Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Grandma Ranum carried something she called a pocket book. Oh it wasn't anything so special. It was plastic like with a clasp and a double handle. It was a summer purse which she wore with her white sandals. In the winter, she had a black purse and wore it with...you guessed it, her black shoes.

Now, even if you do watch What Not to Wear where they teach you your shoes and hand bag don't have to match, it was certainly the vogue thing to do in the 1940's and 50's according to the rules of my grandmother and my mother.

Let me ask you this: How many times in a year do you change out one purse to another for the sake of harmony? The bucket purses of the late fifties came in a variety of colors and I was not pleased I bought a turquoise one, after all what did it go with? Bucket purses are not the same as they were in 1958 when I actually started carrying a purse. That means I have had something to carry my stuff for over 50 years. Oh, now that hurts!

I had the same double handled shoulder bag for years. The leather had gotten so soft it sort of laid in a puddle when you set it down. I had bought it at a thrift store, already broken in. When it was retired I had a terrible time finding another to replace it. I hated those really thin shoulder strapped ones. For awhile, I carried a tote with all my stuff in a zip bag but I really did need to go hunting.

One day on a shop til you drop day, I found a great red bag with a wide shoulder band. I carried on my shoulder around the store and it stayed put. I carried in a few years and then started on something called a hobo bag. Now, the words hobo bag is a very broad term which comes in a variety of sizes, maybe it is for different size hobos, do you think?

Anyway, I found a brand called Ameribag. They hang close to the body, have one enormous compartment and lots of little ones. The first one I bought was leather. For summer I bought a canvas one which got really soiled in the boat and when I washed it, I ruined it. So I bought a light green microfiber, which was way too big and now I use it as a boat bag for those things you can't put somewhere else, including camera with the long lens. I went back to leather and bought a brown one that was smaller. It was a case of big is not better.
But spring had come in the north country last spring and I had no summer purse. So I bought one of those white nylon jobs like my mother had except hers had a draw string and this one has a snap. Every time I look at this substandard pocket book, I think of when mother set hers down on a melted grape ice cone at the baseball play offs in Minneapolis. Hers had no lining and washed up white as a snowy owl.
So for now, at least until we get back to Reed's in Walker for an Ameribag in some summer like color, I will carry this short handled purse in a society that has shoulder bags.
My question is not, "What's in your wallet?", my question is, how comfy is your pocketbook?
Hope yours feels like it is part of you.

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