Jurate's Memories

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Pipe tobacco smoke, cherry I believe, wafted in the air. And there my dad sat, writing at the dining room table, wearing boxer shorts and a t-shirt and a quietly bemused expression. Sheaves of onion skin paper and Parker Tball jotters covered the table in our home at 21120 Fairview Drive in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. And what was he writing? Not Daktaras Kripstukas Pragare since that had been written more than 20 years ago when he, my mom and brother, Algis, were refugees in Germany during and following World War II.

Psychiatric articles? Perhaps, but he had completed his studies in Chicago, Illinois ten years prior.

Possibly correspondence with the artists, students, friends and family who sought his insight, guidance and support.

I do not know but I am almost certain, that underlying all that he wrote was his remembrance of, longing for and abiding love for his Lietuva.

My dad stretched his canvases and built his frames for his numerous pastel or oil paintings. He would occasionally turn his artistic vision upon flowers and other still life, but most frequently to his remembrances of Lietuva. Its waters, its streets, its cities, its churches and architecture.

Oh, my dad, he was a handsome man - blue-eyed, blond haired, tall and slender with a rather Romanesque nose. He was quiet, listening more than speaking.

And oh the vacations that Mom and Dad took us on! Wonderful! We climbed the dunes of the Sleeping Bear and chomped on cherries in Michigan. We swam in the Atlantic off the coasts of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard and Maine. At night, tucked into our cozy cottage, we would laugh and play Karusele ir Snapsukas followed by mornings of cereal eating and comics. I delighted in the "Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries" hat that he and I shared.

But, as for most, life was not always a bowl of cherries for the Kaupas family. My dad died, tragically young, in 1964 and I have missed him ever since.

But I will always have his fairy tales, his writings, his art, his paintings and my memories.

~ Jurate Maria Kaupas