Sunday, November 15, 2015

Family Trip To Norway 1966

From Otto's autobiography:

It was now time to think of a trip for the four of us (my father Otto, my stepmother, Betty, my brother Mike, and I). Sons of Norway, District 3, had charter flights to Norway. That was perhaps the main reason for me joining the Order.

We saved and borrowed some money. Fortunately, in those days, things were very reasonable in Norway. Before we left the States, I had written the family in Bergen to arrange for a trip for us from Trondheim down the fjords to Bergen. It was a four week trip leaving New York on a Friday and returning four weeks later Sunday evening.

It was an exciting time. Bought suitcases, some if not all, on Green Stamps.

The day of departure arrived. Can't remember the date, but it was early July. Pop Linthicum came to the house and drove us to the RR station. 
                                                   Pop Linthicum, my stepmother's father.

Arrived in New York early afternoon. Got a taxi to Kennedy International Airport. Fare $13.00. We got there early, but after a while it was time to board the plane, a DC-8. Members of Sons of Norway District 3 were there to wish us bon voyage.
That's my brother, stepmom, and me(with light khakis) in the center looking at the camera. 

After we were in the air, there there were cocktails and a (late) supper. We had some kids in the seats behind us, kicking and moving. Didn't get much rest. Some things never change. Being a charter flight, there were two bars open all night. No charge. A lot of happy Norwegians.

Landed early Saturday morning at Fornebu (Oslo). It was just great to see Norway and all the red roofs of houses and cottages. At this time I think Mom was happy to be with us.

After landing, we had a few hours before leaving for Bergen. Bought a few postcards and sent one to Pop Linthicum. He got it the next week. Uncle George (Betty's brother in law) said he sat and looked at it for a long time. I don't think he ever expected to see us again (Pop was a skeptic and never believed men landed on the moon).  

Then on to Bergen. A small two prop plane. It was cloudy over the mountains. Couldn't see a thing but clouds against the windows. Some people got sick. After a while the clouds cleared and we saw the skerries and little islands around Flesland airport. 

The whole family was there to greet us: Bestefar (Otto's father), tante (aunt) Ovidia, and Audun (Otto's younger brother) and the kids (Erik, Giske, and Knut). Drove home to Laksevaag. Got a big kick out of the signs at the Esso gas stations: "Put en tiger paa tanken" (Put a tiger in your tank). At Laksevaag the Norwegian flag was flying in the wind. 

Had a big dinner in Andy's (Audun's) kitchen, Giske waiting on the table. After a while we got tired. It had been a long day and night. Karla )(Audun's wife, my tante) had bought new sheets for our bed. By this time it had cleared up and we could see the lights across the bay and Mom said, "Thank you Far for bringing me here."

The next week or so we spent in Bergen: the Fish Market, The cable car to Ulrikken, a tour of the fjords on the "White Lady", and the funicular to Fløyen. Kaare (Otto's youngest brother) was in town and he lent us his car and we drove up to Kvamskogen where Karla was with the kids. Had a nice day there. The boys and their cousins rented a boat and rowed around the lake. Some kids were swimming in the ice water. "It is nice," they said with their blue noses. Karla wanted us to stay, but we went back to town. Fed some goats on the way, they loved American cigarettes (Betty still smoked).  

The next day we went with Kaare to Lonevaag. Drove to Garnes, then the ferry to Haus on Osterøy. Drove up the valley and the church at Gjerstad. Then down to Lonevaag. Bought some rolls and some Coke and had lunch there next to the pier.

This was the place I was conceived during Easter vacation in 1919, up at "Lemmen" in Johan and Thea Kalleklev's house. My grandfather, Mons Andersen, grew up here. The farm was up the hill, it was called Fossen (meaning waterfall). The foundation of the houses were still there when we spent our summers there from about 1925 to 1934. 

We visited Olaf Hatland and family and Asbjørn Natland and his wife Brita. It was at the Natland farm we we stayed the sumers as kids. Asbjørn's mother Emte was turning the hay, Kaare helping her. She was in her eighties at the time. They made us some sandwiches with fenalaar (cured leg of lamb).  Tasted good to an old Norwegian.


From there we drove back to Valestrand (Ole Bull had a house there). Ferry to Breistein and back to Bergen. In those days with little car traffic, Kaare's car was the only one on the ferry. We had a delicious dinner at cafe Ulrikken. Two pork chops, potatoes, and vegetables and gravy for about $1.00 each. Inflation hadn't really started yet.

More to come...


  1. Jono--Thanks for sharing this. I've never been to Norway, but now, I feel like I was there... even if I had to travel there in one of those Greenstamp suitcases.

  2. "It was an exciting time. Bought suitcases, some if not all, on Green Stamps." - OMB! you don't want to know how many things my mother and grandmother purchased with green stamps. those were the days!

    norway looks beautiful! what was the date of this trip?

  3. What magical memories to have and to hold. And I love the photos too. Thank you.
    Here in Oz we had the 'tiger in your tank' ad too. And some places gave(sold?) little tiger tails to attach to the filler cap.

