A Box of Blocks

When grandchildren come to our house they get their hugs and exclamations about how they have grown, but in a short while someone says, “May I play with the blocks?” These blocks are not the colored ones with A B and C on one side and an appropriate picture on the other. They are not out of a tub of legos. There are no bright colors or plastic pieces. They are more old-fashioned that Lincoln Logs. They are stored in a 100 year old cracker box that someone put four wheels on and a cord to pull it around.
The blocks are the color of building supplies. Smoothed and sanded, they promote the building of forts and houses. No child ever stacks them up and knocks them over. Somehow everyone knows their purpose is construction. This may be a “family thing” as sometimes some stranger will say, “It’s just a box of blocks!” but we say they belonged to Granddad. He got these when he was three years old. That would have been 1875. Some one used a router to make a dozen little pieces to be used as men or building tops or whatever a child’s imagination required. When finished, the long pieces are put in the bottom of the cracker box, followed by the nine inchers, the four inchers, and the one inch squares, all topped off with the router men.
What this has to do with historical fiction is that it tells an author about the time (1800s), about the toys a rancher’s son might have, the importance of order to child rearing and a whole bunch of other ideas that pop into the brain of the “Keeper of Stories.”

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