Saturday, March 1, 2014

Jigsaw Puzzle

I could subtitle this post "Now I Am Officially an Old Man."

When I was home in Florida, I retrieved this jigsaw puzzle from the bottom of one of our hall closets. It was a puzzle I had as a child, and one I remember putting together several times. The box is long gone. It now lives in an ancient, vaguely sticky Country Hearth bread bag (price 84 cents, if that gives any indication of its age). More than 30 years have passed since I last put it together.

Some of the pieces are badly battered, having languished on a bedroom floor or been sucked up in a vacuum cleaner. (On second thought, if they'd been sucked up, it's doubtful they would have been retrieved.) Weirdly, some of them I remember, their odd patterns of shadows and colors, their amoebic shapes.

I decided to put the puzzle together again, for old times' sake. So I brought it back to London and this week I laid it out on the dining room table. For a couple of evenings, when Dave went to bed, I sat down and spent a little time with it.

Doing a puzzle is an interesting process. When I first laid out the pieces, all 300 of them, it took me a while to find even two that would fit together. But as the pieces coalesced, the process gained speed because the spectrum of choices was reduced -- process of elimination. I'd never considered the mathematics of puzzles!

This is what I was left with: seven missing pieces, and one that's just a hunk of cardboard, the image layer having fallen off long ago.

The picture was taken in Vermont, if I remember the long-lost box correctly. That farm is probably a Wal-Mart now!*

Anyway, I had fun with this little walk down an autumnal memory lane, and I must say I kind of get the attraction of puzzles. They are absorbing. I hope I don't start doing them with any regularity, though. I'll save that for retirement.

*Well, maybe not -- apparently there are only four Wal-Marts in Vermont.


  1. i love jig saw puzzles. we used to do them when we first had the beach house when I was growing up. and when the grandkids started coming out to the country house we would have one out except for the last couple of years. Over the winter holiday, one of the grandgirls pulled out one of the old puzzles.

  2. My grandmother used to do jigsaw puzzles with me. I am no good at them at all. I get frustrated. But maybe it's time to try again.

  3. This kind of reminds me of life...some pieces are battered...the others fit together perfectly...etc.

  4. I LOVE to work jigsaw puzzles! You may remember that I was supposed to work one before my 50th birthday - but my birthday is Monday & I haven't worked a puzzle yet. I crochet instead.

    I kind of like the missing pieces :)

  5. I usually lose patience with puzzles, I hurl the pieces across the room or tear them to fit...that probably says too much about my character.

  6. I love puzzles, and I think I'll pick one up since it's been so long since I've put one together. Thanks for the nudge.

  7. I used to love doing puzzles when I was young. I would put on Linda Ronstadt albums (Silk Purse was on repeat and A Retrospective was close behind) and sing along as I put them together. I did mostly farm scenes as well. Farms in the fall. And then I would use masking tape to hold them together and hang them on the walls. My poor parents went along. They even allowed puzzles to hang in the kitchen.

    The puzzles gave way to paint by number. We never did finish the huge one of The Last Supper. I still have it here if you feel ambitious and want to finish that one.

  8. Hahahaha, I love Linda Sue's comment!

  9. Now you have me thinking...I have one I never completed buried somewhere under summer chair cushions in the sun room. It's a picture of cows...totally black and white - which is probably why I was unable to complete it - LOL!

  10. Hmm...if it's really true that only older folks do jigsaw puzzles I'm not sure what that says about me! ;) I love doing puzzles. They are good fun and good for the brain. We do them at the cabin more than we do them here, but I love them. The harder, the better!

  11. Funny how as soon as some one else does a puzzle, I want to do one too. That lasts long enough to get the box out and look at the pieces for 4 minutes ........ frustration .... put box away.
    Oh well, maybe this time i'll last longer.