During our Tuxedo Park years, when I was constantly on the road for Deluxe (they said I’d be ping-ponging between Chicago, Los Angeles, London and New York, among other more off-the-beaten-track places, and they kept their word) and Caroline was working at Atlantic and commuting to Manhattan on her own every day, mail tended to pile up on our lovely dining room table, unopened for weeks at a time, eventually becoming a kind of “mail earthwork” with its own topography, archeological levels and mini-landmarks.
It was an embarrassment and disgrace, I suppose, and remained so until Mara came to live with us and solved the problem. (Mara solved every problem.)
One weekend morning when we had neglected to visit the p.o. for a while, Caroline asked me to make a stop there to empty our box. Jane, who was probably around 8 years old at the time, looked at us stunned and said sternly (with a soupçon of alarm):
“Don’t you think we have enough mail already?”
But our dining room table is a still a mess, having been taken over by a 3,000 piece jigsaw puzzle Caroline and I gave Jane for Christmas.
But I can admit that the puzzle stresses me out and, I think, reflects deeper stresses all-around that we’ll need to address once the shapes are fully assembled, photographed and, perhaps, glued into a permanent image.