Sunday, December 01, 2013

Sunday Morning with Don Marcks: Christmas Cards

Remember Christmas cards?

Here is Don, writing to me December 12, 1958, sharing his plans for a card.

"Have been thinking of having some Christmas cards made sometime.  I would like to have maybe a Sunburst wagon wheel laying against a fence in the snow, or else have a barn in the background and then have all sorts of old wagons just outside with the snow quite deep and covering most everything. Would be a lot of work and all but would be interesting.  By gollys, just thought since I have the barn and wagons I guess that I could take a picture of my own stuff and use cotton to create the snow????"

I  love his imagined images.

Oh, such simpler times they were, and I suppose each generation ends up saying essentially the same thing.  I'd almost be happy to give up my PC and the lush research-communication benefits to get back some of the things we've lost, like a telegram guy knocking on your door, one telephone in only one room in the house.  The afternoon paper landing out there on the grass, its headlines bearing an urgency.  Three TV channels, so much easier.  Playing with kids outside on summer evenings.  I guess now, they face book in the dark.  How pitifully remote.

One of the best things back then was waiting each day in December for the postman to arrive with another stack of cards for our mail box. Sometimes, he'd make two deliveries!  The word "Christmas" was not yet fraught with political hysteria. 
How I miss getting lots of cards in the mail, most of them back then addressed to our family.  The envelopes.  The colors inside.  Snowy scenes of sleighs and brick houses, their windows aglow with sparking lights around tinseled trees. The warm greetings. The valued handwriting of friends and family.

I still like to send them, but only to those from whom, the previous season, I'd received one as well.  Otherwise, I feel part of an irrelevant tradition nearly as quaint as vaudeville.   I keep a list; it has been narrowing down over the years.

When I get an e-card from somebody, I am just as apt to delete it.  So cold. So anonymous. So mass produced; how easy to add my name to your list. 

A handwritten card connects one soul to another.  Shows the effort taken to reach out.

I don't know how Don's card turned out that year.  Here is a card of myself, which I sent out several years before.  Taken of me at the Redwood Empire Roller Palace in Santa Rosa.   What perfect penmanship, I am so proud looking back!   I think I peaked in my 12th year, and then I go so lost, tangled up in scribbling out words, sentences, revisions upon revisions,  that I lost my hand.

Many years later, as we faced the last year of the old millennium, I sent out a photo of my amusement park in the works, to the most people who would ever receive a card from me, about 60.  The name of my park is what inspired me to send it.

A Century of Thrills ... May '99 Be Your Best Yet

The card came with the above greeting.  The sepia photo shows my model midway so young then, with only the Big Dipper roller coaster, Thimble Theatre fun house (based on the one rotting away in a back shed at Baraboo), and The Whip.  In seasons to come, I would add the Tilt-A-Whirl, Ferris Wheel, Swings and, now in the works, Laugh in the Dark.

12.1.13/revised-expanded 2014


Anonymous said...

David, this is one of my favorite blogs that I have read of yours. Please don't ever stop reminiscing of yesteryear and their warm, wonderful memories. I too so miss those times, when we actually interacted with each other face to face....took bike rides on the weekends, or hiked in the hills nearby.....went Christmas caroling....played all kinds of games outside in the neighborhood till dark, or the wonderful board games inside.....had pillow fights....slept outside in the summertime.....watched I Love Lucy each week at the neighbors until we got a TV...the excitement now and then in calling long distance to talk to relatives far away.....going to the local movie theater to watch those wonderful musicals of the 50's, or a matinee and newsreel on the weekend....roller skating on the sidewalk in the neighborhood, or skating at the local Roller Palace....when the circus came to town...and on and on and on. And, yes, the Christmas cards are one of my favorite memories too....I loved all of them, and was excited for the mailman to come each day during Christmas many cards!!! To me, it is so sad that so few people send those wonderful cards anymore. You can absolutely count on getting a Christmas card from me each year....and I know I can absolutely count on getting one from you....SUCH SWEET MEMORIES!!! Thanks for helping us relive them....Kathy

Kathky said...

"A handwritten card connects one soul to another....shows the effort taken to reach out" David, Oh my goodness....this says so much about what means most.....reaching out to each other, not by texting or tweeting, or any of those artificial means. I think you all know what I'm talking about. I call and talk on the phone to my brothers each month because I love them and want to talk to them and hear their feelings and emotions, and what's going on in their lives. I want to stay close to them because I just feel that we need to give love and support to each other. This world has become a crazy and "falling apart" place. How terrible it would be if we did not have each other. I don't know about the rest of you, but that's the way I feel. I don't want to become a "robot" with technology. Please, let's show each other how much we care.