1960 – 1969

During 1960 I bought state-of-the-art equipment to install a sound system in the den. Because this was a significant addition to the Kimmell Household, we decided to use something in connection with the stereo system on the Christmas card. We thought maybe putting the notation on record cases would be a possibility. And so the card for 1960 evolved. At this stage of the game, I would only take three or four negatives.
The Advent wreath was always an appurtenance for Christmas in the Kimmell household, and so we decided to use it on the card for 1961. We always had the wreath going somewhere. We arranged the three girls around the four candles of the Advent Wreath and gave Martha the honor of lighting the last candle. [Kay: I remember not liking the blouses we had to wear at all!]
At the front of the Palomino Motel up on Lincoln was a life-sized Palomino horse. In driving by the motel on one occasion, Vera remarked that if we had a sleigh and they let us pull the sleigh behind the horse with the three girls, we would have a subject for a Christmas card. Well, getting a full-sized sleigh and getting permission to pull it behind the horse would be a hassle, so on one of Vera’s shopping sprees, she found a very similar toy palomino horse about 9” high. It became my chore to build a model sleigh to match the horse. Getting the girls into the sleigh was not really too difficult. I photographed them learning over the back of the sofa in the back room and began to do an enlargement to scale, cut it out, and attached it to the back of the model sleigh. Then to make the scene realistic, we sprayed artificial snow on the dining room table, and I made a model hoof to make horse tracks in this snow. All we had to do then was do a tabletop photograph and a little calligraphy, and we had a card for 1962.
(The motel was torn down around 1995. Kay has the horse and sleigh and uses it each year as a decoration!)
Events of 1963 presented a different kind of challenge for a Christmas card. My two older daughters were married in the middle of the year. It was Vera’s idea that we use the girls’ wedding pictures on our Christmas card, and I contributed the idea of putting these pictures in a small “album,” which would be four little photographs tied to the card with tiny, red cording. The album would be photographed on a side table on which the little album would be placed. The decorated tabletop was projected through a vignette, which placed the white notations and the white area for the little album. Then the album title, Martha, and the two wedding pictures were made with their notations and cut to album size. Then the album sheets and cards were punched. Everybody helped do it! Martha and friends helped tie these things together. I drilled these holes. The album sheets and cards were stacked and holes drilled in my shop. Then Martha and friends assembled almost 300 of these cards. That was a real hassle! But it is an unusual card.
By 1964 there was only one chick left in the nest! Kay with her newborn Trey was with Tommy in the Marine Corps in Havelock, North Carolina. Barbara was with Dusty in the Army in Alexandria, Virginia. It was Vera’s idea to wrap packages with tags representing addresses of her two older sisters, and Martha would present the boxes beside a small decorated Christmas tree. The scene was vignetted to a white edge and the notations on the card were printed through a mask. Two-operation card.
Martha had been campaigning for a dog during 1965, and so we acquired a registered German Shepherd born in Germany named Gabe. The idea was that Martha would take the dog to obedience school and train him for a companion and for protection. After a few training sessions, Martha tired of the exercise and gave it up! Vera was fond of Gabe and literally took him for her dog. The new addition to the household and a globe was used to portray the Biblical verse of Luke 2:14. Again, the card was vignetted to a white border, and the notation printed through a mask. Two-operation card.
[Kay: It is fun to watch Martha change with the fashions!] 1966 was “sweet sixteen” for Martha, and she was manifesting “wants”—some of which were pretty big! Vera penned the little poem and found a nice, big stocking stating the theme. Again, the vignette to white in front of the fireplace in the back den. Two-operation card.
By 1967 Martha was manifesting interest in a number of things. She got interested in ice-skating and became quite good. She bought a guitar and was playing it for small Bible studies and study groups and had tried her hand at golf. So we decided to use Martha’s “hobbies” on Christmas cards for a few years. I got the idea of Martha skating and tracing Merry Christmas on the ice. Martha was photographed in a skating pose projected about 6” high and was very carefully cut out. A piece of plate glass was placed on a big sheet of black paper, and the glass sprayed with artificial snow. Then Merry Christmas was scribed in the thin layer of artificial snow and Martha’s cut-out supported by a wooden splint glued to the glass The addition of a little sign The Kimmells 1967 stuck in the snow completed the card. Note the detail of the fractured ice where the stake was driven in. The tabletop was lighted to produce realistic shadows. I overexposed the negative, and then I reduced it back to make the Merry Christmas and Kimmells almost clean in the negative. Producing the card was just one shot.
In the fall of 1968, Martha decided to start her college education at Southern Methodist University, and that fall she brought an SMU pennant home. We mocked her up at her desk in her bedroom with the pennant to quote, “Please have snow and mistletoe!” It was a simple card with vignette to white with the lettering exposed through a mask.
Vera though it might be nice to portray Martha’s hobby on the cards. She had become quite proficient on the guitar, so I took her picture with her guitar in front of the fireplace in the den. Again, a simple vignette to white border with the musical staff and notation exposed through a mask.