Sara and Eddie Jackson
Sara was born in Mountain Lake, Minnesota, to a strict Mennonite family. She was the oldest of three children, with two younger brothers, Frank and Dennis. Sara's mother, the youngest of twelve children, sewed clothes for her family, and Sara's dolls. They lived in town near the school, and had a barn in the backyard. Sara's interest in performing started young, when she put a box with a hooped oilcloth on her toy wagon and pretended to be a pioneer with her girlfriends and dolls. She put on plays with her friends after school, and often rehearsed skits from the newspaper cartoon section.
She had a theater in the barn, that was up in the hay loft, and dressed up in clothes that her uncle got from window displays at Dayton's where he worked. Her brother, Frank, shot the girls with binder guns, and then the girls wanted all the boys to go.

Sara's mother was concerned that Sara wanted to become an actress and go to "sinful Hollywood". During the winter, the high school football field was flooded by the fire department for skating. After attending the Ice Follies in Minneapolis, Sara shortened her coat, wore a crown, and practiced figure skating with friends. Dancing was considered sinful by her relatives, but skating was fine.

Although her mother would not allow Sara to paint the Mountain Lake water tower for one hundred dollars, she could paint vehicles in town for five cents a letter. With the money she made, she hitchhiked to Mankato with her girlfriends and bought clothes. After graduating from Mountain Lake High School, Sara moved to the big city and attended Minneapolis Business College. She shared an apartment with a girlfriend, and went skating at Loring Park. Dressed in a classy red skating outfit, she caught the attention of John (known as Nobel) Lysfjord, who had come to skate. They were soon skating together, and took the street car, at seven cents a ride, to St. Paul to see the ice palace. After graduating from business college, she got a job for fifteen dollars a week, but soon quit that job and went to work at the war plant for one hundred dollars a week.

After going together for three years, Sara and Nobel were married at his parents house in 1943. Sara's family bought gas with their rationing coupons, and drove to the city for the wedding. Sara quit her job, they bought a house, and their son, Jack, was born in 1946.

In June of 1953, Sara attended the Puppeteers of America Festival that was held at the University of Minnesota in Northrop Auditorium. Even though she was pregnant, she attended the four day festival. She met several TCP members, including John Shirley and Mildred Mitton.

Her son, Tom, was born, and the family moved to a new house in 1954. Sara and Nobel, who was an industrial engineer for Honeywell, became locally well-known for their backyard ice skating rinks, which were colorfully painted and set to music. They taught figure skating to the neighborhood children.

At an evening school class, Sara met Alma Ahl, who was also a housewife with young children. They both wanted a hobby to do at home, so Sara went to the library and checked out books on marionettes. She followed instructions, and carved marionettes out of balsa wood, with parts weighted in proper places. The marionettes still fell apart, so she continued working on them and they came alive. Alma and Sara worked on their first production, "Red Riding Hood", for about a year. Their first show was held in Sara's basement for the neighborhood children, and they used a record player for the background music and a microphone for their voices. They soon started taking bookings at $5.00 a show. They chose the name "Hausfrau Puppeteers" which means housewife in German. They performed for many groups, including the Minneapolis Public library where they received one hundred dollars for four performances and thought they were rich.

In 1956, Sara and Alma attended their first TCP Meeting, at the home of Ann and Cedric Lindholm.They had a hilarious time, especially watching Nellie Fry and Mary Williams laughing the whole time. Bob Longfield was President, and started discussing a group production of Ali Baba. They joined the club.

In 1957, Sara and Alma were mentioned in Cedric Adams column in the newspaper, about their performance at a school carnival. Sara made a Cedric Adams marionette, who years later was turned into "JunkFood Junkie", with Hi Hos, Twinkies, and Kentucky Fried Chicken characters following him in a variety number.

A TCP puppet fest was held in 1958 at the Ahl's residence. Bob Longfield was President, and several members did puppet skits. The admisson for the day was twenty five cents a person, and the money was put into the club treasury which usually had about five dollars total.

Sara was TCP President in 1959, and busy performing shows with Alma. They also helped with the Ali Baba production that was performed by the guild in the early 1960's and again in 1971. Alma made some of the puppets, but never performed in the show as Sara did. They both performed their own Ali Baba show to school assemblies.

In 1963, Nobel passed away from a heart attack. Sara went into puppetry full time, to supplement her income and raise her two sons. Sara and Alma performed for many organizations.

Sara went to her first P. of A. National in Detroit, on a bus with several TCP members. They took in Chicago and saw miniature theater shows. John Shirley, who now lived there, had the members over for dinner.

Jack, Sara's son, married Pat in 1968. Pat assisted Sara with some variety shows that were done without Alma. Sara taught puppetry to groups, and used her puppet kits for workshops.

For fun, Sara went dancing at the Prom Ballroom, and there she met Ed Jackson. He was facinated with her marionettes, since he had performed with them for barracks shows in Europe during his Air Force career of twenty five years. His wife had passed away in England where they lived, and Ed had moved to Minnesota to be near his stepdaughter. Ed and Sara were married in 1971, in a small church wedding. They honeymooned in Europe, and enjoyed puppet shows in the different countries, including Russia where they stayed for a week.

Back home, Ed became involved with Sara's puppet shows. They soon became known as the Jackson marionettes, and presented variety shows on an open nightclub stage. In 1973, Sara and Alma performed "Rumpelstiltskin", as the Hausfrau Puppeteers, but soon Alma quit performing. Sara and Ed now performed all the puppet shows together, and had a booth (for five years) in Las Vegas, for the big International Fair Association. They had a very popular circus show in the mid 1980's, and performed at the Minnesota State Fair for five seasons. After a long illness, Ed passed away in 1989.

Sara retired, but still brought her marionettes out for special events. She attended our Mini National P. of A. Festival in 1994, and enjoyed the workshops and shows. In February 1995, Sara passed away from heart complications.

Sara and Ed were known as talented performers, and good friends, who turned their interest in puppetry into a successful business.

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