Walking into Betty Stromseth’s apartment is like entering a museum. Works of art collected from her travels around the world are on display for curiously minded visitors. After all it was curiosity that prompted Betty to travel to Norway, Italy, Greece, Thailand, China, Cuba, Switzerland, Spain, England, New Zealand, Fiji, a total of about 28 countries, visiting some more than once. Betty’s daughter-in-law calls one of her walls her “story wall” because it tells the story of Betty’s life by retracing where she’s been.
Betty’s zest for travel was spurred by her relentless curiosity and love for learning. “I couldn’t sit still knowing there was so much to see and do. I had sand in my shoes. I had to go see what was out there.” Her husband Gerry wasn’t always able to travel with her, so Betty and her college roommate Mickey saw the world together. Mickey documented their adventures in scrapbooks. The two friends would muse that someday they’d be little old ladies at the “old folks’ home” fondly reminiscing about their travels by looking at the collection of scrapbooks. The realization that this premonition somewhat came true (Mickey lives in a senior community in Minneapolis and Betty lives in the Lake Terrace Apartments on the campus of Shorehaven) produces fits of giggles for these travel companions and lifelong friends.
In her travels, Betty took particular interest in understanding the culture of the country she was visiting. She learned several life lessons by veering off the well-traveled path and believes that many of her journeys were “guided by God.” Perhaps her most meaningful lesson was observing people in very humble settings who were very happy and content and observing people in a very lavish environment who were despondent and void of hope.
Betty will be 92 on her next birthday and her days of international travel might be over but her quest of curiosity will never be quenched. She is an avid photographer and recently took a class in quilting. At Shorehaven, she enjoys painting classes and photo presentations. “There’s always something going on here, so you never get bored.” That’s good because Betty still has “sand in her shoes.”
This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long.