On Jigsaw Puzzles

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ESCAPE FROM FRAMES

The stories are listed in the order they were received, most recent last.
See earlier stories, on Page One.
Go right to the latest story received.


from "EA"--6 April 2002:
I found myself about 1998 drawn to the Wysocki puzzles. I purchased a couple and enjoyed the relaxation it gave me. Visiting grandparents on the farm in southern Indiana, expecially in winter months, we would gather around the card table, visit and assemble a puzzle. I moved to the south and a few years later my grandmother came to stay with us. In her late 80's we put together a Christmas puzzle and glued it together, she passed away in 1991 at age 93. One day my mother said she found the puzzle we had put together and stuck behind a large dresser and to come get it and to my surprize is was a Charles Wysocki. Looking through old puzzles in the attic another when he was with Americana puzzles that she had purchased years before. I was hooked I have 42 last count. I like to think that she led me back to this wonderful hobby. Thank you for this site.


from "AM"--6 May 2002:
A Lucky "Break"
About 50 years ago I was standing with several other boys when we decided to lob stones over the neighbor's house. Well, I let one slip from my grasp and instead of going over the roof, it hit and broke a small window next to the neighbor's living room fireplace. Needless to say, all my friends scattered to the wind, but I was so scared that my feet were rooted to the spot. The "cranky old man" who owned the house came running out the front door and I confessed to being the guilty party responsible for breaking his window. I expressed my sincere remorse and promised to tell my father and get the window fixed. That evening my dad and I stopped at the gentleman's house and as we were leaving, he asked me to wait a minute while he opened a coat closet door and reached up to take something off of the top shelf. Lo and behold, it was a beautiful 300-piece Whitman Tekwood Puzzle of "The Sea Witch" under full sail on the ocean. He gave it to me for "being honest and not running away". I have always loved making jigsaw puzzles, but to this day the Whitman puzzle has a special place in my heart and memory.


from "SW"--8 May 2002:
Hi! Would like to let you know how helpful your puzzle listing of the Wysocki puzzles has been! I have a lot of puzzles, and as they were completed, and then put away, I kept wondering what I was going to do with them. A garage sale is NOT my idea of a good way to dispense with puzzles, especially in light of the fact that many of the ones I have, although not old, were quite expensive - particularly some of the 2,000 piece Springbok/Hallmark puzzles. Just for fun, I tried checking online auction sites to see if there was a place to list puzzles. Lo and behold, I found Wysocki puzzles were selling for REAL MONEY! Go figure! I had a bunch of them, including some stored for a long time downstairs, which I knew I hadn't even gotten around to opening.

Wondering what I had, I started eyeballing the auctions, and a few days into this, came across a puzzle list - which I purchased. It has been my lifeline to Wysocki puzzles, and I'm very thankful I found it! After I got the list, I set it aside, and eventually went through my puzzles to see what I had. What became the PROBLEM, however, was the ones I DIDN'T have! I ignored the list for quite some time - although I continued to purchase the new puzzles as they came out. Then, about 6 weeks ago, I came across my list again, and for some reason, I started looking to complete my collection! I began with 32 puzzles - and in the last 6 weeks, have found all but FOUR of the Wysocki puzzles and purchased them through the internet auctions. When on earth I'm going to have time to put them all together is anyone's guess - but it sure was FUN tracking them all down, and trying to figure out what all these "nameless" puzzles were. About four weeks into my 6-week buying spree - after I had drag/copied pictures from every auction I could to attempt to picture-id what I was looking for, I was clued in to the fact that your site existed. Oh, what I could have done with it to save aggravation, had I known about it earlier!

I chose not to collect the really old stuff from Colorforms and before, mostly because it appears that the artwork was duplicated in the later puzzles anyway, but I am now only 4 puzzles shy of completing the set of 108 - well, with 6 new introductions - 114 Wysocki puzzles. Thanks again for a great site! I hope I don't get hooked on any more types of puzzles, but I suppose, now that the word is out that Hallmark isn't going to do puzzles any more . . .here I go again? Hmmm! Thanks again for the help - I've been referring people selling puzzles over to your site to help them ID what they are selling - maybe it will help them "find" the four puzzles I'm still missing!

