206. Budzynski's - The Lithuanian Quilt


This quilt square is a composite of the Lithuanian national colors and a well-known pattern of Lithuanian linen weaving, lilies and roses. Helen Budzinski’s daughter-in-law created the design and Shelly Bray painted the quilt square. It commemorates the heritage of the family in whose hands the farm has been since 1914, the Zigmont and Anna Baibak/Anthony and Helen Budzinski family. The family has celebrated it rich Lithuanian heritage in this location for 100 years.

The small barn upon which the quilt square is attached was constructed in the early 1940’s by Lithuanian immigrants Matthew Litwaitis and William Misavech, good friends of the Baibak family; it is an identical match to another barn the men built on the corner of Millerton and Monales Roads. Remarkably a 40 acre farm could support a family during this era of subsistence farming in Michigan. For decades, the barn held hay and bedding straw harvested by Tony Budzynski for his dairy cows, and sheltered young stock grazing across the road from the dairy herd.

Zigmont and Anna Baibak bought this farm in 1914 from Charles Holmes who had used the residence as a lumberjack rooming house/dormitory. They settled here after emigrating from Lithuania because the landscape reminded them of the Kaunas area in the Old Country where Zigmont grew up. At the time, the Lithuanian community in this township numbered over 100 closely knit people, even celebrating Catholic mass in the Baibak home until the community could afford to build a proper place of worship. It was common for new immigrants to move in with the Baibaks until they could find permanent lodging elsewhere, and there were always a few extra plates set at the table for visiting friends and family.

The Baibak’s daughter Helen married Tony Budzinski on this farm in April 1944. As was common for most Polish and Lithuanian weddings at the time, the celebration for Helen and Tony lasted until the next morning. When the newlyweds went out to milk the cows after being up all night, they discovered that their new milking machines (Tony’s gift to his wife) had been stolen. They could not afford to replace them so the couple had to milk their 10-cow herd by hand for the next few years. Despite this disappointing start to their marriage, they had a blissful partnership for 61 years.