I find secondhand gifts from my sister-in-law some of the best I ever get. She's aware of my penchant for pre-owned and so passes on to me little things that belonged to her mother. I never met my mother-in-law. Sylvia died a year before my path crossed her son's. But through small objects - this compact, my wedding ring, a collection of a hankies - I have made her acquaintance. The stories my husband tells me about his mother and family photos help to round out my mental picture of this much-loved woman.
Sylvia bought this compact from Kays of Worcester, via their once-ubiquitous catalogue CLICK HERE. Not unlike Sears and Roebuck - an American retailer that started out as a mail order business - Kays sold all sorts of items via catalogue, including ready-to-wear fashions launched in the 1920s. The scratches and worn patches on this fashionable compact are evidence that Sylvia really used it. She would have checked her hair and make-up or removed dust from the eye that looked on her children with constant concern. I wonder what price Kays put on the compact when it was new? Well worn it's priceless to me.