TE15 Lithuanian Honey Cake

Irena Veisaitė & Aurimas Švedas

When I arrived, Mrs. Ladigienė sat me down at the dinner table and said to her children: “This is Irena— she is now your sister and I want you to love her.” Later, Mrs. Ladigienė liked to joke that she had two daughters named Irena—a white one and a black one, because of the colour of our hair. Mrs. Ladigienė had an older maid named Agnietė working for her, who had cooked dumplings with bacon for dinner. When I sat down at the table, I noticed that Mrs. Ladigienė served me a slightly bigger portion of dumplings than she did her own children. She must have understood how hungry I was. I can’t begin to tell you what a sharp feeling of hunger I felt throughout the years of the Nazi occupation! I was deeply moved by Mrs. Ladigienė’s generosity. After dinner we sat for a long time at the table and talked—Mrs. Ladigienė’s children Marytė, Jonė, Benediktas, and I. In that home, there was a longstanding tradition that the mother, after putting all of the children to bed, would visit each one: she would kiss them on the cheek and make the sign of the cross on their forehead. I was given Linas’s bed, the bed of the son who was in Germany. When she came to my bedside, Mrs. Ladigienė also kissed me and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. I didn’t even realise it when the tears began to flow from my eyes. Mrs. Ladigienė was startled and began to ask what had so hurt or saddened me. I asked Ladiga, Linas Pranas Ladiga, and Irena Ladigaitė-Eiva; not mentioned— Benediktas Ladiga; Marija Ladigaitė-Vildžiūnienė; Joana Irena Ladigaitė.


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