Men Are Paving Šiauliai Street with Stones. Courtesy of Petras Kaminskas.
Nearly 100 years ago, the townspeople of Šeduva began planting trees along their streets. They did it together. They sought to clean up their town and make it more beautiful. Some Šeduvians were, let’s be honest, driven by fear (we aren’t naming names): a fine of 100 Litas awaited those who ignored the street planting decree. Well, for 100 Litas, a Šeduvian could purchase 2 fat calves, a cow, or a high-quality men’s suit! It was the cost of the school’s tuition!
On the other hand, there were those who were overjoyed. “This is an excellent decision,” Šidlauskas wrote, noting that so many of the streets were impossible “to wade through in spring or autumn.”
Indeed, the Šeduvian shtetl life often went on in streets mired in mud. In addition, there were other inconveniences. In 1924, The Voice of Panevėžys reported: “the streets still have no lighting, and some smaller streets are reeking of dung.” But the paper ended on a hopeful note: the change is on its way. The everyday lives of all Šeduvians should soon get more comfortable and cleaner.