Washington Irving's Prairie
Washington Irving wrote about his travels throughout the United States. Since he visited near what would later become my home, I don't even have to imagine the sights he could have viewed in Oklahoma in 1832—I only have to look near my yard. I've heard that because of the buffalo, there wouldn't have been as many trees in those days. But when I see bison grazing, it's because one of the area ranchers has a small herd.
Prairie Photos © 2015 Liz Tyner
Washington Irving's Christmas
The book, Old Christmas, by Washington Irving, was recommended to me as a great place to research Regency Christmas customs. The story paints a nostalgic view of Christmas in the 1800's, and recounts Irving's memories of the holiday. He tells of being awakened in the night by the sound of carolers, and feeling them akin to a celestial choir.
He readily admits his view of how pleased others are by the season could be caused by his own outlook. But his mention of the excitement of three little boys on returning home from school, bursting with energy when reunited with their pony and dog, helps the reader see the energy of the holidays through a youth's eyes.
In recounting his sentimental view of Christmas, Irving stirred a bit of the holiday magic in my memories. Perhaps that was what he intended for his story to do for his readers.
Pioneer Woman or Society Miss?
The bronze statue of a pioneer woman was dedicated approximately 75 years ago in Oklahoma. The pioneer woman, with her book under her arm, her serviceable shoes, and her pose showing movement depicts women who truly existed.
But one of the other pieces of art in in the Ponca City area fascinated me just as much as the Pioneer Woman. Both were commissioned by the same man, but are two completely different works.
The other statue is crafted of light limestone and shows a more modern woman. Dressed in a long flowing gown with a fashionable fluff of hem, the statue depicts an assured lady of a different era, or at least, of a different society. You can easily imagine her stepping into the ballroom, glittering lights sparkling on her, and her moving with the grace of a dancer.
Lydie Marland's likeness was broken at her request, buried for years, and then dug up for restoration.
The statue once stood at the mansion Lydie lived in, but after the home was sold, the art ended up in a crate at Lydie's residence. Later, when she planned to move again, she hired someone to destroy the statue. He cracked the face and buried the artwork. After Lydie died, the statue was dug up, reassembled, and returned to the Marland Mansion.
I can imagine an older woman wondering what she was going to do with a life-sized statue of herself---particularly if she lived in a modest home. Imagine walking into an average living room and seeing a statue of the owner standing in the corner.
The moral of the story is--if you want your statue destroyed--really destroyed, quietly do it yourself. Otherwise, years later, it can end up on display, and you might not get a refund from the man you paid to get rid of it.
Lydie Marland's world:
To view the statue:
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