My parents, Gunn Marie Løvstad Wærstad and Kjell Robert Wærstad, immigrated to the United States from Norway 39 years ago with my older sister, Hilde, just 8 months old. They initially settled in Golden, Colorado, but before the year was up, they had made their way to a small town in northwestern Alabama.
Alabama. How do two young Norwegians, daughter in tow, end up in Alabama? Well, that's a story too long to tell here. The short of it is that my Father got a job with the Tennessee Valley Authority and moved to Alabama to begin a career as a Crystallographer. I was born shortly thereafter. Our family eventually settled in Colbert Heights, a small community on the outskirts of the town of Tuscumbia (population 8,000).
My parents still have that house on Colbert Height's mountain overlooking the cities of Tuscumbia and Muscle Shoals. They now split their time between Norway and Alabama, seeking the milder summers of Norway and returning to spend their winters in Alabama. They bought a farm in Skien, Norway where they both grew up. It is also where most of my extended Norwegian family still reside.