Saturday, November 3, 2012

Puppets, Oh My!

There are some days that once you look back and relive the simple, enchanting moments from the day, you are astounded at the beauty.  Today is just one of those days.

A visit from my mom always brings new adventures and explorations in Missouri.

Unknown to us (and perhaps much of the world) Independence, Missouri is home to the Puppetry Arts Institute.  Who would have guessed that situated in the heart of Harry Truman's hometown would be a unique and eclectic home to a wealth of puppets from around the world?  My mom and I definitely did not.  Thanks to AAA and their recommendation we headed on I-70 to the Puppetry Arts Institute (PAI) for a morning of enchantment.

We arrived in Independence and after a few U-turns made our way to the city street where the PAI is situated.  Nestled along the street we were welcomed by two delightful, older women.  The large room we entered was set up for a group of 25 boy scouts coming later in the day to learn the basics of puppetry (and perhaps go home with a finger puppet of their own or a painted head they painted themselves!)  The PAI is a museum and as such my mom and I expected to browse on our own and take in the history of puppetry and the special Pinocchio exhibit.  The puppet ladies, however, had a different idea.

Who knows how many visitors they have simply stopping by.  They were delighted to take us room by room and share their knowledge and love of puppetry.  We heard their personal stories and learned of the great puppeteers.  The vast collection included Chinese dragon puppets, the European Punch and Judy, and even the Broadway show Nunsense puppets.  Puppets, puppets, and more puppets!

Even a visit to the bathroom included puppet company.

We were convinced that if we lived a bit closer to Independence the enthusiasm of these ladies would bring us back for puppet demonstrations and puppet making.  We practically knew their life stories.

On the way out the door we were handed two finger puppets to remember our visit.

Eating lunch down the street following our adventures in puppets, we had our finger puppets on the table.

Our waiter excitedly asks where we got the puppets.

"I grew up playing with puppets.  I love them!"

My mom and I smiled.  We told him just down the street there is a museum dedicated to puppets.

Our waiter said, "Really?  I had no idea there was anything to do with puppets here."

We left Independence with our finger puppets and full hearts.  We also left with a desire to know more of the hidden treasures in our town.

What gems have you found right in your own backyard?


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