Tarzier Memoirs

Part I   Old Latvia



After the opening of mass graves at Gulbene in June, 1919, I was given leave to drive home the droshka, bearing the sad cargo of Father’s remains. We went to the local chapel first, but Uncle Janis insisted that Karlis come home to his beloved farm one last time, and from there to the cemetery with all honor due the last Predelu Tarziersam. We did as Uncle Janis suggested. We placed the coffin under the arbor of sweet scented lilac Father had planted, staked, and pruned. By afternoon, a procession had gathered, neighbors, friends and relatives, even a small brass band. As the eldest son in attendance, I led the funeral procession, carrying the striped maroon and white Latvian flag. Peter carried the cross that would initially mark the grave. We slowly made our way to Murenu cemetery, past the gnarled old maple tree, across the creek, three kilometers down the road. Neighbors emerged from their houses to pay respects to a man they had either loved or resented, it didn’t matter now. The shadows of that summer day lengthened as we laid our father’s body to rest.


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