By Ed Staskus
September 8, 1980
Hallo! Isn’t this a lovely postcard? I received your package today, and I want to thank you very much! They sure were beauties! (And the beasts.) Thanks for the soap. It will take care of one zit. Try to send a few more bars.
P. S. Save this card.
October 16, 1982
Mom, Happy Sweetest Day!
December 25, 1982
Mom, May this Christmas bring you near to the Father’s heart.
August 15, 1985
Mom, Enjoy your trip! You deserve a rest and a real “city”.
Love, Sax and Vanessa
July 26, 1986
Just think, life begins today! I hope today lives up to your every expectation.
All my love, Dick
November 27, 1987
Happy Birthday Dick, and thanks for caring so much about our happiness! You’re the best father anyone could ask for! Don’t worry! We’ll still associate with you (Lucky you!)
Love, Vanessa, Saxon, and Baby
December 29, 1987
Dear Teta Tere, Thank you for the baseball cap. I like it very VERY much. I wear it about every day. Could you find a navy blue cap with a big Indian on it, size six and 3/8? I AM WAITING FOR YOU TO VISIT US.
February 29, 1988
Dick, This is just a note to say thanks. It will hardly express my gratitude for all you do. Multiply it by a million. Putting in all the hours at work to take us out to dinner, paying for school, and all our wants and needs.
Thanks again! Vanessa
May 4, 1988
Hi Terry, The phone is ringing off the hook here at the store, there is heavy metal music on the radio, it’s cold, overcast, and drizzly outside, Vanessa is cranky with hunger and bugging me to run out and get her muffins, and my brother is champing at the bit – all he babbles about are your salads in a cone. Hope you are having a wonderful time on the west coast, and happy mother’s day.
May 5, 1988
Allright, allright! You proved your point. We can’t live without…a maid. You win the “mother of the year” award unanimously! Three hands and a paw. We have your crown and broom, I mean scepter, ready and waiting for you. Happy Mother’s Day! By the way this “princess” has had enough of taking care of this kingdom.
November 27, 1988
Happy Birthday Dick! Some of it’s in your mind, and some of it isn’t.
November 27, 1988
Dick, happy birthday! Don’t you wish you still had the worries of a child? Nah! We’re still having those worries…Thanks to you!
August 26, 1989
Dear Terry: In the month of June I had the pleasure of visiting Cleveland and the Lithuanian American Citizens Club. It was there that I tasted your delicious bacon buns, just to think about them makes my mouth water. I was bold enough to ask for the recipe and you were ever so gracious and gave it to me – my misfortune is that so many unforeseen things have happened here at home that I did not have a chance to try the recipe, but I had mentioned to you, I had a recipe from Lithuania, given to me in making “PONCKOS” and promised to send you the recipe. I have tried the recipe and they are really good and easy to make.
Good cooking, Nellie Bayoras-Romanas
November 12, 1989
Hi, Just wanted to see how you were doing. May all your days be filled with sunshine!
Love, Nader, Margie, and Jahleh
November 10, 1990
Dear Teta Tere, How are you? I am fine. Thank you for the advent calendar, the cup, and the necklace. The kids in my class like the necklace and last year’s wreath. I have been doing fine in all my study’s and get all A’s. My teacher is the best yet and is very nice, too. I hope you can visit us soon.
P. S. I’m sending you two pictures of myself from Halloween 1990. I am wearing my poodle skirt.
July 26, 1991
Thanks for the surprise visit! We sure enjoyed seeing you and Dick even though it was for such a short time. Hopefully the next visit will be longer. Have a great day, talk to you soon.
Love, Bob and Matilda
July 28, 1991
Tere, It was good to see you in New York! See you next in California…Surprise us!
August 15, 1991
Happy Anniversary! Nobody ever said it was easy…but whoever said it had to be so tough! Congratulations, together you make a perfect “10”! We decided 10s a “butcher block” anniversary. Through thick and thicker! “10” in the hole. Wishing you many more years of (mom) baking and (Dick) eating.
Love, Vanessa, Ed, Saxon
December 20, 1991
Dear Aunt Terry and Uncle Dick, Thank you for the Santa place mats. We all love them. Have a Merry Christmas.
Love, Tessa and Charlie
February 6, 1992
Teta Tere, Thank you for the rabbit. Sending you flowers.
April 19, 1992
Tere, it’s a happy Easter to you.
May 10, 1992
Hope your Mother’s Day is a masterpiece!
Vanessa and Ed
May 11, 1992
Dear Aunt Terry, Thank you for the cookies. They are delicious. We enjoy them. I am going to have one in my lunch tomorrow. Thank you very much.
Love, Tessa and Charlie
P. S. The tin is gorgeos!
July 26, 1992
Terri, We were going to have a parade, or take you to Chi Chi’s where they sing and clap this goofy song on people’s birthdays, or buy you a gift certificate for bungee jumping, or name a shooting star after you, but in the end pasta at Players seemed best. Happy Birthday!
