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You never know when you’re going to lose your purse. It might be on a cross-country flight, it may be on the subway, it could just be in the recesses of your closet. But, you never know when it’s going to happen – and what you probably don’t realize is, your purse is then a time capsule. Whatever was going on in your world – in the world – on that day is forever locked behind a resin clasp.


I was at an estate sale this weekend and had a glimpse into someone’s past. There was a purse on the bed that was innocuous enough – patent leather, few scratches, vintage. I picked it up to get a closer look, and I heard things rattling around. At some estate sales, a rattling box or purse means drop-and-run — as it could be something living! This sale, however, only had some mold – and I’ve never been afraid of a little dank.


I opened the purse to find the following contents:

20130202_11212920130202_112208It was as if I got to see what this woman’s life was like in 1972. The fun thing about this, for me, is that this woman lived a VERY full life (she was a prominent Dallas artist), so I know that this isn’t a remnant of a life cut short decades ago — this was a life that was fully lived for 88 years, ending in 1999. Granted, this purse held a piece of her past, but it wasn’t like that’s where it ended. So, for a brief moment as I snooped around this purse, I got to see what a day in the life of a 1970s woman was. It included aspirin and gum – typical by even today’s standards, a gas receipt for $4.85 – likely a full tank!, and a letter from a friend. Also included, but not pictured, was a very petrified baggie of raisins, a few acidy-batteries, and a number of used tissue (the non-glamorous, practical part of life).

My guess is that this purse fell into the back of her closet or she left it in another “safe place” – never to be found again during her life. Yet it offered me, and others, a chance to see what life was really like in the 1970s– even if just for a moment.