To while away time while she gets her hair cut, I check out her purse. What’s inside makes me laugh and cry––the sash to her caretaker’s robe, carefully folded up; a few loose coins (in the old days, those coins would have been where they were supposed to be, in her wallet); recent greeting cards she’s received; earrings; and two old fig newtons, crumbling and adding crumbs to the coins. The fig newtons make me laugh. But what makes me cry is coming across her wallet’s photo of Dad, just floating there, not in its proper place. She took it out of its sleeve and then couldn’t remember how to get it back or maybe even to put it back. So I put him where he belongs and where he’s been ever since I can remember. He’s the only photo now in her wallet––a wallet once packed with credit cards and cash and photos of family, symbolic of her famed organization and her abundance. Dad’s somber face looks toward the camera. It’s getting harder, Dad, I think, and I imagine his face watchful, waiting on her……………….
A woman’s purse is personal and so representative of each individual woman. What we carry in it. Purses we’ve loved. The events to which they were witness. A wonderfully creative Houston artist, Mary Margaret Hansen, has a website just about purses and their stories. My Mom’s story is Alzheimer’s, and her purse shows it. What’s yours?
I’d love to know….