Real Men Knit


“These beige dresser scarves were crocheted by my father Antanas Saltanis who was, born in 1899, emigrated from Lithuania to Canada in 1926 as a laborer and became a Canadian citizen. He lived and worked in New York for a while where he met my mother, then he returned to Montreal, hopefully temporarily, to help his sister with a family matter. Due to misunderstanding about border crossing he was never able to immigrate to the US and lived mostly in Montreal till his death in 1984. He was the youngest of 6 and lived with his 4 sisters in Lithuania after his mother died in his early childhood. They taught him to knit, crochet and other traditional crafts. He taught my mother to knit and together they knit this afghan of squares, which she, the seamstress, assembled and he crocheted the border for, in their later years together about 1970. 

My mother, Marie Gribas was born in 1914 in Brooklyn NY to newly emigrated Lithuanians. When her mother died in 1919, her father, a stableman, returned to Lithuania with both his daughters and remarried. My mother was brought back to Brooklyn from the poverty of rural Lithuania by relatives when she was 17, in 1931. As she didn’t speak English, she was treated as an immigrant. Her sister followed shortly. After meeting my Lithuanian father Antanas Saltanis in NY, she married him in Canada in 1936 as he had left NY for an expected limited time to take care of a matter with his sister in Canada and was never able to legally return. She returned to the US right after the Canadian wedding trying to legally help him to immigrate here but after 6 years gave up and joined him in Canada. He remained there till his death. Both my sister and I emigrated to the US from Canada in the late 60’s and my mother returned to the US to live near her sister in Florida in the mid 80’s and eventually near her daughters in the 90’s in California where she died in 2005. “

Anita Saltanis, March 26, 2019.

Cindy Weil