Page 28 - The Montecito Journal Glossy Edition Summer Fall 2010

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fal l
by Lynn P. Kirst
ith that one sentence, Madame Ganna
Walska (1887-1984) revealed more
about her personal style than reams
of gossip columns or any photograph
could possibly convey. Known locally as
the eccentric opera singer-turned-gardener who
cemented her legacy by preserving her last home
as the Ganna Walska Lotusland Foundation, the
Polish-born beauty in fact had one of the more
fascinating lives of any woman from her generation. Her
unique sense of style, first in clothing, then in jewelry, and
lastly in garden design, established her image as a fashionable
diva that eclipsed her professional singing career, and rivaled her
reputation as a serial marrier of wealthy husbands.
“I dislikedWill Rogers verymuch,” wroteWalska, “because
while chewing his gum and playing with his rope he would
say: ‘It is almost ten days since we last heard anything about
Ganna...I don’t know if she has married or divorced again.’”
Ganna Walska’s memoir, published in 1943 with the title
Always Room at the Top
, is an admittedly tough read by any standard.
The frustratingly vague, almost stream-of-consciousness style loses most readers
within the first few pages. Yet for those who persevere with a careful eye, wading
through many passages recounting her interminable “search for truth”
(the years of spiritual quest more often than not rewarded by shattered
Ganna Walska
Diva Of Her Time
“I am an enemy of the average.”