Sunday, 27 July 2014

Letters from Latvia - Nica 4th of May 1948

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.

For more information on Latvian translations please see the Latvian Translations page.

This is the 15th Letter in the series. 

Nica, 4.5.48
A loving and sincere greeting to you far away!
Our dear Janis, we received your letter on 30.2 and that was a great joy to us again, for we had not received any news from you for so long, for two and a half months. We wondered if you had moved and were not writing because of that, or if something bad had happened to you. I wrote my last letter in the middle of March and would have liked to write again in April, but I decided to wait in case your address had changed. But we were so happy again now, for on receiving your letter we knew that things are the same, and happy that you have a better job and that you can study as well and get such good experience. So that you will have been able to achieve something during the time you are away, which could be useful for the whole of the rest of your life. We are also glad that your food situation is not too difficult, which is the main thing. I myself was happy to learn that you have become a silversmith and can make nice Latvian jewellery. Those things are so nice and I have been thinking of trying to order one of those interesting brooches with dangles which we are occasionally starting to see here, but I will be patient and wait till you return home and can make one for me yourself. I would like that much more. We also rejoiced to learn that you are making your own gardens there. So you have each got something like a small farm there, your own property, which is something to hold on to in exile and while working there, it would seem like the work that you did in your homeland, at home. I hope everything grows well for you there, it would be a help with food after all and grown with your own hands. 
Are there our own Latvian children living in the kindergarten where my sister-in-law Lidija is working, or are there all sorts of children? So you each have your own employment, and your son Ilmars wants to start learning a trade. In a foreign place, where you don’t own anything, you have to study and use your abilities to provide for your existence by the work of your own hands and you are making use of every opportunity to learn something. We wish you all the greatest success from our hearts in your work and your achievements! And you have been able to celebrate Easter properly too, with painted eggs and surprise gifts for each other. -  We celebrated it well too, quietly. On the first, the Sunday, we went to church, where I am still singing in the choir and intend to continue doing so. We usually exchange gifts at each festival with our neighbours, the forester family, with whom we get on well and whose children, little Ilze and Andrejs, are both little rascals but keen students and good friends to me. I have ten or so new books, some of which are really beautiful and worthwhile. 
The real spring has started now here at home. The grass and the rye fields are bright green, so too the berry bushes and the birch tree by the barn, although the birches in the forest are still in bud only. Father has already sowed all the fields. We have only got to sow the vegetables still and plant the potatoes, and take out the manure. We are going to plant the first potatoes this afternoon. 
Mum was still weaving, mending socks, chopping up the branches of the berry bushes again, that I had sawn off in the garden. I have also planted 26 new cherry trees and 8 plum trees behind the barn at the edges of the ditches, we will be able to plant apple trees in the middle of the plots. It looks like they will all grow well, also the ones planted in the previous two springs, along the roadside and at the end of the house. Today I was hoeing the strawberries, I might be able to finish once we have planted the early potatoes. Mum and Dad are having a nap after lunch, and I am quickly writing you some little bits of news from your home. I have also already dug over the flower garden and rearranged it, I sowed the summer flowers yesterday. The bleeding hearts, tulips and peonies already have visible buds. Inside the house, on window boxes which I put outside during the day, some tomato seedlings which old Meijus brought me are growing strongly. He is still the caretaker at the school. This Whitsunday I think you graduates of the technical college had arranged to meet at the school building, which is still active, but how many of you former members will meet there? Mum ran into Murnieks’ mother in Liepaja and she asked to give you greetings from her son, who is in Narva. Do you know anything about Horsts now or not? – I am enclosing photos of mum, dad and myself, although my hair is not tidy, for I had left my comb in the pocket of my coat. I had the idea of having some photos taken, and we are sending these three newest ones, such as they are. Best wishes from us, Lidija, Ilmars, and all our love to you yourself from us all. 
PS I will write when we receive a letter from you again, but I think that could be a bit more often. Though the postman told us during a friendly chat that you write most often. They are both our own people. 
Kate

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