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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Mystery Rears Its Head -- Happily

Not all detective stories are solved, but we think one that just popped up is closed and may have a happy ending.

I received a Facebook note a few days ago from Ron VanLerberg in Shawnee Mission, Kans. Ron owns a pawn shop where a man brought in two knives with Lucille Holling’s name engraved. Ron wrote, “I Googled the names on the knives which brought up the Paddle-to-the-Sea book, which I remembered reading as a kid. My grandson's not quite two, but I think I'm going to order some of the Holling books for him to enjoy when get older.”

I wrote back that I was passing his note and the photos on to Joan Hoffman at the museum in Leslie, Mich. She responded quickly. “The top line gives the name of a company and ends with ‘and sons.’ The second and third lines tell the maker and address. The bottom line says, 'handmade’.”

She added, “According to one of Holling's letters, he bought a silver necklace for his sister in Taxco, Mexico while there on the Walt Disney trip in 1943. Taxco is near Mexico City. Oaxaca is southeast of Taxco. This seems to establish the date.”

So, there we have it. Mystery solved with a few magic clicks in this digital age of ours.

We’ll never catalogue all of the paintings the Hollings did and all the possessions that were theirs. But, like a sketch of a mountain man Glen Webster found, a copy of Sun and Smoke that turned up in a Montana thrift shop, and a military jacket Chris Martin came across in California, half the fun is chasing down details of the Hollings’ life. The other half lies in solving mysteries.

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