"My father is from Lithuania. he came to the US after WW2." This is my standard response for as long as I can remember when asked about my father's heavy accent or why he was so much older than my friends' fathers or why our refrigerator was so well stocked with strange foods like black bread, pickled herring, and borscht.
Lithuania was always present in my life through my father and defined our family, even when my sisters and I interpreted the narrative of Lithuania in completely different ways.
Visiting the real country smacks the mythical lithuania of my mind into a wider arena. It is an emotional journey. I hope to capture some of that process here. To be in Lithuania with a group of people who are both strangers to me and share a common Litvak history is proving to be a very useful way to process our extremely sad shared history. My hope is the blogging process will also be part of shaping my journey and so I have a request of you, reader : Please feel free to comment. Please ask questions, I don't know where the story of this Lithuanian journey is going exactly, and could use help. Today's visit to the killing pits in Vilnius is just a warmup for what is likely to be one of the most emotional days of my life, facing the pit in Keidan where my maternal grandmother was shot and killed about 70 years ago. It was the event that most clouded my family's history. I will see where it happened in a few days.