She's a super sweetheart at the 100 mark
December 3, 2022
by Jeff Olsen
Over in Malung, the remarkable Olga (née Walchuk) Markovich sat in her kitchen last Friday as various guests stopped by to pay their respects.
It was her birthday!
She was born on November 22, 1922, in north Minneapolis with the assistance of a midwife.
Oh, she misses nothing, graciously greeting the well-wishers, and she is from the old school.
As a child of Ukrainian immigrants, she lived through the hard times and forgets nothing.
"There were no toys when I was a kid, not even a doll."
She was in her early nineties when a friend surprised her with her first ever doll, a teddy bear, and that was just the start of teddy bears populating her bedroom.
At 100, she's a marvel - gets around with a walker, lives pretty much on her own terms, is a whiz at various card and dice games, and knows what's going on in this world.
"Both of my parents were full-blooded Ukrainians," she said proudly.
She didn't mentioned what she would like to do to Putin, who is the scourge of her parents' homeland.
She looks great and was asked if longevity is a family tradition.
"Well, my paternal grandmother lived to be a hundred. You should have seen her. She was just the ruler of the roost," she said, recalling that Grandma's favorite saying was "You do it my way or hit the highway!"
Olga's dad, Bill Walchuk, immigrated first and served as an interpreter at Ellis Island.
"And that's where he met my mother, Julie, when she came over."
Right then, someone mentioned that these Ukrainians back in the early Twentieth Century had English names like Julie, Bill, and William.
There were some chuckles.
Olga was told that she's had quite a life.
"I have nothing to complain about. I've got Denise and Lynn here (her daughters) to take care of me.
She was married to the legendary game warden, Albert "Markie" Markovich, for more than half a century.
If you were a poacher, Markie was always on your mind.
"I wonder where the hell he is right now?" was the common refrain.
The topic turned to how tough her husband was with their five children, now in their golden years.
"He was pretty lenient with the kids because they took so much garbage, especially at school."
It isn't easy being the children of a local game warden, especially if a family member gets caught over the limit of geese or with a deer out of season.
Still doing your pushups every morning?
"I do everything I can to keep going. I exercise, I eat the way I should, and I say my prayers."
She considers herself blessed with her five kids.
"John is the oldest. He's seventy. Next is Lynn and then Denise, and then my son Mark who has a beauty shop in Atlanta. Kathy lives in North Carolina," she said, mentioning that her grandson Elliot lives in New Orleans and her granddaughter Natasha lives in Florida.
A day after turning the century mark, her daughter Denise, speaking by phone, remarked that her mom had a wonderful birthday.
"She had a really good time, and the last people left at almost 5:30."
Ordinarily, that's Olga's bedtime.
"She went to bed shortly after everybody left, and we got things cleaned up. She put her pajamas on, and I think her eyes were shut just like that," she said, noting that the birthday girl likes to go to bed early.
Now, here's the kicker.
She's up before the roosters start crowing.
"Mom's up by 4 a.m."
Early to bed and early to rise makes Olga healthy, wealthy and wise.
You can go to the bank on that!