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World Traveler Calls New Canaan Home

Inger Stringfellow ’s childhood was anything but typical, as she spent much of it traveling the high seas on cargo freighters. She was born in Norway where her father, Carl Jensen, worked as a sea captain. When the Germans attacked Norway during the Second World War, Carl became stuck in Sweden, unable to get home to his family. He managed to get to England where he was joined by his family, and signed on with the British Merchant Marines so he could go back to sea. Despite being bombed and sunk twice, Captain Jensen survived the war and moved his family further afield – to Australia.

The Jensens’ strong ties to their homeland had the family making the long trek from Australia to Norway every three years – on cargo freighters. “We used to cruise through the Suez Canal,” said Inger. “It used to take between eight and nine weeks to make the journey from Australia, and another eight to nine weeks to get back. We would leave Australia in March and get back in November.”

When Inger and her young brother and sister were in their teens Carl’s company transferred him to Rye, New York, where the whole family experienced major culture shock. “I’d gone to parochial school in Australia and worn a uniform,” Inger said. Junior high school in Rye was an eye-opener. Another shock came a few years later when Carl decided Inger should learn French, in addition to her native Norwegian and perfect English. Off she went to Brussels in Belgium, and then to Gstaad in Switzerland. “School in Gstaad was loads of fun. There were a lot of English girls and they knew how to have a good time,” Inger said, laughing at the memory.

A year in England at secretarial school followed and then Inger made her way back to the United States where she worked her way up in the broadcasting industry. “I was lucky to have a forward-thinking boss,” Inger said. He was willing to give her a chance in sales. And all those years selling TV programming led her to her new career in real estate sales.

“My husband and I moved to New Canaan in the 90s and raised our children here in town,” she says. “I used to have all sorts of hobbies – I loved golf and yoga – but now I have no time. All I do is work.” Inger has a special interest in mid-century modern homes of which there are several great examples in New Canaan.

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