Sincerely,
"SW"


from "alfm"--27 May 2002:
It had never occurred to me that there were seconds in jigsaw puzzles until recently when I encountered what I believe to be one. Just recently I completed a puzzle called CAT FAMILY. The puzzle was made by [a major American puzzle maker]. I complement this company for using recycled materials to make their boxes. For me this was quite a difficult puzzle. Since I am not a very good puzzler I much prefer around 500 pieces to anything larger. Those of you who love the puzzles with high numbers of pieces would probably consider this one a breeze. Before I ever started putting this puzzle together I realized there was something strange about it. As I turned the pieces right side up I discovered that some pieces introduced a bluish color that was not pictured on the box. Now that the puzzle is completed I can see that this color is scattered in various places throughout the picture. Since I don't know how puzzles are made I am just guessing at what could have happened. It appears as though when this picture was printed a plate used in the process had not been properly cleaned after a previous use and some of the color used formally got on this picture. Somehow this picture was missed by an inspector. Has anyone else found a puzzle that you thought was a second? After all, this was really a very nice puzzle.
"alfm"


from "CH"--24 July 2002:
Jigsaw Puzzles are pretty addicting. I can't remember the exact date, but I remember everything else. It was back in the 80's, Dayton, Ohio. I had been working puzzles most of the winter, just for something else to do. I was getting pretty good at it. It wasn't taking me long to put one together. So to give myself a new challenge, I bought a 2000 piece puzzle. Milton Bradley's Super Big Ben, Mt. Hood, Oregon... to be exact. I still have it. It was a Thursday morning, when I started this puzzle, the kids helped after school, not finding the right pieces, they would get frustrated and leave after awhile. Then my husband sat down after he got home from work, he found a piece, then another one, he was hooked. I had worked on it most of the day and we worked on it into the night. We did manage to tear ourselves away long enough for a few hours of sleep. Friday morning: After finding a few more pieces, my husband was off to work and with my morning coffee I went to work again, putting pieces in. So much for the housework. I couldn't stop...I think I must of lost weight from not eating. Friday, turned into Saturday, Saturday into Sunday and by Sunday at 4pm the puzzle was done!! All 2000 pieces. Now I suppose you are wondering how come I remember this so well. It just so happens that I had bought 5 lotto tickets Wednesday afternoon, when I bought the puzzle. I completely forgot all about them. Until Sunday at 4:10pm. I checked the numbers and guess what??? No, we didn't win the BIG one, but we did have 5 numbers. Had ya going there for a minute...didn't I ? But still, for us the 5 numbers was the most we've ever won. The ONLY time we ever won, anything. We don't have a lotto here in Oklahoma, but I still might get the puzzle out again one of these days. Maybe this Winter, for old time sake.
"CH"


from "B7"--7 September 2002:
My husband & I would like to add some stories of what we felt were our most difficult puzzles. First, was one of King Tut's chair (I think we got this at the Smithsonian): once the chair was finished, the rest of the puzzle was just purple! Several years ago, for First Night (which had an international theme), we thought the Boston Museum's origami cranes puzzle would be a great idea: people would stop in, learn how to make an origami crane, then spend some time helping put the 1,000 pc. puzzle together--We decided to have the frame already assembled & THAT should have warned us this wasn't a one-nighter--no matter how many people tried!! It was a doozie & we finished it in March or April of that year! Other mind-bogglers are those with all the pieces cut the same. We had a Fantasy puzzle of the night sky with Pegasus outlined - when we got to the last piece - it wouldn't fit! My husband then carefully took it apart in sections until he found the wrong/right piece! Fun, fun, fun. Has anyone had problems with "Lucky Lady" - a Springbok puzzle - white background filled with clover & ladybugs? We finally turned it over & found it was easier to do with the all green background! A funny story about Springbok's Renaissance Christmas - 1500 pieces - pretty tough. We bought it over the internet & seller wasn't sure all the pieces were there (I think they had tried it & had given up on it), but loving angels & the Met's beautiful displays at Christmas, we decided to chance it. Well, we worked on it for several weeks & at the end one piece was missing! We turned the dining room table over (& it's a heavy one!) got on our hands & knees & "combed" the rug & floor - to no avail. My husband decided to "make" the missing piece (it was mostly brown, anyway, & we had plenty of cardboard in all thicknesses). He carefully traced the image & set it aside to "do later". Some time later, I was using my handy-dandy Swiffer &, lo & behold, when I brought it out from under the radiator THERE WAS THE MISSING PIECE! Oh, yes, we had already taken the puzzle apart & put it back in the box - but we had the "pattern" & knew it was the missing piece. Other frustrating things: puzzles w/missing pieces - then I'll find the same puzzle at a yard sale & hope to have ONE GOOD PUZZLE - but the pieces won't fit!!! Puzzles are cut different ways! This has happened many times, so now I know better, but still try. Yes, real puzzle buffs. We buy, exchange & trade all the time with all the family--brothers & sisters, children & grandchildren.
"B7"


