Cheryl was my high school classmate as well as my Oberlin classmate. We had lost touch over the years. I was shocked and saddened to learn here of her passing.
Upon graduation from Oberlin, I began a career as a mathematical statistician with the U.S. Postal Service. On a trip to the Soviet Union in 1973, I met the love of my life, Angele Kraujelyte, in Vilnius, Lithuania. We were married in Vilnius in October of 1974. This was not done without great difficulty. We overcame all of the legal and administrative hurdles placed in the way of our marriage, only to find that Angele would not be allowed to leave the Soviet Union. After a lot of lobbying by me and my parents to galvenize the U.S. State Department to pressure the Soviet government, she was finally granted permission (exit visa) to emigrate from the USSR to the U.S. in November of 1975.
We have lived together since 1975 and raised three children. Tragically, our son Mykolas died in 2006 at the age of 26. I earned a Masters Degree in mathematical statistics from George Washington University in 1983. My most interesting assignment at the Postal Service was my last. I joined a delegation of colleagues who represented the U.S. Postal Service at the Universal Postal Union in Berne, Switzerland over a period of six years. Modeled structurally like the United Nations, the UPU establishes all of the rules/protocols governing the exchange of mail between the Posts of all member countries. At the heart of these agreements is a somewhat labyrinthine system of financial arrangements by which each country’s post reimburses every other post for delivering the mail which that country sends it. Because the measurement system supporting these reimbursements relies on the statistical sampling of mail, each post’s delegation typically includes someone who can claim to know something about statistics, and I filled that role for the U.S. Postal Service.
I retired in 2010. Angele was and is very proud of the fact that Lithuania was the first Soviet “Republic” to declare its independence from the USSR, in March, 1990. Now a dual citizen of the U.S. and Lithuania, she continues to work at the State Department Foreign Service Institute as a language instructor. While not fluent in Lithuanian, I can get by. However, our two daughters are fluent. This happened because from the day they were born to the present day, Angele has spoken to them exclusively in Lithuanian. And now our daughter Natalija is doing exactly the same with her two children. Kids will become bilingual before they grasp the very abstract concept of what a language is.
We are extremely lucky that both of our daughters live very near to us. Housing is extremely expensive in D.C.’s Northern Virginia suburbs, so Angele and I helped them out financially with their home purchases, and these thinly veiled bribes had the desired effect of keeping them close. Life is good!