James Paul Hudec of Idaho visited the museum on a day so cold, most folks around town didn't even get out. We were surprised when he walked in wearing shorts and a lightweight short-sleeved shirt. As he signed our guest book, he said, "I"m waiting for it to get cold here." We had a good laugh about that, especially when he told us that he grew up in Alaska.
Hudec's father, Emil Hudec, was born in Caldwell to James Hudec and Adella Hudec, who had immigrated from Moravia. He said that his grandmother spoke very little English, but worked most of her life for the rectory at the local Catholic church. Hudec said that his father went to California to work for Boeing and met Hudec's mother Lois Grace there. They married and moved to what was then Alaska territory. When Hudec was nine, Alaska became a state. Although his father spoke Czech, Hudec learned very little. His first words in the museum this week were "Jak se mas?" He wasn't sure of the pronunciation, but it was perfect.
Hudec said his parents had numerous businesses and positions in Alaska, including postmaster (his mother), customs agent (his dad) hotel, restaurant, general store and pub owners. He enjoyed the pub brawl series of our Josef A. Lada art exhibit, saying it reminded him of his father and his childhood.
Hudec said that everyone in his family played an instrument and that his sister learned to play the accordion to provide polka music. Imagine that! A little pocket of Texas Czechs in faraway Alaska! Looks like the old proverb, "Every Czech's a musician!" is strong!