from "anonymous"--20 August 2002:
...When I was a kid in the mid-1950's and CinemaScope was the latest big thing, I remember seeing a Waddington's CinemaScope jigsaw puzzle on sale. You had to have a large table to do these wide angle, oblong puzzles, which were scenes from big CinemaScope movies of the time. I'm sure I remember one of Three Coins in the Fountain with a Roman fountain as the puzzle picture....
"anonymous"


from "Nancy B"--19 September 2002:
Hi Jim, After reading some of the stories people have sent in, I was reminded of one that happened a few years ago. My husband and I used to travel a lot and, in the process, went looking for puzzles at thrift shops and the like. We found one once with a picture of all red and black lady bugs. Foolishly thinking it would be fun to work we bought it. The puzzle was made by a known company and the plastic bag had not been opened. Well, we never worked it and put it up with our other great finds and sort of forgot about it. Then came the day I was ordering from this company for our store and was visiting with the customer service person and happened to mention the lady bug puzzle. She started laughing so hard I finally asked what was so funny. She said that the company had bought 25000 lady bugs from a supplier to photograph and had them shipped in. The lady bugs arrived and all was set up to shoot the pictures the next day. Unfortunatly when it came time to shoot the pictures all the lady bugs had died (they didn't know why) and rather than lose all that had been put into the project, they turned over and posed all the lady bugs so that the pictures could be taken, and the puzzle was produced. So the lady bug puzzle was of all dead lady bugs. I think I still have it somewhere.
"Nancy B"


from "DN"--29 September 2002:
Hi,
Looking at the stories you receive brought back one of the happenings of my child hood puzzle making. One I never really never forgot. Have told this many times when talking about puzzles.
My Aunt was visiting us for a week when I was probably 10 yr's old.
We worked on a ship picture puzzle all week and it was pretty close to being done. And then, I don't know what came over me but I was looking at the dark cloud behind the ship and said "I think there is a storm coming." And then, I said, "here comes the North Wind."
And, lo and behold, I must have blew pretty hard, as the whole puzzle went flying. And the look on my Aunts face I will never forget. And needless to say she never put a puzzle to gather with me again.
Even funnier she never said a word:)...
That still sticks in my mind, and wish I hadn't done that. But still laugh when I think about it.
"DN"


from Lisa--13 May 2003:
Hi,
I started working on puzzles when my father died. I found it very soothing and relaxing, just sitting down with a cup of tea and a big puzzle in front of me. I could think and talk when working on my puzzle, and the feeling afterwards was great - I felt like I had slept for a while and that I had gained some strength. I still enjoy puzzles and I find it as useful as meditation. I just love listening to my favourite music while working, it is really great. Some of my friends are also into puzzles and it is hard to keep them away from it when they visit me. Unfortunately, here in Sweden where I live we donīt have as many interesting and beautiful jigsaw puzzles as "over there". So I have to be happy with the Swedish royal family and the blue waters of Stockholm. If anyone knows a good jigsaw puzzle shop in Sweden I would be grateful.
Love, Lisa.

from tb--10 November 2003:
while i was still in high school i began putting puzzles together to fill my evenings. i have quite a collection stored away somewhere, after that it was college and work - i'd still spend my few and far between free evenings working on puzzles. while i waited for the arrival of my children i kept doing puzzles---- recently while unemployed and getting very depressed i pulled out some puzzles that had been purchased for me or by myself at sales and began working on them again--- now the kids' friends come over and we sit for hours talking and working on the puzzles... seems to have come full circle. i can't think of a better way to bond with the kids and keep them off the streets and out of trouble. i will be working on puzzles on these long cold winter evenings and planning for spring sales to gather more...
thanks, tb- michigan

