What is the best way to do research for a novel?
Have your grandparents stop over with ice cream and answer all your questions!
Of course, technically I couldn't eat the ice cream (on a special health diet now...more olive oil tonight) but just seeing my grandparents was much better than a bowl of custard, (even from Culvers). Then they answered all sorts of questions about living in a small midwestern town in 1963. I learned all sorts of interesting facts.
For example. Did you know that in those days, families would rent out freezer "lockers" at the local meat market? They'd bring half of an animal of their choice (usually a pig or a cow) and the meat guy would chop it up into steaks and stuff, and then he'd put it in one of his big freezer.
I also found out lots of details about dairy farms and phones and kitchens and housewife routines and fabric and dresses and dates and drive-ins and wages. Still have to contact a great-aunt and uncle to learn more about parties and dances...
Oh, and on top of all this fact finding, I also wrote about 4000 words today. I feel very satisfied.