Vanessa, Saxon, and Ed
November 27, 1992
Dick, from every perspective you’re the best dad-in-law and damnest Scrabble player around. Happy birthday!
July 26, 1993
Mom, every birthday is the dawn of a new year. A year without limits, in which anything can happen. Good luck! Happy B-Day.
June 22, 1994
Terri, hope Texas is still in your plans. I’m sending you our ETA to Austin. I did not tell Audra. I’d like it to be a surprise. We are all looking forward to the trip. You and Dick need to get away, so please come!
July 11, 1994
Dear Dick and Terry, Tom and I would like to thank you so much for such a wonderful time. You were both so gracious and we appreciated all the extra effort the weekend took. We realize with your work schedules how precious your time is and you made us feel so welcome.
July 26, 1994
World’s Greatest Mom! Title Holder 27 years in a Row! Happy Mother’s day!
August 9, 1994
Hello again, Hope you enjoyed Texas as much as we did. We discovered an easier way to bring cactus home…in a jar. Meant to get this off sooner but it took awhile for the prints. I’m sending you all the pictures we took. I think since you took most of them the strap was in the way. Oh well. I’m sure Dick will enjoy them. Bob finished Lindre’s room. He painted the bottom half a sandy color. The beach scene blends in nicely. I’m still working on acquiring a Kitchen Aid blender. I loved them margaritas. Save your pennies. We must all get together again next year (Somewhere.) Take care. Hello to Dick, Saxon, and Vanessa. Hope everyone is well. Enjoy the cactus.
July 23, 1995
Dear Terry, I wanted to tell you, I still can’t believe how fantastic your tiramisu is. Tom was telling everyone in our office about your talents. Saxon is such a fine young man. You must be very proud of him. Tom and I sincerely hope that you will come to visit us. We would show you the town! Give our love to Saxon and Vanessa and thanks so much for everything. Take care and we’ll keep in touch with you.
July 26, 1995
Mom, Dance of the Firebird. Take a bow. Happy Birthday!
July 29, 1996
Dear Terry and Dick, Thank you for a wonderful evening – the food, the company, and Scrabble were the best. Don’t open a restaurant – Parello’s Cooking School would be jammed. Ordinary food takes on a new meaning with you.
November 24, 1997
Dick, Happy birthday to my dreamboat. You’re handsomer than ever, to be sure.
May 19, 1998
Terry and Dick, Thank you, thank you, thank you for the beautiful cakes. You really outdid yourself. It was the hit of the party. Thank you for coming and sharing Jessica’s special day. It meant a lot for your being there for us. We loved having you over!
Love always, Nader and Margie
June 12, 1998
Terry, Hey! We’re having a fabulous time! We totally wish you were here…Ummm…I kinda enjoyed going over Independence Pass.
June 12, 1998
Hey, having a fun time. Wish you could come this year. Mike’s (dad) the cook. You should see the food we’re supposed to eat.
June 12, 1998
Hey! I R Gud Cook.
July 1, 1998
Greetings – having a wonderful time. Staying at the sea for a week. This village is exceptionally beautiful. The sun is hot, food and wine is delicious, the sea water is cooling. Italians all around us…thinking of you.
Lindre and Ugi
July 22, 1998
Happy Birthday Terri! Remember: Success is going from failure to failure with great enthusiasm (Winston Churchill) and Life is just a bag of tricks (Felix the Cat).
September 4, 1998
Dear Terry, you bad cat! Those cookies are adorable. I tasted one and I sure would like to sell them. Your design on the bag is a winner! You’re very creative and a unique person. I hope to shake your paw soon.
Purrfectly yours, Sasha the Chairpurrson
P. S. You’re the cat’s meow!
September 8, 1998
Bonjour! Once you get used to the “C” on the faucet handles meaning hot and Homer Simpson only speaking French, this place is quite agreeable. The majority of people in Quebec City are self-absorbed, and rude, and Dianna would never survive here, but the sites, the history, and food are phenomenal. I don’t know how I’ll ever get used to eating off an undecorated plate. The portions aren’t large, but there’s so much on the huge plate and all of it is edible. When you order “rotisserie chicken with fine herbs” you get cooked fine red cabbage with a cooked yellow tomato “basket” on top with zucchini and yellow squash spears sticking out of it and encircled in broccoli as the vegetable. When eating here it is about the flavors, textures, and presentations. For our anniversary we ate at the hotel we are staying at in the Charlevoix region. Our room has a private balcony that overlooks the St. Lawrence. Auberge des 3 Canards is its name. The chef has won awards and has a tiered herb garden on the hill right outside. Ed had young deer with currant sauce and red cabbage and I had duck breasts with maple sabayon and a gruyere stuffed pastry. Our appetizers were like meals. Ed’s a compact but substantial smoked salmon and challots layered thing on a bisque with a farina type crust top and mine was a huge bowl of wilted spinach and scallops, small chunks of cheese, lardoons (small chunks of bacon) and a sweet and sour dressing, The best desserts up here are crème caramel, sugar pie, and frozen maple mousse. I normally don’t eat dessert, but I haven’t skipped it yet, including after lunch. Oh, and I can’t forget the “chef made” pork and veal breakfast sausage. Exquisite! We’ve seen the exhibits on the history of hockey, on the history of the circus, and the history of Quebec at the Museum of Civilization in Quebec City. We attended a laser light show in the Notre Dame church, too.
