Puzzling on which to keep, which to give away
by Juanita Hughes
January 23, 2013 12:00 AM | 1081 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Juanita Hughes
Juanita Hughes
Although I didn’t make any New Year resolutions recently, I did chastise myself about my tendency to hang onto “things.”

With no specific plan in mind, I have begun to clean out closets and shelves and pass along my “treasures,” hoping somebody else will “treasure” them, at least for a while.

First to go was about 20 jigsaw puzzles.

Some of them I had stored intact, hidden away on cardboard under a bed, gathering dust, useless to me anymore. Some represented hours spent during bouts of illness or depression or boredom, a sort of pick-me-up when I was down.

Others were gifts and I loved putting them together in gratitude for the thoughtfulness of a loved one.

One, in particular, I did not take apart, all 2,000 pieces will remain in their locked-in, joined positions. I had purchased it for myself.

It was a couple of years ago when talk first began of the commemorative events being planned around the Civil War sesquicentennial.

I was reading “Gone With the Wind” and had just gone to the Cyclorama with some grandchildren. With all that fresh on my mind, I dropped in at Pennybag Emporium to check on Penny and Leslie and see what was new, or old, in their delightful shop on Main Street.

That’s when I saw it, a giant puzzle, featuring 16 different snapshots from the GWTW movie.

There’s Scarlett wearing the dress that, according to Carol Burnett, she “just saw in the window and had to have,” and Scarlett running down the lane in front of Tara before war breaks out.

That unforgettable scene where she and Ashley come to the dreadful realization of the end of what never began is captured in a few puzzle pieces.

And Rhett’s “friend” Belle Watling could no more be left out of the puzzle than she could be left out of the story.

My favorite cameo image, though, is that final serious, almost threatening, glimpse of Rhett, just as he turns from walking out the door to deliver that unforgettable line, “Frankly, my dear ... ”

The background for the display of photos is composed of cotton bolls, Confederate uniform items, the battle flag, green velvet ribbon, pink feathers (from Belle’s boa), and tiny trinkets and accessories, all colorful, all a challenge to any jigsaw fan.

I cannot part with this one, at least not yet.

But a few had to go, perhaps a dozen Thomas Kinkades. As beautiful and inspirational as his work is, one of the puzzles goes a long way toward satisfying that urge to “slave over a hot table” for hours locking the pieces together to get a picture that looks just like the last three Thomas Kinkades I just did.

I usually feel like I have put forth as much effort working the puzzle as Mr. Kinkade did in painting it to begin it.

Another one I’m keeping was given to me years ago by Alice Dean Felton. I happened to visit her at a time when she had a puzzle in progress. It screamed, “I dare you to put me together!”

Even Alice seemed to be stumped. She later gave the puzzle to me. (With friends like that, who needs…) But I worked it, finally.

The puzzle is in black and white, and features head shot photos of 240 different celebrities, and 240 famous quotes.

The 504 pieces, described on the box as diabolical, are cut in identical shapes so you must match the quotes and photos exactly. The puzzle has a title, “Who Said That?” and is called by its manufacturer “The World’s Toughest Jigsaw.”

In one of my weaker moments, when I was patting myself on the back about how smart I am, I decided to break down the puzzle and store it, in all its many separate pieces, in its box.

Now I wonder if I’ll ever be ambitious enough to work it again. I’m keeping it, just in case.

I’m keeping a few others, just in case we have a blizzard and get snowed in for a week or so.

One will serve to refresh my memory about our state. It’s a beautiful depiction of Georgia history, quite colorful and just 1,000 pieces.

Another, also 1,000 pieces, is educational as well, but also very pretty. It shows all 50 states’ official birds and flowers.

And two others are pictures of Coca-Cola memorabilia. One of them has 2,000 pieces. That should get me through many rainy days and Mondays.

With any time left over, I can work those 20-piece puzzles that I keep for the great-grands.

Juanita Hughes is Woodstock’s official historian and former director of the Woodstock Public Library.
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