If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday - Pearl S. Buck

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Sunday, September 18, 2011

Fragment to Olinka by Acel Garland - The Story of Olinka Hrdy - Part 1


Fragment to Olinka
Acel Garland

Fires dim as embers of fallen moonlight smoulder in your eyes--many fires.
 Glowing strange colors deep in your eyes,
 for you have slept in the shadow of a white rock
and wandered long in the land of dreams.
The wind that whispers with the colored leaves,
 and sighes among the short grass on the prairie has blown across your face,
 and chanted a strange music in your ears. 

I have been planning to write about my hometown of Prague.  My goal was to share with you our history and our people, but since I'm a mom and not an investigative reporter my idea was put on the back burning.  One of my stories was going to be about Olinka Hrdy.  Then I received an email from This Land Press informing its email subscribers that the cover story for the September issue is about none other than Olinka Hrdy.
I'm thinking if I got paid to blog I would have got my story done sooner, but then maybe not.  I haven't read the story in This Land Press because I only read it online and this story is not available yet.  So I will tell you a little about what I know about Olinka Hrdy tonight because she died on this date 23 years ago.
Olinka was born in a sod house on the family farm in Prague on August 7, 1902.  She was full blood Czech.  She was a first generation American on her father's side (Josef Hrdy was born in Bohemia) and second generation on her mother's side (Emma Benes Hrdy was born in Iowa).  There is some information out there that she was half Indian which is not true.  She did have a cousin who was half Seminole.  I'm not sure if a mistake was made because Prague sits on the Sac and Fox Reservation. 
Many people did not know she was an artist until she died.  She studied under Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff.  She painted nine murals in the home that is now the Tulsa Spotlight Theatre.  I've read that the murals do not exist anymore.  She worked for the WPA in California and I think some of the murals she painted there still exist.  Oh, Olinka had been married.  Nobody knew about that.  I read about it in her biography.  I bet she was spinning over that one.  I just knew her as the ol' Czech lady that built her house with her own two hands.  Wait until you see it.  Oh I also heard about the big fight over her father's will.  It's a doozy, but I may or may not share.
I think this is all I will write about the mysterious Olinka for now.  I need to do some more research which means I need to talk to my old high school friend's mom because she knows everything.
Brother, Carl, mother Emma and Olinka Hrdy
Czech National Cemetery, Prague, OK

The above poem is engraved on Olinka's grave.  Isn't it lovely.  The only information I could find about the author, Acel Garland was that he was a member of the Texas Folklore Society.  It sounds like he was also very fond of Olinka.
Have a good evening.
Love,
Territory Mom

2 comments:

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Sounds intriguing. Too bad about the murals at the Spotlight.

Maybe you will share some more soon?

JJ said...

Olinka Hrdy was my neighbor in the mid 60s to early 1970s in an area called Park Moderne in Calabasas, CA. She was the scary old lady that the kids all stayed away from. The rumor was that she had killed her husband years earlier, but for all I know that was just silly gossip. She did get a little crazy in her old age - I remember when she shipped her car to Hawaii and no one knew why.