Iceland is now her home
It took only one trip to Iceland for Cathy Josephson to find her calling. "There is incredible peace there," she said.
"I found a personal peace and I am at rest there." Josephson returned to Minneota for her 50th class reunion and also to give informational presentations entitled "Sails, Rails, Rivers and Trails: A Journey West," to standing-room only crowds at the Minneota Manor and Minneota Public Library during Boxelder Bug Days festivities.
Her talks centered on the difficulties Icelanders endured emigrating to the United States.
Cathy's late father, Frank, coordinated Boxelder Bug Days for many years before his nephew Scott Josephson took over. "My dad is the one that went to Bill Holm years ago and asked permission to change the name from Town and Country Days to Boxelder Bug Days," she explained.
Holm, who passed away in 2009, authored the book "Boxelder Bug Variations" among many other books he penned. After graduating from high school, Josephson ventured to college at SMSU (then Southwest State University). But that situation didn't last long. "I went to college for 10 days," she laughed.
Realizing the need to spread her wings, Josephson then moved around the country, living in various cities in Minnesota, Virginia, California and Wisconsin. "I lived here, there and everywhere," she exclaimed. "But then I needed to eat so I learned to type.” "I did office work for an insurance company, a welfare office and other places. But I still felt like I was missing something.
In 1994, which was the 100th anniversary of the Icelandic emigrations, Josephson and 26 of her relatives embarked on a trip to Iceland to learn about the culture and to celebrate the anniversary. "I grew up with Icelandic names," she said.
"And St. Paul's Church (a historic Icelandic church in Minneota) was my family's church. So I wanted to go and visit Iceland."
Everything about the country appealed to Josephson. "I had a really strong feeling that I had found a home there," she said. "So when I went back (to the States), I sold my house, cleaned everything up, and six months later I moved to Iceland," she said.
"I've been living there ever since." While working in a fish plant that processed cod, one of the major export products of Iceland, she met and eventually married Sverrir Asgrimson.
One of her former high school classmates, Brad Lawrence, recalls a humorous moment in regards to the loosely populated country of Iceland when calling Josephson to talk recently. "She said she wasn't supposed to talk on the phone while she was driving," Lawrence said. "But then she said that there were only a bunch of sheep around so we could go ahead and talk."
Josephson's parents, Frank and Helen, have both passed away so Cathy doesn't return to the United States as often as she once did. "I try to come back at least once a year," she said.
"I call my classmates and have lunch when I get back here. It's nice to visit all my friends and relatives, too." But Iceland is her home now.