Picking up the Pieces


               Sometimes things fall and you have to pick them up.  If you don’t, the puzzle can never be complete.  In Grandma Betty’s case, pieces of the puzzle often fell (and we were the ones always picking them up).

                No matter the season, time of day, or year, Grandma Betty was always working on a puzzle.  Cats, dogs, hot air balloons, under water scenes, cottages in the country, flowers, and pictures of fruit always lay half completed on a table in the living room of the cottage.  Since Grandma Betty spent all summer days up in Saugatuck, never heading home to Chicago, she had a lot of time on her hands.  Seeing as her grandkids and most friends weren’t around during the week, puzzles took up my grandmas attention.  If she wasn’t outside reading or spending time with her beloved birds, she was inside working on that puzzle. 

                Grandma Betty had a specific strategy for completing (most of which never got there) her puzzles.  First, she would put a blanket on the table (this was supposed to help her from losing the pieces).  Then she would lay all the pieces around the edges of the table (this is why I think she always lost pieces).  Like most people, she would then start from the outside of the puzzle and work her way into the middle.  Sometimes I would see the same puzzle on the table for a whole summer (or a whole winter). 

                Normally on nice days when my cousins and I were up there, we wouldn’t help.  I think we actually caused a lot of the pieces to be lost because of the fact that we ran through that cottage like bats out of hell.  On rainy days though, our lives were a different story.  If we couldn’t entice Grandma Betty with a game of War, we were stuck with the puzzle, and man was I bad at puzzles. 

                Looking back on this time now, I am glad that I spent this time with her.  I know a lot of people who weren’t as lucky as I was.

7 thoughts on “Picking up the Pieces

  1. Jigsaw puzzles are so fun. It’s interesting to learn of others techniques for putting it together. My father-in-law is an avid puzzle maker and he has his own style too. I find it very hard to walk past one and not find a piece that fits. There’s something satisfying when the pieces slips into place.

  2. There’s something really cool about the connection between summer houses and puzzles. Or maybe that’s just with me because I always associate the tow from my own experiences! But I think many do. It’s symbolic- quietly putting the pieces of the puzzle together; just like the summer house rejuvinates and quietly puts you, “back together,” reminding you about the big picure. Great post. 🙂

  3. My great aunt tried to teach me how to crochet and how to speak Polish. I wasn’t interested then, but I would give anything for her to be able to ask me again. You were lucky.

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