BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Jim Warren’s life has gone to pieces — but that’s just how he likes it.
After retiring in 2017, the 86-year-old veteran and former firefighter has plenty of time on his hands. Or rather, his hands have plenty of time… to put together puzzles.
“It’s an accomplishment, and just something to do,” Warren said.
It all started some fifteen years ago. Warren was looking after his great-grandson, three years old at the time, and the two finished a puzzle together.
When the last piece went in, “I thought, ‘Well, that’s too pretty just to throw away,’” Warren said. “And I’ve always been pretty good at making things out of wood.”
So Warren built a frame, glued the puzzle together, and hung it on his wall. Since then, he’s kept busy.
“I think there’s 35 out in the garage, 36, 37, 38… I’ve probably done 42 of them at least, someplace up there,” Warren said.
Almost all are glued together, in frames that Warren built himself.
A walk through Warren’s puzzle-filled walls play the greatest hits of his life. There are firefighter puzzles, Marine Corps puzzles, puzzles of baseball parks he’s been to and this one, made up of family photos.
Of course, the wall also holds the puzzle that started it all.
Jigsaw monuments to a man who knows how to pick up the pieces.