September 12, 1998
Terri, Is this girl smiling over the rose or the red shoes? Is this you or what? Let’s discuss it Saturday night while having dinner at Room 24.
July 22, 1999
Hi, Terry, We hope you have the best birthday ever!
Love, Joe and Tess
July 26, 1999
Terri, When I saw this card I felt a dozen flashes of symbolism at once. Too many to write. My present to you this year is to let you know that I am very close to being born of the spirit. So, what’s the next step?
November 26, 1999
Dear Terry, Thank you so much for the wonderful one-year anniversary cake. It was absolutely beautiful, and, of course, delicious! What a great way to celebrate our first anniversary together! Thank you also for creating such a masterpiece at our wedding. Your cake was extraordinary, and it really matched my dress, too. And the chocolate groom’s cake was also a delicious treat. Hope all is well with you. Mom would like a visit from you in Chicago! And if you ever make it to Northern California, please come see us!
Love, Samia and Scott
December 12, 1999
Dear Teta Tere, I had a blast with you in Cleveland. Thanksgiving was deliciously wonderful. Thanks for everything. Hope to see you soon in Austin.
January 10, 2000
Greetings! Hope all is well. Sending you a little something, I think it deserves to be art throughout the year. It speaks for itself! We love the photo, hope you do, too.
July 26, 2000
Dear Teta Tere, A birthday surprise just for you! Many happy returns.
July 26, 2001
Mom, All things good and wonderful and a very happy birthday!
Love, Saxon and Vanessa
Monday night, April 15, 2002
Very dear Terri, Guess what? The Postal Service finally gave us the delicious, out-of-this-world yummy dessert that we have been waiting for since Linda was here last week! It seems it had the wrong zip code on it, and wherever it was they didn’t want to give it up!! Their conscience finally prodded them into doing it. And Sam says it beats any Stauffer product he ever remembers like it, and wants me to tell you that he can’t imagine how it could have tasted any better (?) when it was fresh, a week ago!!.We had it for dessert tonight, and it was worth coming home for!! It came in perfect condition! You are such a precious friend to know, for so many reasons, and Linda heartily agrees with me. God has created you for a special reason, to fulfill His unique purpose for you, and you are doing it! God loves you, and so do we! Linda needs you, too!
Ruth and Sam (the lucky Boy)
June 1, 2002
You’ve been invited to the Big Surprise Party, haven’t you?? And I’m so happy about it, because I was going to ask you to do one of your terrific cakes (like I hear about from Linda!), only this one is for Linda! The enclosed gift from me to you is to help pay for what it costs you to do these marvelous works of art! Please accept it, because I want so much to give it to you, by way of a very small thank you if you will do it? I’m praying that we will be able to come to the party, and God willing, we will be there to hug all of you dear ones! Sam is Reader this year, so it takes some special planning ahead to be able to come. Susanne knows that I’m hoping you will do the cake, for the party, so would you talk it over with her?? It’s going to be the party of the year, from the looks of it. I think Linda is suspicious there is something going on? But everyone’s lips are sealed (except for eating). Terry, do you have any idea how wonderful a person you are in so many loving ways? May God continue to bless you with that Light that dispels all darkness! The world has need of more lights like your bright glowing love for all mankind. I hear of your loving acts through Linda – and how is your little “neighbor family” that you’ve blessed in so many ways? And the R. R. is greatly enriched with your loving thoughts also. Keep going forward with your hand in God’s loving embrace, and know how much we all love you! Hoping to see you in June!
June 10, 2003
Hey Richard! I’m sending you a special thank you. It was great getting to know you better, during the “day”. Thanks for all you did, gave, and shared. See ya later!
Your niece, Lindre
P. S. Thanks to Tere, too!
July 1, 2003
Dear Terry, Life with its way before us lies.
All good wishes, from Ruth and Sam
Theresa Stasas was born in Lithuania in 1942 and after the war lived in Cleveland, Ohio. She graduated from Villa Angela Academy and studied at the Cleveland Institute of Art. A self-taught pastry chef, she owned several local restaurants at different times. She married Richard Parello in 1981. Theresa Parello died on New Year’s Eve, 2005. Richard Parello died on Holy Saturday, 2006. Among her effects Theresa left behind this small cache of cards and postcards in a Rubbermaid Lock-Its.
Ed Staskus posts feature stories on Paperback Yoga http://www.paperbackyoga.com 147 Stanley Street http://www.147stanleystreet.com and Lithuanian Journal http://www.lithuanianjournal.com. To get the site’s monthly feature in your in-box click on “Follow.”