In September 1993, I bought six pair of J.Crew wool tights to bring with me to Lithuania. They were ideal for wearing with skirts and under jeans. The wool was soft and cozy, not scratchy at all. I lived in those tights all winter — they kept me warm outside and inside. The year before, Russia had cut off heating fuel supplies to Lithuania as part of the political games that accompanied the dissolution of the Soviet Union. During much of the winter of 1992-1993, Lithuania was without heat and hot water. I was lucky to come the next year. We had heat and hot water all winter, but concerns of another Russian embargo meant fuel conservation and keeping the heat turned low. I didn’t have a thermostat in my apartment but I am pretty sure it wasn’t heated above 60 degree Fahrenheit all winter.
In the sixteen years since my first winter in Lithuania, I have loaned the wool tights to various friends. The tights spent a winter in Croatia and one in Bosnia. They spent three years in Russia, with trips to Finland and even Siberia. Only one pair remains in good condition and I brought the tights back with me to Lithuania for what is probably their last winter. As one gal who borrowed the tights said, “it’s too bad that you didn’t send a diary along with the tights; they have stories to tell!”