One slightly weary nutcracker; one Lithuanian clog with amber stud; one carving of San Francesco d’Assisi taming the wolf; all wooden.

I think of him as the Prussian officer, a childhood gift from my German cousins, his jaws were never strong enough to crack more than a walnut.

Now he reminds me of the grandfather I never knew, the father my mother never knew – he died when she was seven months old – Johannes Michel UIGSCHIES or Uigšys in Lithuanian. My grandmother was born the same year as his daughter by his first marriage. He must have had something 😉

Opa Uigschies

The clog with amber stud is an early and relatively refined example of Lithuanian folk art.

The statue of St Francis was bought in 2010 in Assisi. I prefer to believe that I was named after him rather than the truth, which is that I was named for Francis Xavier Cabrini.

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carved Polynesian (or possibly Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai, African??) lamp base

Once sported a pagoda shaped China-yellow lampshade, long since destroyed. Now sporting a 50s lacquer-red lampshade rescued from my parents’ home.

Those with long memories may be reminded of the good old bookstore days…

 

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cute kid (baby goat)

received in hospital on the occasion of my tonsillectomy for being “such a brave girl” and because no ice-cream was forthcoming…

Adults lie, I discovered. I must have been about 8 years old.

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two koi

carved from wood and coveted since childhood

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The Australian Gemmologist, Autumn Number, May 1973, Vol 11 #10, Serial No. 97

Aust Gemmologist copy

With an article starting on page 3 by Elza R. Sasnaitis, ‘Amber, the Gold of the North’, based on a talk she gave to the Victorian Branch of the GAA, thus the somewhat conversational and anomalous style of the article. Pdf below.

Aust Gemmologist-Amber by ER Sasnaitis

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slightly bruised set of nesting dolls

We called them Babushkas but they seem to be more commonly known as Matryoshka dolls these days. The USSR stamp is still legible on the bottom of the ‘mama’ doll.


Though I played with them a lot, and delighted in correctly matching the top to bottom details of each of Babushka’s ‘daughters’, apparently they did not make it into my special outdoor classroom. Pictured from left to right: Snowy, Baby Johnny, Rose-marie (she had exchangeable heads with either pink or brown hair!!), Angela, golliwog, Teddy and several unknowns (or sadly forgotten).

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The Fabulous Lido!

fabulous Lido

Photographer’s souvenir folder (1966) containing appropriately wine-stained  photograph of three ladies – Granny Hermine, Jurate and Mama Elza – enjoying dinner and a show (meaning SHOWGIRLS!!! in spangles, flounces, feathers and towering headdresses).

Lido 1966

We might have seen Blue Magic (thanks Jonathan Bollen for the following description and terrific research):

“A Revue in the Continental Style – Programme – Bounjour Paris, a gay fantasy with all the joie de vivre of the city of light, interpreted by Irene Bevans, Buster Skegges, Noel Hanlen, Paul Gavin, Miss Lido, and the Fabulous Lido Girls – Ken Littlewood and Toshi, aristocrats of magic, from the Mikado Theatre Restaurant, Tokyo – Polynesian Mood, echoes from the pacific isles, blue lagoon, native dances, sunswept beaches, palm trees swaying in the breeze, with Buster Skegges, Danse Primitive. Irene Bevans, Noel Hanlen, Paul Gavin, Miss Lido and the Lido Dancers and Showgirls – English comedy: Boby Dennis, England’s master of mirth from TV’s Jimmy Hannan Show and the Prince of Wales Theatre, London or Johnny Lockwood, Australia’s favourite English funster. Star of TV’s Sunnyside Up from HSV7 and original West End production of Oliver – Nuit Exotique, Finale featuring Miss Lido and the fabulous Lido Girls, with the entire company in the elaborate extravaganza presentation.”

I was 8 years old. Wow! Lucky or what!?!

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