Recently I was sitting next to a dear older lady while waiting for a table at a local tea room. I absolutely enjoy sitting and observing (aka gawking at) other people, welcoming myself into their lives for a short time. In fact, if you’ve been to dinner with me you probably have heard me make up stories about the lives of strangers according to my observations. People are fascinating to me. The diversity, the strangeness, the uniqueness, it all captures my attention.
On this particular day, the kind lady I was sitting by, who was also waiting for a table, was digging through her purse, revealing a treasure chest of essentials and I found myself caught up in the middle of childhood memories. While I am blessed to have many memories with both of my Grandmothers (called Nonna and Meme in my family), I realized that there was one item that was constant throughout them all. The purse.
I began to make a list of things that were in my own Grandma’s purses…
-Lipstick (& mirror)
-Werther’s Butterscotch candies
-Kleenex or Handkerchief
-Wallet full of quarters
-Needle and Thread
-Pick or Comb
Each of these items held significance. The contents show the change from one generation to the next. Compared to their purses, my purse looks like the random bags that I laugh at when my daughters “pack-up” for some make-believe adventure. My purse usually contains…
-Wallet bursting at the seams or unzipped and spilling out
-Empty gum wrappers
-A spare diaper (for my child not me!)
-Pair of clean underwear (once again for my child not me!)
-Cell phone charger (just in case)
-Other random junk/trash/toys
As a little girl I can remember trusting that when I asked Nonna for a piece of Trident gum (Cinnamon) that she would have it. Or if I was sitting in church and getting antsy, that Meme would quickly pass down a butterscotch candy to keep my mouth busy and quiet. Or if we were at a restaurant and they had a $.25 gum machine, all I had to was ask and a quarter magically appeared. Their purses represented what they were to me, constant and dependable. How blessed I was and still am to have had two grandmother’s who were a part of forming me into the woman that I am today. Even though my purse may be scattered and my days as a young mom may be chaotic, I know that I come from a legacy of admirable women, who knew how to pack a purse, but more importantly know how to love their family. This legacy has been passed down for many generations, and now with my own daughters it continues for years to come.
Today begins the sixth year that my Meme is not with us. I think of her often and know that the prayers she prayed while on earth for each one of my family members, including myself, are being answered every day. “The prayers of a righteous person are powerful and effective…” (James 5:16) Her prayers I cherish and her purse is a memory that I will hold onto forever.
What was in your Grandma’s purse?