from "DT"--2 July 2004:
When I was about 8 years old I had a sickness that required me to stay flat in bed for 3 months. My parents both worked so my Uncle would come and stay with my brother and I while my parents were gone. My Mother worked at a Novelty Factory where they made jigsaw puzzles. She ran the press that cut the puzzles. One day she asked her boss if she could bring some of the rejects home for me to work while she was at work. He told her Absolutely Not. That she was to bring home a good one every evening for me which she did. The next day my Uncle would bring the piano bench over to my bed and I would lie on my stomach crosswise of the bed while he sat on the other side of the bench and we would work the puzzle. I remember some of them had a different picture on each side so we had to figure out which side of the piece went to the puzzle we were working. When we got one side done we would tear it apart and work the other side. That is what got me started working jigsaw puzzles. I am now 80 years old and still love to work the puzzles. The ones back then were probably only about 150 pieces. I prefer at least 1000 piece ones now.
"DT"

from "ED"--27 July 2004:
Hi...I am addicted, big time!
Whenever there is nothing good (hardly ever) on T.V. I get a puzzle started. However, I am not one to disassemble them. Every puzzle I do, and there have been many, I laminate them, my husband makes a frame for them and I have them hanging all over my house and have even given them as gifts. It has been proven that puzzles are a great mind relaxer and brain stimulator.
I have done every theme and I believe most all of Thomas Kinkade's cottages.
I got "hooked" in the 70's after my husband fell ill and I was sitting in the intensive care unit. There was a puzzle laid out on the table for anyone to work at. I stared at it for a long time and all of a sudden I went over and started putting pieces in and I couldn't believe how the time flew by.
Before I retired, I limited myself to just doing puzzles on the weekend in the winter months but now that I've retired, I do at least 2 per week. With the vegatable garden needing my attention now and canning season is here, I have to put my hobby on the back burner but I'm never too tired to work on one at night and it sure helps me to sleep. I may be 67 and retired, but with my keyboard playing, puzzles, outside work and canning for my family, I am busier now than when I was working. Thank God!
Sincerely,
"ED"

from "ED"--16 October 2005:
Hello,
My family and I have been collecting Wysocki puzzles for many years. I was very sad when Mr. Wysocki died and was so afraid that the puzzles might be discontinued. I am so glad that has not happened. I love his art and I love jigsaw puzzles.
About 16 years ago we even did a whole wall in puzzles, some of which were Wysocki's. I now regret that, though, because we sold the house a few years later and those puzzles went with the house! I currently own about 130 Wysocki puzzles, of various sizes and from many of the different series. My 2 children, both now grown and married at ages 23 and 24, share my love for these puzzles and my 2 year-old grandson likes to try to help when we work them. My daughter and her family recently evacuated from New Orleans because of Katrina and have come to live with me in TX. One of the things she salvaged to bring with her was a Wysocki puzzle she had recently purchased for me. I am always looking for Wysocki's to add to my collection and my kids help when they find them for me. Someday, when I retire from teaching, maybe I'll even have time to work all of the puzzles!!!! Until then, I'll work them when I can, and add to my collection as I find new ones.
Sincerely,
Ga. in TX

from ""--10 November 2009:
Hi Jim,

When I was about 4 years old (Iím 51 now) I used to have a wooden jig-saw puzzle, it only had about 12 or 16 pieces to it and it had woodland animals dressed in clothes (if I remember correctly) and it had a carriage going across it with the animals sitting in it, dressed up and all the other ones alongside it, on either side, as if they were cheering on those who were in the carriage.

It was bright and cheery and I never did know what happened to it and it has always bugged me.

My late father used to work on the buses and when he was on a really early turn and came home about mid-morning, I can remember sitting on the front step waiting and watching for him to come down the road and all the time I just kept doing this puzzle and undoing it, then doing it again, itís funny what you remember isnít it !

Kind regards

"JJC", the UK

 
 

Folks, we invite you to send in interesting stories about jigsaw puzzles. These might be a story about a funny thing that happened while people were putting a puzzle together, or about how someone acquired a puzzle, or a reminiscence about jigsaw parties years ago, or about a person you knew years ago, who loved to do jigsaw puzzles, or your thoughts about jigsaw puzzles, the people who work them, the companies which make them--the sky's the limit!

Chris McCann's book,Master Pieces: the Art History of Jigsaw Puzzles.

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