It's in my blood... a heritage I long to know, family in another country I have never met in person, their my people. My heart is full when I think of my Grandparents life in Latvia. They prospered on farms, lived fairly well, was hit with war, separation and broken hearts. My grandparents met in a displacement camp in Germany. My Grandfather was a soldier, my Grandma a stage actress. It wasn't love at first sight for Grams..Until my persistent Grampa sent her letters and kept calling on her. Eventually they fell in love, got married and expected their first child in 1950. They got on a boat bound for America, gave birth to my mother and lived in Seattle, Washington for many years. They had not seen their home for years even before coming to America. My Grampa left for the war at age 18 and never set eyes on his family again. He past away 17 years ago, never having the chance to go back home and hold his siblings in his arms once more. Through pure blessing his son was the first to go back in his honor and went again a second time. My Mother also went back for her second visit just this Summer. My sister also. How wonderful to see our family from afar and touch our heritage. They each came back saying it was truly like home. Though I have not had the opportunity to go back, I cherish my heritage very much. I have collected many items from the old world... which remind me of the family I have there. As I long to see them someday.
While we lived in Washington for 11 years.. I was able to get in touch with a Latvian group that my Grandparents were once a part of when my mother was young. My sister remembers it too. This group would have a bazaar once a year and sell their handmade, baked, items from the hands of young and older Latvians who came from abroad so many years ago.Much of the items were brought back from Latvia to sell. They, to this day keep their arts alive through beautiful pottery, linens, silver, jewelry , amber, stitchery and foods. And every year we would go and visit, buy some pottery or linen and eat. There were a few older Latvians that remember very well, my Grandparents. It was as close as I could get to my heritage every year...Every November we saved n extra bit of money just for the affair
. I miss that now that we are in California.
It has also been so nice to be given gifts from our family. I have received a couple really sweet pieces of table linen and pottery which I adore.
After my sister returned home from her trip she gifted us with some lovely tea, handmade egg cups, a little bit of this and that and a Babushka doll from Russia. ( Since I collect those too)
My mom brought back handmade soap, candy, perfume, amber cross necklaces, some animal pottery whistles, a wooden whistle, a lovely linen table topper (in picture above doll)), this sweet lil folk art peg doll in this picture....
She also brought me these two pottery pieces in the pictures above...Each say "Ligo" which means happy sort of celebration. My Gramma had a hard time explaining for the word was more like an action. I love my newest pieces so very much. My Mom also bought me a beautiful silver ring which I will share...Now I have four Latvian rings. The next few pictures are pieces I bought years ago from the Latvian Bazaar.
These are just a few of the delights I have...Each animal you see above is a pottery whistle. An old Latvian lady would bring them every year to the bazaar...where I fell in love with them. Each year I bought one or two. My first was the Caterpillar in the background. Each one really whistles. The rooster in the picture above is also a whistle. My mom was so excited when she was out shopping, she found a couple in a little shop and brought them home. They are not pictured here...I will have to make another post with my other pieces so you can see them.
I was blessed this last year to learn a couple recipes from my Gramma. She remembers just how her Gramma cooked and baked. I made pierogies...which is a little roll filled with onion and bacon & Frikadelu Zupa which is this Latvian soup ( meatball soup) above...This is a favorite in my home. I just know if I had the chance to visit our homeland, I wouldn't want to return. For the first time this Summer my Grandfathers eldest sister Zelma was able to skype with me for a brief moment...she cried out my Grandfather's name, Edgar, when she saw me on the screen...and wept...For she thought I looked like her brother when he was young. It was a very emotional time...one I will forever keep in my heart. She is quite old now...someday I wish to hold her in my arms and kiss her and just tell her how much I love her.