The reader replied again:
Thanks for the 'extended' response to my email. I expected an auto responder to reply ! So back atcha.
Regarding the Santa and Reindeer project:
Regarding your comment: "Every year, my Dad would buy the magazine and try to figure out how he could justify the plywood and paint for the thing, when he could barely afford shoes for his kids. So my memories aren't quite the same as yours, but they're important to me nonetheless."
I wouldn't be so sure that you were alone
You should treasure these memories (as I think you do, considering inspiration for your website) I don't think I had it much different, we didn't ever do any elaborate outdoor displays. I had received the magazine subscription as a BIG birthday gift in the summer, and when I came across the Dec issue, this Christmas project was in my grasp, and somehow I enlisted my Dad.
We had a fixer house and my Dad was very good at fixing and teaching fixing ! My display (mine and my Dads 8) was made from salvaged plywood and materials, we used our found collection of old assorted, mostly dried out, cans of oil based paint and brushes to make it come to life. Our house was only a single story so the whole thing was restricted in action movement..
My dad cleverly converted an old automated ironing mangle that we had http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mangle_(machine
) (ownership via an unclear mongrel pedigree) to lift and lower the display. The mangle, an integrated table and steam heated roller clothes press, was hidden behind the reindeer and staked to the ground. The lifting rope wound around the ironing arm roller, as the reindeer moved up and down it engaged the mangle rotation direction lever and activated the display. Pulling up, the mangle rotated in one direction until a rod hooked to the reindeer shifted to the opposite direction. The process reversed on the down stroke and the rope coiled the other way, After some fine tuning the reindeer worked hard all season that year. We lived in Arizona so wet weather wasn't a problem.
I think we might have an old 8 mm movie, but I haven't come across any to date. Since this is the first time that I've thought of this in such detail, I'm sure that i'll remember more as time goes on...will keep you posted.
Looking at this link caused a bunch of memories to flood back ! http://books.google.com/books?id=beQDAA ... &q&f=false