Saturday, December 2, 2017


I guess I’ve always liked puzzles, but I came to understand the fact on the day I decided I didn’t want to go to kindergarten. I had been going to school for at least couple of months already, and I’d had enough. I told my parents that I didn’t want to go that day. My mom didn’t know what to do, but my dad assured me that I would indeed go to school, but that I didn’t have to walk. He’d take me in his car on his way to work.

I resisted this idea, and he had to carry me to the car. When we got to school, I went limp as he tried to walk me up the pathway to the kindergarten classroom. Dad kept up his pace, holding my hand high enough that I couldn’t sit down. Mrs. Canavan came out to meet us. Mom must have phoned ahead to warn the school that they’d have a problem child that day.

Mrs. Canavan wasn’t worried, and I don’t think Dad had any doubts either. He drove off to work, leaving me in the care of my teacher. She apparently knew that I liked puzzles, so she took me over to the puzzle cabinet to choose one. We assembled it together. Then we assembled another one, and she helped me less. By the third puzzle, I started enjoying myself and decided I might as well stay at school at least one more day.

Everything was OK until nap time. Before we took our “naps” (we never actually slept), we got one Graham cracker apiece and a little carton of milk. I understood why Mrs. Canavan started passing out the crackers with the kid to my left and went around the circle clockwise, leaving me for last. I’d gotten a whole lot of attention that morning, and I knew that she didn’t want to look like she were playing favorites. Still, she had me worried because she had warned us that she was down to her last box of Graham crackers and it didn’t look certain that she’d have enough to go around.

Still having my “bad day,” I didn’t know what I’d do if the crackers didn’t reach me. Nobody wanted to find out. They nearly made it. By the time she got to me, Mrs. Canavan announced that she’d reached the very last cracker, but it was in pieces. All I saw was a bunch of junky pieces from the bottom of the box. I felt cheated, and started to melt down. Mrs. Canavan, however, assured me that I had a complete cracker, but it was a puzzle. She assembled the pieces on my paper towel. Wow! They really did form a whole cracker! This was great.

Often after that, I’d break up my cracker to make a little puzzle to reassemble before I ate it, but it was never as hard when I’d broken it up myself and knew how the pieces went together. Perhaps I should have asked a classmate to break it up for me. If you bring me crackers, we can try it out.

Here are a few pictures of my school as it looks today. It’s about the same, but with an adult clientele.