  4. Sioux, It's fairly expensive to travel there, but I usually stay with my cousins who are some of the kindest and most wonderful people I will ever know.

    anne marie in philly, Remember asking, Do you give stamps?" way back? This was in 1966 and we were living just south of you in Wilmington.

    Elepant's Child, Gasoline was about 20 cents a gallon and they checked your tires, oil, and washed your windshield. The photos were mostly taken by Otto.

  5. What fun memories. I'd love to feed a goat cigarettes. But really, it does look like a great time. And those are some fantastic pictures. My family was always awful at taking pictures of trips. People are either blinking or talking or not looking at the camera. Kind of kills the nostalgia.

  6. My father operated an Esso station during the 'tiger in your tank' promotions. I still have one of the tiger tails that were given away, EC!

    Great pictures, Jono. The water and hills and forests are beautiful.

  7. Your trip sounds great. My mother was so excited to visit Norway, her family's homeland, after my dad retired.


  8. I love all these photos! And you can tell right away, in 1966 people still dressed up for airplane travel. Nowadays, not so much...

  9. Travelling to Europe was such a big deal in those days, I remember!

  10. I absolutely love these photos, Jono! I have never been to Norway, or for that matter, anywhere abroad. I have been to the U.S. and that is about it, and only New England, too. :) Great memories of the 60's.

  11. Lovely to read the narrative of travelling during a time before the crush of traffic and tourists! I got a chuckle out of "It is nice," they said with their blue noses. Reminded me of the time we took a family trip down to Corpus Christi in the middle of the winter - apparently I said much the same thing, with my legs red with the cold of wading in the water. ;-)

  12. I get chills looking at the photos. It's so awesome that you have them, along with the writing of course. Even more awesome, you're publicizing your dad's/family's story.
    Cheers to you, Jono.

  13. What wonderful memories. Thanks for sharing. Those photos of your plane trip look so bizarrely stress free compared to today.

  14. I remember the tiger in the tank, there used to be tiger tails that could be attached to the gas tank knob. I'm enjoying reading your dad's account of the trip to Norway. I've not been to Norway, but a lot of it is reminding me of my childhood in England.

  15. Cocktails, a late supper, and two open bars?? I'll take that flight!

  16. ABftS,It was the first time we went more than a few hours away as a family. Otto was a pretty good taker of pictures.

    jenny_o, I'll bet that tail is a collector's item now.

    Janie Junebug, I only knew Norway from my father's stories until this trip. He was a very good story teller, especially at bedtime when I was a little guy.

    Pixel Peeper, The only practical way to fly now is in a sweatsuit and flip-flops.

    Debra She Who Seeks, It was a big deal, but as a 15 year old I didn't fully appreciate it, although I have never forgotten.

    Linda, It does take me back to a seemingly less complicated time, but life wasn't always the bed of roses I tend to remember.

    The Blog Fodder, It's a nice way to time travel now and then.

    Diane, Fun always trumps comfort when you're a kid.

    Rawknrobyn, It's interesting to look back through his eyes instead of mine. A whole different perspective plus his great memory for detail.

    Donna Banta, It is a totally different world we live in today. I'd be curious to know what it will be like in fifty more years.

    Shammickite, I am glad you are enjoying. I love traveling vicariously through others' stories and pictures. Wish I could spend more time with my family in England as well as Norway.

    Agi Tater, Charter flights in those days were pretty generous. I have no idea what they are like now, but coach is sure minimal. I may never know how the other half live. Remember when it was actually closer to half?

  17. Being a charter flight, there were two bars open all night. No charge. A lot of happy Norwegians.
    :) That made me smile.
    Really enjoying these posts, Jono! Keep it up!

  18. Such amazing pictures. The food sounds so great! The water is so blue. Wow. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Green Stamps? I don't know how my Mom would have done without them! Such beautiful photos - amazing colors. Jono, this was such a peaceful read - so relaxing!

  20. Dawn, Thanks! Can you imagine two open bars on a plane now?

    Shoshana, You share some pretty fun stuff yourself, Congrats on the new release!

    Dixie, Thinking about Green Stamps was a trip. I remember little green books of them in the kitchen junk drawer.

  21. This is both interesting and sad in A way to read about. I think I do remember you beeing in Bergen in 1966. I was 7 years old that summer. I do remember our Red Ford Cortina.. I also do remember the positure Kaare had standing next to his car. I also do remember that almost Nobody except us did have A car in our neighbourghood these days. At that time IT was limited who Could Own A car in Norway.I can also picture my father working in the field turning hay. I dont remember Betty beeing that pretty😊 I think IT is Nice that Otto has written HIS memories, allthough I do not think everything he writes is correct all the way through. Since all of the three brothers now Are dead, ITS Nice to Get the opertunity through your blog to read about our family.



  22. Kjare Bente, Takk så mye for skrive til bloggen min. Det var lenger siden, men jeg husker mye av turen. Din søster alltid bedt om mer pølse. Du var begge så søt.Engelsk nå. Do you have any family history for our farmor Klara? I write about family sometimes or whatever comes to me. Please stop by when you can. Hils hele familien. Jon Anders