Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Lunch at Lithuanian House 1976

This article was written by Brone Mockuniene in July 1976 for Mūsų Pastogė.  Times have brought changes to the community lunches and the function of Lithuanian house, but here is how it was seen by those who built it.

A typical Sunday at Lithuanian House.  Cars drive slowly looking for a park.  Adelaidians after Sunday mass at St Casimir travel to Lithuanian House for lunch.  Today Vilniaus scout troop have prepared lunch.  Some arrive for lunch with the whole family, while others may bring Australian friends to try cepeliniai.  By the kitchen door a table stands with various cakes, all homemade.   Bagels, žagarelių and honey cake are brought to try and to take home.   Another table is piled with bottles, prizes for the lottery.  Adelaidians have generous hearts and happily open their wallets to buy lottery tickets, which is drawn at the end of lunch.  “One needs to support the scouts for their national camp” said one to a neighbour.
The scouts are happy with their takings, rubbing their hands together saying “Lunch was good”.  After lunch some may move into the bar to drink a glass of beer, others to the Library to see any new additions or to purchase a record, others may go and play billiards.  The youth have moved outside to play basketball.  Another may venture to Talka for some finance transactions, or view the Archives and museum.  Those at Lithuanian house are in little Lithuania.  What would one do if we didn’t have Lithuanian House? Our lives would be uninteresting and awkward.  Can you remember the time when Adelaide did not have a Lithuanian House, or Catholic centre, nor our own church.  We prayed at St Joseph church while Father Jatulis kept an eye on the clock so as to not run overtime, because the Poles were behind the door waiting for their time slot. We gathered for national dancing in numerous premises.  It is incredible that only five years after arriving in Australia, Adelaide already had a house committee established.  For several years they studied what would be the best way to buy a premises.  It was decided that a non profit organisation ‘Lietuviu Sajunga’ (Lithuanian Union) aimed as a legal entity would acquire and dispose of immovable and other assets.  The first committee consisted of President V Raginis, Vice President J Kalvaitis, Secretary J Pyragius and treasurer A Šliuzas.

Lithuanian House is where our children learn Lithuanian, dance national dances, play basketball.  How many weddings were held here, concerts, various meetings?