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Jackie Loos column: Marionettes reflect children's play dates of past

8:15 PM, Jan. 17, 2013  |  Comments
Antique ornate mirror from Body by Fisher Estate.
Antique ornate mirror from Body by Fisher Estate.
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A story came to the shop in a box full of handmade marionettes, including the likes of Abraham Lincoln.

Also in the box was a book, "Puppet Plays for Children," and a letter from the person who made and owned the treasures. The letter-writer explains that she began working with marionettes as a hobby in 1931. She also presented plays to children's groups and even the PTA. Each of the dolls in the box was handmade by her, and the bodies are all cloth. She goes on to say that the heads were three types: muslin with painted face, cotton-stuffed cheese cloth with stitched features, and plastic wood head. These treasures are more than 75 years old and a bit tattered and fragile, but seeing them gave me a sense of what a real children's play date might have been like.

One of our consignors brought in a beautiful, ornate mirror from the 1940s. This mirror came from the Watersmeet Michigan estate of Lawrence Fisher, one of the Detroit's Fisher brothers of "Body by Fisher" fame. The brothers had pioneered the enclosed auto body and made millions selling to General Motors. Local lore has it that Fisher entertained President Eisenhower, who was fishing and golfing at the nearby Gateway golf course.

Fisher also entertained Bing Crosby and Lawrence Welk, who was regularly helping with dishes in the kitchen. It is very possible that one of these famous men actually looked into this splendid mirror. This gold-trimmed mirror found its way to central Wisconsin from Michigan's Upper Peninsula, from an estate in an area that once was a private fishing preserve of a few wealthy men.

What is a favorite treasure from your past? Do you know the story behind it? I would love to hear it, and I know others would, too.

Jackie Loos owns Jackie's Attique, a home consignment store featuring an assortment of timeless pieces. The gallery is at 20 Brown Blvd. in Rothschild and features antiques, home decor and furniture.

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