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Olivia Newport old pipe and baby shoesHere are some more old items from around my house courtesy of my husband’s family. What stories spring to your mind?

When my daughter was little, I used to regale her with a continuing saga every night. I suppose many writers do this with their kids. Ordinary items in her bedroom became plot complications before I finished my next sentence. How was I going to get out of this mess? Oh, well, let’s save that for tomorrow night. Perhaps I was practicing plot pacing and didn’t even know it.

Those are the moments of life that we ought to breathe in deeply.

You don’t decide to stop having these cozy storytimes. But perhaps one night she says she’s sleepy already, or she would rather look at a book on her own, or you have a phone call you really must make before it gets later. And then you realize one day that the stage has passed. She’s growing up and out of your arms.

Having old items around the house reminds me that story rolls into story, as one generation runs into the next. Writing historical fiction, such as The Pursuit of Lucy Banning, lets me stand in that space and savor the awareness of the movement, even if I could not and would not stop it.

• What about you? What story springs up from a few old items?

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