Sunday, January 19, 2003

Mirror collection reflects years of world travels

Prize possessions

By Marsie Hall-Newbold
Enquirer Contributor

Who: Jeanne Theissen, 71, of Fort Wright, a grandmother of 10 (with No. 11 due at the end of the month ), bridge player and globetrotter.

On display: Her collection of 27 diminutive decorative mirrors from 20 countries.

Where: Covering a wall in the master bathroom of the condo she shares with husband Paul, with whom she celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in December.

Souvenir hunter: "I've been collecting for about 11 years," Mrs. Theissen says. "The reason I bought the first one is I wanted to hide the switches for the lights and the Jacuzzi in our bathroom. Then we went on a cruise through the Panama Canal. Pre-cruise in San Diego, I found one that was reverse-painted, so I bought that there. Then, I found another in Colombia."

Master plan: "I thought, `This is so much fun that I'm going to look around every place we go and see if I can find a little mirror.' Every country has a way of decorating, and the mirrors are all so different. They are a great remembrance of our trips."

Acting out: The language barrier has not kept this souvenir hunter from finding what she wants.

"I have to pantomime in many of the stores," she says. "They'll usually bring out hand mirrors, then I have to motion `No, one that hangs on the wall.'"

Lovely to look at: Mrs. Theissen's collection includes a stainless-steel candleholder with a mirror from Sweden, a stained-glass mirror from Denmark, a tiny towel bar with a mirror that says "Good Morning" in Greek, a leaded-glass mirror with a piece of amber from Poland and a mirror with a colorful ceramic frame from Spain.

Her mirror from France is adorned with tiny birds. The one from Thailand is a carved wooden fish. Malaysia's is star-shaped. The Italian one includes Venetian glass. And the one from Morocco is framed with pieces of camel bone.

Tight squeeze: The only problem is that Mrs. Theissen's "wall of mirrors" is running out of space. She claims that "one wall is enough" and that she will not start on another.

"I have room for three or four more," she says. "We're going to Europe in July, and I hope to fill up the wall then. We'll be in England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Denmark, Norway and Brussels. So, there'll be lots of chances to pick up some more."

Share your prize possessions with Marsie Hall Newbold by mail: c/o The Cincinnati Enquirer, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati 45202; e-mail: Please include a daytime phone number.

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