Pink and still perky
I've still got a few more fun things from our road trip to share, the first one being the first half of a fun afternoon in Kansas City.
I wonder if you can finish the sentence? Or, having done so, if you can remember who the tag line belongs to?
I'll admit, I knew "...to send the very best", but probably couldn't have named the company until reminded of it this afternoon, for Hallmark Cards began in Kansas City 101 years ago and whilst there we spent a couple of happy hours at their Visitors Centre.
As you'd expect, there's a fascinating exhibition of their vintage products which served as a cute reminder of the cards our parents used to send.
We learned about J.C Hall, founder of the company of which his son is still Chairman. The Hall family remain actively involved, with two grandsons now in control of the business.
As one might expect of a family company with strong local roots, their influence is widely evident in the Kansas City area and there's a well established tradition of philanthropy. The story that unfolded as we learned more about the Halls and their business was one of principles and commitment. All rather impressive.
It was interesting to see how trends have come and gone in the greetings cards we send and I thought how carefully my Mum would choose a card based on the verse inside, which had to be sincere and thoughtful; far more sentimental than we'd choose today.
The exhibition timeline showed the developments and told the story of how the company moved with the times and as we came to products created in my own lifetime, some looked very familiar!
"no such thing as too much sparkle or too many reasons to celebrate". Those words on a display of more recent designs supports two thoughts of mine: firstly that cards are usually bought by or for women and that in recent years, cards have become available for any and every occasion (including what my hero and I refer to as "Hallmark days": not original, it seems!)
I will admit, I can't remember the last Hallmark card I bought. I make some cards myself, though probably not as elaborate as these two examples from the exhibition which I imagine Hallmark created to fulfil the "handmade" niche...though don't get me started in the perils and pitfalls of sending quilled paper and other dimensional designs through the post!
Clearly, J.C Hall inspired a warmth and loyalty amongst his staff who started a tradition of creating a Christmas tree for him. A series of 17 of these trees were there as part of the exhibition: a wonderful resource of ideas for group projects.
The last part of the exhibition was the art gallery, where a few pieces from the Hallmark Art Collection were hanging. Pride of place was given to Norman Rockwell's The Kansas City Spirit a powerful image in typical Rockwell style, commissioned by J.C.Hall following devastating floods in the city during 1951.
In the dozen or so works currently on show was an instantly recognisable work by Murakami - can it really be a year ago?
Road trips are filled with all kinds of memorable experiences like this and I'll say that I left Hallmark feeling very warmly towards the company and their principles. I have neglected to include anything about the most popular exhibit in the place, though. This machine!
Yes, of course we pressed the button.
How will I get that home though? The answer was, stuff it in my suitcase and hope for the best. It survived the journey as you can tell from the title photo of this post, too.
But how is it going to fit in my journal?