Olga Strimple was born on June 6, 1898 in Kennard, Nebraska. She received her education at Florence Grade School, Central High School, Omaha University , and the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. On a break from school, she met Cecil Strimple, a former soldier who fought in World War I, and the love of Olga’s life. They married in June 1925 and made Omaha their home.
Thor Strimple lives in the home his mother occupied overlooking Hanscom Park. He is one of two sons born to Olga and Cecil Strimple, though his brother, Henry, passed in his twenties. Thor speaks of his mother with a wide smile and he laughs often. He remembers that “mom” was always waiting for the boys when they arrived home from school. For a woman who contributed so much to the world, it amazes me how often I’ll hear stories of her ability to care for so many.
Thor has a daughter, Lisa, with whom I had the pleasure of meeting. Lisa has a quiet smile and looks down as she speaks of her grandmother, the woman she also knew as “mom.” Lisa and Thor answer my questions as new ones fill my head. They provide a portrait of Olga on her wedding day as well as a book of Olga’s poetry. This is how I will begin to really know Olga.
Olga’s unpublished book of poetry begins with a sworn affidavit stating that she, the author, attended an archeological dig in approximately 1906, which resulted in the discovery of the remains of an Indian Chief named Snow Storm and his young son. Olga would have been ten years old, and this event would be known in the scientific community through a paper titled “Evidence of Man in the Loess Hills,” published in 1907. The paper describes the location of the burial mound as well as the size, shape, and location of various bones. Olga tells a much deeper story, of a man who lost a son too soon–A mighty warrior, a chief, dreamily imagining the past, and reflecting on how quickly things change.
This theme is one that would follow Olga throughout her life. She witnessed the world change through war, technology,