I received a 1,000-piece puzzle for Christmas in the fifth grade. Its picture showed the scene from the 1982 movie “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” where the beloved alien hides among the stuffed animals in Gertie’s closet.
The puzzle took a lot of time to complete. I worked on it here and there, starting with the edges and pieced together different parts in the middle as I found matching pieces. Sometimes my older sister and one younger one (the youngest was an infant) would join me. Finally finished, the puzzle remained on a large poster board for a time. Eventually, I took it apart and put the pieces back in the box.
My children got puzzles for Christmas and other occasions over the years. In July 2015, I bought one of Lucy the Elephant when visiting the six-story structure in Margate, New Jersey. We put it together a few days after we came home from our beach trip. My son especially enjoys puzzles. While he hasn’t reached the throes of 1,000-piece puzzles, we’ve had one or two that had 100-plus pieces.
Puzzles have a way of not only producing a picture once put together, they also have a way of bringing people together. Sitting down to match and think can bring fun, happiness, relaxation and, in some cases, frustration (especially with elusive puzzle pieces!). Additionally, puzzles work people’s brains, develop memory and build up problem-solving skills.
Monday (Jan. 29, 2018) was National Puzzle Day was celebrated. According to the website www.nationaldaycalendar.com, the occasion began in 2002 with Jodi Jill, a syndicated newspaper puzzle maker and professional quiz maker. She created the observance to share her enjoyment of not just jigsaw puzzles, but crosswords, trivia, brain teasers, Soduku and the like.
In Schuylkill County, Claudia Gross, Orwigsburg Area Free Public Library director, had multiple boxes of puzzles displayed for purchase or trade (people could trade an old puzzle of theirs for one offered by the library). According to a Republican-Herald article published Tuesday (Jan. 30, 2018), Gross has observed the puzzle day for the past four years after learning of it on the radio.
Doing a puzzle might be a nice respite from the technology that seems to occupy time for many of us. Put down the electronic device for a bit and join a friend, relative or significant other. Use your brain power to solve a puzzle or create a pretty picture. It might inspire you to do another, and another and …
You get the picture. Now piece it together!