Let’s imagine that it’s 1916, not 2020, and you and the kids are quarantined at home. (Not such a fantasy at that, as the worldwide influenza virus would sweep the country two years later.) How can you keep everyone occupied?
The Ward’s catalog delivers, literally and figuratively. There are two pages of toys and games – practically a hundred in all. It’s worth clicking on the pictures to see them all in closeup. A surprising number are classics, like Parchesi or Tiddley-Winks. Others, like the “Down and Out Marble Game,” would probably sell a few even today if reintroduced. Perhaps though, the 1916 version of “Battleship” with bullet-shooting machine gun would not pass muster.
Then there’s a page full of children’s musical instruments. Toy pianos, xylophones, drums, a bugle. OK, so maybe not these items today. “Timmy, stop that racket! Mommy’s got a headache! What quiet things can we do?”
You can write letters, that’s what. On all sorts of stationery, with fountain pens and messy sealing wax. No email in 1916 of course, just regular mail to send out. No online classes either. So you should also purchase the boy’s or girl’s school outfit for home use…a value of “at least $1” for only 46 cents.
Of course, when you order all this from Montgomery Ward in 1916 you have to mail the company and then wait for everything to arrive. No online orders, no Prime Day, no tracking. Be patient; the items will arrive eventually.
“Maybe you can get out that Ouji board, Sally, and we can ask it to predict when this horrible quarantine will end.”