I was the youngest of 5 girls and, in 1942, when I was 9 we moved from New Jersey to Massachusetts. Our house was very large and, although it was far from elegant, it was a fun and comfortable place and I remember that we always had at least two jigsaw puzzles in progress.
In those days the fully interlocking puzzles were new and fairly expensive so it would be birthdays or Christmas when we got new ones. We would stock up and then trade with our friends and if that wasn’t available we’d just repeat a favorite one of our own.
Over the years my interest in jigsaw puzzles has never abated but recently an odd and discomforting thing happened. I was given the lovely 1,000 piece puzzle of Monet’s Garden at Giverny that you see in the picture.
Assembling the four edges was fairly easy but the monochromatic coloration and the small puzzle pieces made it near impossible for me. When my daughter and her husband came by they didn’t seem to have the same limitations and I had to finally admit to myself that old age was taking a toll on my eyes, not to mention my concentration and patience!
It wasn’t long after that that they presented me with the puzzle that is pictured here and I think I made some sort of derogatory remark such as “I’m not in kindergarten, you know” … only to find out that a good friend of theirs, a 90 year old retired judge, had given it to them to pass on to me.
I was embarrassed because I know the judge to be a brilliant man who had led a distinguished career and I figured if he enjoys the large piece puzzles who am I to turn up my nose at them.
I swallowed my pride and gave them a meek “thank you” … and, guess what? I found out that the puzzle was fun to assemble, the picture was lovely and I didn‘t have a headache when it was all put together!
In my last blog entry I talked about keeping the body moving and now I concentrate on the mind. It is a proven fact that daily stimulation of the mind is essential in maintaining a productive and active thought process. Of course there are many ways that this can be done but my favorite is with the old faithful … the NY Times Crossword puzzle.
This doesn’t mean that I have to subscribe to the paper or join a costly club. My well-worn paper-backed book, pictured here, is what works for me. I bought it about two years ago and it’s still one of the best bargains that I’ve ever found. When I saw that there were 1001 puzzles featured I did the math and found, to my delight, that this put the cost per puzzle at just a little over a penny! That was enough to convince this tight fisted New Englander to buy it and I still, at this date, have many puzzles left to solve.
As you see here there are 4 puzzles to each 8 ½ x 11 inch page.
And this proves to be another benefit of the book. The paper they are printed on is a sturdy, matte finish and I can easily tear out a page or two, fold them and carry them in my purse, along with a supply of those yellow Papermate pencils that serious puzzle workers couldn’t live without! Now I always have a puzzle on hand when caught in a waiting room with nothing to read.
I grant that there are many words in these puzzles that we will never use in casual conversation but that’s no excuse for letting our minds go stagnate. As I’ve said it’s my favorite exercise to ward off old-age brain-freeze but I’m sure you have some of your own and I’d love to hear about them.
At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.