Writing Guild

Tove Pape

The SaddleBrooke Ranch Writing Guild is a group dedicated to improving writing skills. We meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month in the La Vista Room from 1 p.m. to 30 p.m. After discussing a topic on how to improve our writing, we share excerpts from our own memoirs, essays, fiction, or family stories.

If you have questions about the club, contact Nancy Ferris at [email protected]

Traveling Car

Tove Pape

Yes, most cars are for traveling, but we took our 1957 Lincoln to faraway places. This black Lincoln, with the sleek wings on the back, was a thing of beauty. It was only a few years old when we purchased it around 1960. It was certainly the nicest car we had ever owned.

My father soon installed a trailer hitch so we could pull our camping trailer to the Warm Springs Reservation or wherever he decided we should go exploring. It was an easy task for this car’s powerful engine.

In the summer of 1962, when I was 14, the day finally came when our family would move back to Norway. It was a given as far back as I could remember, that one day we would return. My parents, sister, and I climbed into the Lincoln and pulled out of Portland with our camper in tow. We drove clear across the United States headed for Brooklyn where we had friends.

According to our map, we had to cross a bridge to get to Brooklyn. The siren and flashing lights surprised us, as we definitely weren’t speeding. My father pulled over and waited as the officer approached. The officer was not very friendly. It was apparently illegal to cross the bridge with a propane tank, which our trailer had. After what seemed like forever, my father pulled out his AAA card. That was the magic ticket and we were allowed to proceed—just not across the bridge.

For the next few days, we were parked in Brooklyn as we finalized our passage on a passenger ship from New York to Oslo, Norway. A day or two before our departure, our precious Lincoln and camper were lifted by a huge crane and lowered into the ship’s cargo hold, and so began a different kind of journey for our car.

After a week, we arrived in Oslo where we had to proceed through customs and immigration. My father was informed that he would have to pay $3,000 in tax to bring the car into the country, unless we took it out again within a year. That seemed ridiculous since he had only paid $1,800 for the car in the first place. Different country, different rules. We were, however, allowed to leave with the car.

Visiting family was next on our agenda. The Lincoln got us safely to Sauda in the west, which is where my father grew up. After some time there, we were ready to head east again. What we didn’t know is that the King of Norway owned a car exactly like ours—even the same color: black. As we drove along the road near Sauda, people would be waiting for us and salute as we drove by. Neighbors had called neighbors down the road to let them know the king was coming their way. For the two years we were in Norway, we enjoyed occasional royal status because of our traveling car.