What Lurks in Your Parents’ Attic?

What lurks in your parents’ attic, basement or storage locker? You never know until the time comes to help clear these locations, a time that could also be fraught with the sadness of losing a parent. My 88-year-old mother is moving out of her large condo, relocating to smaller quarters, a process that has uncovered many treasures.

1927 Eaton's CatalogueThe 1927 T. Eaton Co catalogue is a wonderful example — especially wonderful if you’re a writer concentrating on the early part of the 20th century! For those beyond Canada, the T. Eaton Company was a prominent department store retailer founded by Timothy Eaton in 1869. The first store was located in downtown Toronto. When I was a child the arrival of the catalogue (much later editions, of course!!) was an event demanding hours of thorough examination.

Apparently, my step-father kept this catalogue, a commemorative issue published in 1971, but Mom does not recall his motivation. Perhaps he was a packrat?

Eaton's Women Fashions 1927 1927 Ladies Fashion Eaton's catalogue women's fashionOr perhaps the styles of that time – men’s double-breasted suits, peaked caps and pristine white collars, women’s below-the-knee dresses, silk stockings and formidable undergarments – appealed to him. My step-father was a very conservative fellow.

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.13.56 AM 1927 Reducing Corset 1927 corsetsThe introduction to this commemorative issue has some interesting things to say about Canada in 1927.

“1927 was a great year. Canada, the young country of 60 years, celebrated its diamond jubilee, electric power began threading its way through the farm sideroads, and some villages got their first concrete roads. The automobile was here to stay … radio brought the electrifying message that Lindbergh had flown the Atlantic.

Business was booming … the excitement of the Roaring Twenties — that era of the notorious flapper girl with her bobbed hair, flat chest, and skirt elevated to a ‘shocking’ knee-length.”

Acme - the Safe Washer1927 Stove“The Twenties was the revolutionary decade that liberated women from the high-neck, ankle-length dress … by the middle Twenties the boyish look was in vogue, and curves had been completely abandoned in favour of bloused or straight-line silhouettes.”

“The ‘Top Hits’ of the day [were] songs such as Bye, Bye Blackbird, Let me Call You Sweetheart, When the Red, Red Robin Come Bob, Bob, Bobbin Along. I’ve included some pictures of household items – a phonograph, sewing machine, washing machine and stove.”

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 11.07.56 AM 1927 Men's business suits Reliance Sewing MachineI find it fascinating to look back at the times of our grandparents or great-grandparents.


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Meet M.K.Tod

Meet M.K.Tod

The historical fiction author behind A Writer of History...

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3 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    I discovered some treasures when my father died and I was helping my mother organise clothes for a charity shop. I found a file full of 104 letters that I wrote from Houston Texas that I wrote each week we lived there. A man of few words he had never mentioned reading them or keeping them… 30 years on from writing them I keep them safe – a link with him and the past.

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