The author Robert Opie has produced some books which fuel this interest, and I find them very useful for my writing. The first of his books that I bought was Remember When, full of everyday objects from the different decades of the twentieth century. I not only enjoyed remembering items from my own childhood, but also read about stuff that had originated in earlier decades and was still used in later years.
More recently, Opie has brought out books for different decades of the twentieth century, and I have been making use of the Nineteen Twenties Scrapbook, also the same book for the Nineteen Thirties. These are based on photographs of items from each decade, covering such everyday subjects as food, household goods, travel, clothes, magazines and such, with a framework of the history of the decade.
Imagine my surprise when I opened the Nineteen Twenties Scrapbook and found a very humble object that I have in my possession - a sweet tin, printed with 'Weekly Assortment'. This came from my great aunt's house. My grandfather was one of a large family, and his sister was the last of the siblings to survive. After her passing, my mother was helping to clear her house, and asked me if there was any little object I would like as a keepsake. As children, we used to visit Auntie once a year in the family home, filled with many interesting things dating back as far as Victorian times, some of which had come from the far east. But what I remembered most fondly was the Chinese Chequers game that she taught us how to play.
I asked for this, if it was still there. My mother brought it for me, along with a few pieces of china. I now play the game with my husband, and with my mother. It reminds her of the days when she was evacuated to stay with the family during the Second World War. The old board has needed a couple of tacks to hold the wooden border in place, and the marbles are still housed in the Weekly Assortment tin. What a delight to see an identical tin in the book by Robert Opie. I now imagine the family in the nineteen twenties dipping into the tin, finishing off the sweets and then deciding it would make a good container for the Chinese Chequers marbles. Little did they think it would still be in use in the twenty first century!