The Queen of Cards, as in greetings cards, is Ms. Betty Kimble. This delightful artist can be found at “Keep in Touch” in the Shops of Marco every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday between the hours of 10:00am – 3:00pm. She sits between a rows of greeting cards busily doodling her next creation, she is not hard to miss.
Betty is one of the main attractions at “Keep in Touch” at “The Shops of Marco.” Patrons walk in the door and go straight to Betty, if not to converse to purchase one of her many beautiful sets of cards. It doesn’t matter what the theme is, it seems as if she has accommodated every holiday, occasion, and hobby on her signature cards. Whatever the customer asks, the card is sitting on the rack, if not she can create the character or item within minutes. She free hands the drawing using colored markers. “Art has been therapy. God has given me a talent for a reason. I can get lost in my art. I don’t have a worry in the world.”
Betty hails from Kettering, Ohio (near Dayton). She met her husband Ed in high school. Betty waited until her husband returned from the war before they got married. Three sons later tragedy struck. Her husband was on a deer hunting trip with his middle son and friends. On the return trip home the driver of her husband’s vehicle fell asleep behind the wheel and everyone was killed except her son. Although her son was spared it was years and years of recovery from the injuries received from the accident.
It was at this point Betty decided to take her drawing from the kitchen table into the hospital. She saw the suffering her son went through and wanted to bring happiness back to the lives of the patients. She would sit in the lounge of the psychiatric ward and begin drawing. Soon enough a patient or group would begin to crowd around her and ask her to draw pictures for them. Betty said it was so rewarding. She felt as if she was reaching these people and was able to draw them out with her art. In addition she would visit rehabilitation patients and ask them what they would like her to draw. They would make a request and she would go out into the hallway, draw their picture and return to their bedside with her “doodle” which brought nothing but a big smile to their faces.
She was very excited and happy to work with patients. From there she began doing outdoor craft shows. She credits her good fortune to her oldest son. After her husband died, he took charge. “He was only twenty one at the time with a baby on the way, going to college. He became the man of the house and took responsibility not only for me, but my two younger sons. He put his brothers through school.”
In fact, the oldest son is who brought her down to Marco Island. He invested in several properties. She laughed remembering thinking that Marco Island was nothing but gators and snakes. She is laughing, but out of happiness. She lives in a beautiful home and at 84 years of age still enjoys her art. She beamed with pride as she held her hand out and said, “See, steady as a rock, the hands don’t shake”!
It was a chance meeting that she found a home at “Keep In Touch”. She strolled in to visit the new card, gift, and shipping shop and asked “the boys”, Mike and Uri the owners if they would display her cards in their shop. Before long with the popularity of the card sales, she became a regular inside the shop. Betty couldn’t say enough kind words about the owners. “They have been just great! I just love what I do and they have given me a home here.”
Betty is as popular as Mike’s dog, Lucy. When customers come in the door, they ask for either Betty, Lucy, or both. Take the time to stop in and meet Betty. She is full of life with a dynamo personality and a gift to make you smile with her beautiful greeting cards. If she doesn’t have what you want, which is rare, two shakes of a marker will create your personal need. We can all learn a lesson from Betty. She turned her loss into a find and making people happy has been her own personal joy.