Couple gets creative, completes some pretty amazing puzzles during their quarantine time

August 21, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

BY OLIVIA CAMERON – Candace and Billy Sasser found a way to escape quarantine restraints by thinking within the box. Many jigsaw puzzles later, they’ve pieced together a painting replica from the 1920s.

When the pair attended the Boca Grande Historic Preservation Board meeting back in June, they ran into board member Rebecca Paterson, who interested them in a puzzle. This particular puzzle Rebecca picked up in Maine had no picture or pieces that traditionally linked. She herself was unsuccessful in completing the project.

“She and just about everyone else wondered what we were doing during the quarantine,” said Candace. By then, Candace and Billy had completed eight jigsaw puzzles. “Rebecca said she had an old wooden puzzle she couldn’t finish. It became an interesting challenge for us,” she said.

Boxed and copyrighted by Parker Brothers, Inc. in 1932, the “Pastime Puzzle” was published in Salem, Massachusetts without a hint of its picture. Rebecca found the puzzle at Chesley’s Auction, in E. Corinth. The box reads, ‘Subject: ‘Blessing of Her …’ with an illegible last word.

Rebecca recalled that the puzzle pieces consisted of unusual shapes, including a cat figure, Christmas tree, Abraham Lincoln’s profile and a fish among geometric shapes. She gave up the project after multiple attempts.

Without a reference point, the Sassers began with the typical technique to find the corners first. They continued to build the edges of the puzzle before exhausting their resources for creating a full border.

“We filled the picture in by matching colors and eliminating the beige background.” The pair fleshed out the puzzle from top to bottom each day for weeks.

A month and 758 pieces of carved wood later, the pair completed the puzzle to reveal the painting. The bottom left corner signature is illegible.

Apart from sifting through puzzle pieces, the two would also rather read fiction and mystery books than detail a corner of the house they’ve already cleaned. Billy has taken to nourishing the plants on their deck. He even built a table to display them on.

“We don’t normally do puzzles, because we are often busy,” said Candace. “However, since we’ve been staying in most of the time, it’s become a nice hobby, besides cleaning and reading.”

The Sassers have also devoted two days a week to working with the Boca Grande Sea Turtle Patrol as they continue to fill up their newfound free time.