Former First Lady Barbara Bush: Her long-time connection to Vermont

As people around the country reflect on the life of Former First Lady Barbara Bush, a Vermont man has a special connection to the woman known as "the enforcer," she loved his puzzles.
Steve Richardson, of Stave Puzzles in White River Junction calls it a long-time friendship.  He says it began around Christmas in 1988, when Mrs. Bush received a puzzle of her dog Millie as a gift from relatives.
Richardson says just a few weeks later, he received a handwritten note from the First Lady.
"I said WHOA, that was cool. I said OK, What do I do? What do I do? So I said well let me see if I can open a dialogue with her," he said.
That dialogue turned into a friendship of more than 30 years and hundreds of more notes.
"She and he (George H.W. Bush) are the kind and queen of handwritten notes. They are just old school and really, really, thoughtful," Richardson said.
Richardson was soon given another opportunity to send her a custom made puzzle design, this time it was for the launch of her book, Barbara Bush: A Memoir.
Mrs. Bush's publisher asked Richardson to create a puzzle of the cover of her book which would be given to her at the launch, to say thank you.
Richardson says he considers his designs the Rolls Royce of puzzles and have attracted people from all over the world.
"Its a very tactile experience its not a cardboard puzzle that you squeeze in. You slide in the pieces, its a very elegant experience," he said.
Stave Puzzles incorporates unique shapes and sizes.  Richardson says that's what attracts so many people, including the first family.
"They love those little surprises that we craft into the puzzles," he said.
Richardson said he will always remember Mrs. Bush as a classy, humorous and strong woman who ran the show.
"She was smart, smart as a whip, and she had many layers to her personality but you always felt safe around her. She made you feel so comfortable, it added to the class act of her," he said.




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