Posted: May 31, 2012
Written by: Rosemarie D.
Recently, I re-discovered how true the timeless saying “Everything Old is New Again” proves to be in life. Several months ago, I was looking for an activity to share with my elderly mother because at that time, the Pro Bull Riding (PBR) competitions were no longer being shown on television and she had seen every episode of SWAT: Miami-Dade. I needed to find something to interest my mother and fast! It probably goes without saying that she really keeps me on my toes!
While shopping one day, I came across some jigsaw puzzles and I thought that might be just the activity that I could do with my mother. I have to be honest with you that as a child I never enjoyed trying to complete jigsaw puzzles and thought they may have become somewhat of an antiquated activity. However, I was now willing to give it another try. I’m happy to say it was a great decision and now has become a wonderful activity that I share with my mother.
The jigsaw puzzle that I purchased was made by a company called, Springbok. Did you know that Springbok is a local company – based in Kansas City, Missouri? In 1963, Robert and Katie Lewin founded Springbok Editions after being inspired by jigsaw puzzles that they bought for their children in London. In fact, Mrs. Lewin herself drew the designs for cutting dies resulting in each puzzle being a unique pattern.
Springbok has been a leading jigsaw puzzle manufacturer in the United States since then thanks to their diverse array of puzzle themes and sizes. For instance, they have puzzles depicting landscapes, animals, food, world landmarks, hobbies and 3-D puzzles. Their puzzles come in varying degrees of difficulty, ranging in puzzle sizes of 12 to 2000 pieces. They even offer “family puzzles” that have 400 pieces, of varying sizes, so everyone in the family can work on the same puzzle together. Springbok has a limited-edition line of Hallmark jigsaw puzzles depicting their popular line of Keepsake ornaments. And if that isn’t enough, Springbok releases 20-25 new puzzles a year!
Another reason Springbok a special company is their program, “Springbok Cares” in which they give proceeds from their sales of special puzzles to charitable organizations that are fighting Alzheimer’s disease, Cancer and recently Kid’s Wish Network. Springbok’s puzzles called “Puzzles to Remember” are designed specifically for the Alzheimer’s patient. As current brain research indicates mental exercise such as jigsaw puzzles can sometimes slow progression of this disease and stimulate different areas of the brain at the same time. The Puzzles to Remember have only 12 or 36 pieces which are bigger than children’s jigsaw puzzles making them easier for the Alzheimer’s patient to handle. In addition they are specifically designed to be “cheerful” and “nostalgic” and will hopefully provide “gentle stimulation” and “positive reinforcement”.
If you are interested in purchasing a Springbok puzzle, I have seen them for purchase at local Hallmark stores, Hobby Lobby and of course on-line directly from Springbok.
As to my own “What is Your Missing Puzzle Piece?” Well, it happened one evening while working on a puzzle with my mother. My mother told me of the time when she was 16-years-old, playing on Polish-American girls’ basketball team in our hometown of Akron, Ohio. She told me how frustrated she became while being guarded by the opponent so that she couldn’t pass the ball to her fellow teammate. So she just decided to get rid of the ball and threw it, one-handed, toward the basket from mid court and made the basket! The crowd started cheering, clapping and stopping their feet just for her!
If you are thinking that you might like to try your hand at completing a jigsaw puzzle – don’t hesitate! It is a great activity that can be done individually, together with another person or even as a group. Who knows maybe during your conversations while completing the puzzle you may find your own “Missing Puzzle Piece.”