him well, but in life you can’t replace a child like that. And so I am expressing my opinions about your whole group of friends, with whom you have been photographed. We are very, very happy to see you, even in a photo, as you look now, at present. I can truly say that you look the same as you were at home, you haven’t changed a lot, the same dear face, the features in which I see something so familiar and characteristic of the both of us, yes. Even though you don’t look unhappy, I don’t think I would be wrong to say I see a kind of pain in you… And how could it be any different in your circumstances, in your fate to be away in a foreign place? Still we are all happy that you are fed, clothed, that you can at least maintain your health, strength and energy until you return home, to the land of your birth, and that you can study something and that you have a faithful, dear friend, your wife Lidija, with whom life in a foreign place can be more bearable than it would be without her. – And you receive our letters in three weeks, that is really not so long, we usually receive yours in a month and a half, sometimes sooner. We are now sending our letters to you by airmail, I want to see how long they will take to reach you now. I was thinking I would not put flower petals in the letters any more, it might seem too sentimental to you, but now I am happy that you have felt it as it was meant. I will put in some such real “palpable” greeting from your home every time now. – We are gradually getting the outside jobs done. Father will finish the ploughing today. Mum and old Cukurs will have finished sawing and chopping the wood. The rubble of our destroyed barn has also been removed. So the yard will be tidy and the shed full of firewood. This afternoon father and I will cart and spread manure on the strawberries and raspberries, also the gooseberry beds, so the weeds don’t grow. Last Sunday and Monday we were at Mrs Pavils’ wedding, that is, Mrs Pavils, whose husband died a couple of years ago, married Klavs Aigars, the brother of the forester Mikelis Aigars, who has now been working in the forestry as a bookkeeper. In the German period he was a forester at Otanki. I don’t know if you know him but he will be a good neighbour for us. There were four couples married on Sunday, you wouldn’t know the others, and five children were christened. Our cousin Anna Zutis will be married on the 29th November to someone from Otanki. I don’t think we will all go there. But it is better to be among people. Then the gloom seems to recede, your heart feels lighter and life seems to have more sense and value. Last spring Janis Zutis got married too, to Maiga Vecvagars, who (lived?) by the Idaz pub bridge, who is also 15 years older than him. They are living in Liepaja. Our very best wishes till next time, your family.Any thoughts or suggestions? Post a comment below!