The Puppet Lady . . .

Puppet Lady

Joyzelle I. Wade, or “Joy”, fell in love with puppets over 70 years ago, when she was only 12 years old and her mother helped her make a small clown puppet out of a stuffed sock [“Buttons” after it’s button eyes,] and helped her visit patients in a children’s hospital. Before the clown puppet, Joy, was shy and afraid to approach the injured and hurting children, but armed with Buttons, she could make them laugh and bring light to their eyes. Joy found joy in reaching out to others and serving with the puppet!

In college, she took a class in puppetry and began attending the National Puppeteer Conventions where she learned lots more and gained many new ideas in the use of the puppets. As a young new teacher, putting her husband through law school, she loved using puppets with her students, and was also able to use them a lot in her church affiliations.

When her family began to come along, she added each family member to the puppet troop and each one began puppeteering as soon as they were able to hold a puppet. The little ones always stole the show.

Her puppeteering went through many stages. One year, because of a fire in their home, the Wades were faced with booked performances and shows, but no stage, and no complete cast of characters, scenery etc. for their usual story shows. With quick ingenuity, they took the puppets that survived, asking what each puppet could do? This gave birth to a new type of show—performed with no stage where the puppeteer and the puppet were both part of the act—hence was born their trademark style, “Performance Puppetry”—singing , dancing and interacting with the puppets. Joy has had the opportunity to teach classes at the National Puppeteers of America Conventions now in this style.

Over the 70 years, she has helped everyone of her own 5 children and 33 grandchildren find enough joy through performing with puppets that this year will mark the 30th year for the annual Cousin’s Christmas Puppet Show—a great Family tradition of doing several puppet shows together as an entire family group! Christmas would not be Christmas for the Wade Family without getting to do a show together! And now there are great-grandchildren joining the show.

Yes it has ben a Joyful Journey!!!

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