The first purse I remember is my grandmother’s painted basket. It was made of brown “straps” and painted with colorful buildings. I’d stare at the bright buildings and wonder who lived in them. What were their lives about? A single penny was glued to the fliptop lid. I thought it was completely wonderful and filled with grownup lady secrets. All these years, I still don’t know everything that was kept inside it. Here are the things I’m certain were inside: filterless Camels, a lighter, and reading glasses. My grandmother wore kitten heels, twin sets that she knitted herself and I wanted to be just like her.
The first purse I owned was a gift. It was yellow plastic, covered with flowers, and had a long shoulder strap. I have no idea what I kept inside it, but I do remember feeling like a grownup lady with it hanging from my shoulder.
The first purse I bought was a brown leather Coach bag. It was heavy and plain but I loved it. This was back before discount malls, so it was seriously expensive. I bought it at department store using money I’d earned driving a Good Humor ice cream truck. Inside I kept my Girl Scout date book, bright pink lipstick, and occasionally, the plastic army guys I used to line up on sidewalks and restaurant tables.
I own several bags now. A big everyday one, a basket I carry in the summer, a jeweled red one I get out for special occasions–those are only a few. Every time I switch bags, I look at what I keep with me, think about what’s important to me. What do these smalls things say about my life?
Whatever you call it, a purse, handbag, pocketbook, it can be an expression of you and your life. Maybe it holds your secrets, maybe it holds twelve lipsticks or none. Give us a shout in the comments, tell us about your bag and what’s inside.