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AgingNext Village Members Olga and Walter have been married for nearly 70 years and their story is one of love, commitment, and change. They have built a life together not once, not twice, but three times in the last 6 decades.

Walter, a good friend of Olga’s brother, had been over to her house in a beautiful city in Bolivia many times, but Olga didn’t remember him—until they were attending the same high school evening classes as juniors. It was then that they started talking and Walter began walking Olga home from classes. “It was only about a 4 block walk,” they remember. However, it was then that they started to really get to know one another. They would talk for hours about their dreams for the future. “We were good friends,” said Olga. After high school they went their separate ways to go to college. “We wrote letters to each other every week,” Olga commented. Upon returning from college they began dating for about three years before finally getting married. “It was a simple wedding, there was no money for a big party,” remembered Olga. And they started their life together.

Even though they were both city people, Walter had always dreamed of owning a large, modernized farm. So he and Olga left the city and moved to an undeveloped area where they built their own house, stables, etc. They had nothing—it all had to be built from scratch. They overcame a lot of inconveniences like no running water or electricity. Olga laughed, “It was like the show Green Acres—we knew nothing about farming, not even how to sow a row of seeds!” Eventually they cleared the land, Walter built a house (the first one in the area with a permanent foundation) and then the children came. Olga said, “It wasn’t a city life at all. But, we were happy, there was satisfaction in the dream.” Three daughters were born and when they started school, Olga decided it was time to leave the farm and go back to the city. And she did. She left Walter to tend to the home they had built and the farm. A year later, they sold the farm and moved back to the city of their childhood. After 10 years of farm life, “we gave up,” Olga exclaimed. But not on each other….

In the city, they started over, recreating their life together as a family. The children grew. Again, they created a home from scratch. “We had left our time, dreams, money and youth…all the things you can’t get back,” Olga reminisced about the move from farm back to the city. And then six short years later, they decided to make another big move and rebuild their home and life in the United States. Looking back, Olga shared, “Life is a constant battle, there are ups and downs, there is change, problems. But there is love, respect, support, luck, and commitment.”

“Our life wasn’t easy…three times we had to start over from scratch,” she laughed. “But we knew everything about each other from the start…we took time to talk, to know each other’s dreams, thoughts, and heart.” In parting she laughed, “After all, if you fall in love at first sight, at second glance, there will be friction!” Now, that’s wisdom!


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