When I look at vintage photos in the 1920’s, I’m mesmerized. I wish I could enter a portal that would transport me into the picture so I could experience the day with the people in it. Oh the fun we’d have! Just imagine if you could step back in time to a picture you hold in your hand and spend one whole day, maybe two. What picture would you choose? Where would you go?
Eliza shook her head. “I can’t stand much more of this stifling life. I need to go some place where people will applaud me. I read in Radio Stars that Marion Harris recorded her songs in New York. People love her.” “New York?” Hugh inclined his head. “You want to go there?” “Yes, Manhattan.” She spoke the word like it was a dream world, full of every good and glittering thing.
During my process of writing my 1920’s trilogy, I’ve been dazzled by the frolicking wonder of this glorious time period filled with danger, desire, and the need for fulfillment. It amazes me how my characters teach me lessons as their own stories fall upon the pages of my novels. Oh, how I treasure those moments.
If you enjoy the roaring twenties and historical fiction, stick with me. There is more to come…
Following World War I, an attitude of cynicism and disillusionment infected the mindsets of most people resulting in a decade where living for self and enjoyment became top priority. It produced a people that lived by this code or slogan: “Eat, Drink and Be Merry…For Tomorrow We Die.”
One of my favorite books on the 1920’s is by Frederick Lewis Allen called Only Yesterday. In this book he says, “Morality was dethroned, the old codes of ethics hung out to dry, replaced with a disillusioned sense of freedom, and the pursuit of this led only to emptiness and futility.”
I painted the picture below to represent the heroine in the first book of my 1920’s series.
History repeats itself in clothing fashions, but I’d like to see the former teaching of etiquette and good manners make a comeback. Oddly enough, a simple example is shaving.
Both men and women have been shaving off unwanted hair since before 3000 BC. Luckily, our methods have improved over time. I imagine that shaving with water and a sharpened stone, clam shell or copper wouldn’t have tickled.
Since then, the method of shaving has been greatly improved with modern razors and creams. In fact, shaving was considered a thing of expertise in the 1800’s. A sophisticated gent would own a shaving kit with all the necessities: a folding or shraight-edged razor which was sharpened on a leather strop, a brush of soft badger hair, lathering cream and a china shaving mug, aftershave lotion, and cologne.
Once barbershops opened, men would go to a barber to have his hair trimmed and his beard shaved.
Nowadays, men and women generally buy a razor at the grocery store, perhaps a can of shaving cream and call it good. But the heart behind the tradition has been lost. Granted it takes more time, but like many of the old traditions, we’ve lost the beauty of etiquette. In many modern homes, children aren’t taught the art of gentility and good manners. Young men don’t know what it means to be gentlemen and young girls don’t know what it means to be ladies. I find this disheartening.
That is why I found this store in the Woodland Mall (Grand Rapids, MI) so special: The Art of Shaving. This store cares about the old tradition of shaving and desires to bring it back. I found it fascinating, as did my husband, who left the store with a kit of his own!
My thought is this… if you have to shave, why not enjoy it?
I collect hats. But not just any hats. I like hats that are old, used, and have seen life from years past. I want hats with history.
And over time, I’ve collected a lot of them. Some are from the 1800’s and some from the 1900’s. My daughter loves rummaging through my collection and trying them on.
But one of my most prized hats of all is the one I acquired from my grandfather, Lavern “Pete” Overbeek.
My grandpa wore a blue, wool newsboy hat wherever he went. It was special. When my grandpa passed away in 2008, I asked my grandma if she could part with his hat. I feel honored and privileged that she entrusted his prized possession to me. Every time I wear his hat, I feel like I’m carrying on his legacy. My grandfather enjoyed the simple things in life but most of all, he had a deep love for family and friends. He worked hard and appreciated the many blessings God had given him throughout his life. He was a great man and was always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need. I hope to follow in his footsteps. Thanks, Grandpa.
In book one of my current Roaring Twenties Series, my main character runs to New York City and becomes entangled with a vivacious flapper named Mattie O’Keefe. Mattie introduces her to Lucky Strike cigarettes. I decided on this brand while doing my research for the novel and up until a few weeks ago, I had only seen the tin on the internet. But to my absolute joy, I came across an actual Lucky Strike cigarette tin at Harvest Antique and Collectibles in Holland! I bought it right away. I plan to keep my business cards inside of it.