Recent Research – 80s Jewelry and Old Highways

Silver Hoop EarringsAt left are a pair of earrings from the 80s. I remember these, but I never wore any, myself. I tried pierced ears when I was thirteen, but I always had ear-aches and I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the constant pain. So I let them close up and never re-pierced them.

I’ve known some women who wore earrings like these, and they no longer had holes in their earlobes–they had vertical dashes. {wince}

I had to research this just now because my character in 1915 needed an item from the future.

“What are you looking for?” Adele asked.

“A suitable anachronism to take you to the future,” Abe replied. He pulled out a pair of silver earrings. They were giant hoops—Adele thought she could wear them as bracelets. “I take it your ears are pierced?”

She lifted her brows at them. “Yeah, but I don’t think they can take that kind of weight.”

“Nonsense. Women from the ‘80s wore them all the time. And these will take you all the way there, if you ever need to go.”

Adele took out her tiny studs, and fastened in the earrings. She could almost feel her earlobes getting longer.

Sometimes, I research things only to figure out that I don’t really need to go into all that detail in my story. Here are some things I decided to leave out:

  • Inheritance laws regarding children in the foster system in South Carolina, in the 80s and 90s. Eventually, I decided that the story would not be enhanced by adding this detail.
  • Classifications of gemstones. Too much info, not enough relevance.
  • The interior configuration of a certain make and model of obscure older car. yes, a few collectors might still have one of these cars. But are they likely to be in my target readership? And if they are, are they likely to care about the nit-picky plot point that I was worried about?

US-1 in the 50s One thing I did research was which decade US-1 was widened from 2 lanes to 4. Yes, this information really was out there, and I was even able to confirm it from more than one source. This enabled me to write a nice, atmospheric little sub-scene.

Back when I first started writing this book, I researched the entire original route of US-1. Various parts of the road have been rerouted from that time, so US-1 now travels through towns that it did not travel through back then. I’m going to need to refind that bit of research; hopefully I kept it bookmarked, somewhere. Next book, I’m going to include a bibliography in my gazetteer.

6 thoughts on “Recent Research – 80s Jewelry and Old Highways”

  1. I can see how the date of the highway expansion would be important in a time-travel novel. 🙂 And it’s amazing the things you end up researching. Maybe the inheritance laws ect. will end up being useful for something else. I’ve never pierced my ears, but I have some lovely clip-ons from various thrift store trips. (I’m not sure if anyone still makes clip-on earrings.)

  2. One of the great things about college classes was that it helped me discipline my research a bit. I’m finding that incredibly useful right now. (I’m actually thinking to take notes that include source names -unlike past research where I went `this is so cool!’ and then had NO IDEA how to ever find stuff again.)

    1. I have been keeping bookmarks, but I think I’d better take actual clips of the website next time, using something like Microsoft OneNote. So many websites evaporate over time.

  3. That is very true- and I do a lot of bookmarking, especially when I’m in a hurry. I seem to research very hap-hazardously. At least I now know that I DO research- I used to believe that I didn’t at all, since most of what I study is the fun bits.

    1. Sometimes, that helps narrow down your interest. For many years, I was fascinated with Rome during the Republic and early Empire. But, as you said, I would only study the fun bits. It turns out I was mostly interested in Roman social history. That was how I came to write a piece called “Port-A-Fortress” for Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader. I made two hundred bucks, too!

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