By Sydney Skibinksi
Meet Olga Krause, born in Munich, Germany and raised with strong values and traditions. The first time I met Olga, I was welcomed with her openness and vulnerability which I instantly admired. She is very happy to share about her German heritage and her experiences there during World War II. She recounted moving quickly to a bunker during nights under attack and later moving to the countryside and returning years later to find her home had been bombed. Still, she said, “we had a better life with less. And through the war we still had a better life, and it made us better people, even though it was hard.” She believes that memories are more important than money and takes pride in every memory, no matter how difficult or trying the experience.
Strong Family Values
Olga’s experiences shaped her to be a very bold and kind woman. Her father sparked her love of traveling, and she moved to New Jersey for a new experience when she was 21. This led her to meet her husband and start the next chapter of her life. Olga told me she had always wanted red hair, but it was not accepted in Germany. She met her husband on a Saturday night with her blonde hair, and the next time they met she had red hair, but he was too smitten to notice. From then on, they did everything together and worked hard at it. They had two children and Olga stayed home with them while her husband worked in the electric business. She later joined the workforce at a department store, but was always supported by her husband, even after his passing.
“You can’t have everything. You can have the cake but not the icing.” Olga recognizes that life is nowhere near perfect, but she exudes so much gratitude. While she misses her home and the wonderful memories made there, she spends her time today with her friends at The Knolls of Oxford and enjoys visits from her daughter and contact from grandchildren. She enjoys reading romance novels, needlepoint, pettipoint, crochet, and shopping at TJ Maxx. Her passion has always been cooking–from dumplings, to rouladen, and spaetzle to gravy. All should strive to enjoy life as Olga does, and above all, she tells everyone to “be honest and helpful. Be happy.”
Olga’s student partner’s comments about Olga:
Olga’s OMA partner says, “while my partner stated a few times that she was “not an artist”, and that her work was “a mess” her actions contradicted her verbal expressions. She painted with confidence, made paint choices without hesitations, and requested glitter with the conviction of an artist with a vision. Though my partner is new to OMA having only participated in the summer program, it is clear that at least within the realms of this program she is empowered…Each week I went there to volunteer my time, and each week I walk away having gained something in return. Olga dyes her hair bright red, and that reflects her personality very well. She is talkative, spunky, and quick to smile and laugh. She loves her family, especially her grandchildren and her late husband.”