Hidden Treasure and Surprise Gifts

As the title says, this week has been one of hidden treasure and surprise gifts!

The hidden treasure actually came last week, but goals were filling my mind so I forgot about it then.

My husband found it in our new (to us) student rental house, while he and my dad were there doing some electrical work. They had to remove paneling in the attic room to add some outlets, and found a magazine and a postcard. No big deal, right? Except these were from when the house was new: the postcard was postmarked Dec. 1, 1954, and the magazine was a copy of Collier’s, November 26, 1954.

The postcard was from someone asking a bible study question (maybe the house’s first resident was a Sunday School teacher?), and was on plain postal stationery–the pre-stamped stuff the PO sells, which can be worth a lot of money to collectors. This is pretty faded and stained, so probably isn’t, but it’s still interesting.

But the Collier’s–wow, awesome find for someone who loves early 20th century history and writes time travel… ūüėÄ

(Click on any of the magazine images for a larger view)

Collier's cover

Most of the front¬†cover was missing, and I haven’t read the cover article, but it looks like a criticism of Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor–which is especially funny given 2014’s similarly-whitewashed Exodus. Apparently Hollywood never learns some things. And check out the ad on back! Most of us under 50 can’t remember seeing cigarette ads in current magazines.

Collier's short fiction

There was this gem, reminding us of when short fiction was a significant part of magazines, and authors could ¬†make a good living¬†writing for “the pulps.” And another cigarette ad–with tons of small text! Wow, so¬†different from today’s ads, where advertisers have to grab readers in a fraction of a second.¬† I haven’t read the story yet, but I probably will, just for the LOLs.

And what’s not to love about this Chevrolet ad? And what an awesome car, even before fins became all the rage!


My daughter’s favorite was this political cartoon, and I have to agree that it gives us a great view of one common fear¬†in the fifties: the spread of Communism. Interestingly enough, the Calvert ad isn’t unlike today’s ads for alcoholic beverages.

Collier's political cartoon


Radios, turntables, and electric alarm clocks were also a big deal in 1954

Radios, turntables, and electric alarm clocks were also a big deal in 1954

Colliers MetLife ad

In this “infomercial” ad, readers could request a booklet from Metropolitan Life on preparing for their golden years.

There was also a really funny one for a toaster from General Electric that cost $54.00. Which doesn’t sound like that big of a deal… until one realizes how much money that was in 1954: almost $500 in today’s money! My daughter had recently seen an episode of The History Channel’s Modern Marvels about “retro tech,” and toasters were one of the topics. Apparently, they were quite the luxury item in the early 20th century, to the point of being a bragging point for the wealthy. This certainly backs that up. And to think that now, a toaster might cost $20…

I got a surprise gift this week, too–because of this blog! And wow, what a surprise. It was an email from a Shutterfly representative, thanking me for mentioning their custom photo Christmas cards in my “Be Kind to Yourself for the Holidays” post. She offered me a free 5×7 glass photo print, if I would make “Shutterfly” into a link. So I did, and she sent me a coupon code. I still had to pay shipping, but got a nice gift worth $40. Of course, I chose three photos of Isis to put in the print. I’ll post a picture of it when I get it!

Isis enjoys watching dog videos on YouTube

Isis enjoys watching dog videos on YouTube

Isis has not yet figured out that at nearly 90 pounds, she’s not a lapdog. And I admit, we allow it. She refused to stop chewing her butt while on¬†my daughter’s lap one¬†day (which is very annoying), so DD found some Rottweiler videos on YouTube. Isis was fascinated–and stopped chewing her butt.

A couple days later, Isis fell asleep on my daughter’s lap. DD didn’t want to disturb our 90-pound goddess, so she tweeted about it, and just browsed the web for a couple hours on¬†her phone. A while later, Pet Supplies Plus¬†responded to her tweet: “You’re a great dog owner!” and offered her a $7 coupon for Nature’s Recipe dog food. We do shop at PSP, but don’t feed that brand, so I will give the code to a coworker who does–and is looking for another place to buy dog¬†food, since the¬†SuperPets near her closed.

The point to all this? I guess it’s just that it’s never a bad thing to share about a product or service you really like, but it needs to be genuine. We didn’t expect either of these goodies–it was just honest, real conversation, and those companies’ social media reps picked up on that.

What I read this week: Still not quite done with the novel, and this is getting long, so I’m going to delay that again.

ROW80Logo175ROW80 Update: I went through the rest of my WIP and timestamped each scene, since I realized I wasn’t sure when one needed to take place. This is tricky with all of the time travel involved, and especially since in one spot, several weeks pass between scenes. I needed to know how much. So I figured all of that out, and am now firmly headed into revision territory. I didn’t get much else done, but I’ll be OK with that, since I now know where I’m headed. There is still new writing to be done too, but I need to do a real revision markup to figure out exactly where. So that is my goal for this week–to go through the MS and find all the notes about where I need to add or change something in another scene, and mark those changes where they need to go.

What about you–have you ever received a surprise gift out of the blue, whether as a result of social media or otherwise? Have you ever found “antiques” hiding in your home? How are you doing on your goals this week, whatever they may be? Please share–I’d love to hear from you!

Jennette Marie Powell writes stories about ordinary people in ordinary places, who do extraordinary things and learn that those ordinary places are anything but. In her Saturn Society novels, unwilling time travelers do what they must to make things right... and change more than they expect. You can find her books at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes, and more.