One Christmas, long ago, my mom sent me an old purse that belonged to her mother, my Grandma Ruth. The purse is lined with red satin, and has a matching coin-purse tethered by a gold chain bolted to the interior.
In honor of the holiday, my mom decided to fill the purse with a few goodies — toothpicks like the ones my grandma always had on-hand to clean her teeth, a few quarters to remind me of the ones Ruth gave me whenever I was a good kid and said nice things, black-and-white photos of her in her glamorous prime, and the original mirror that came with the purse. Only now the mirror was decorated with stickers.
Yep, stickers! Stickers were not really my mom’s thing, but she had come out on the other side of cancer, had gone through chemo and was feeling better than she had in a long while. Her playfulness and peacefulness were evident in her choice of words. As was the depth of her journey.
It was clear from my mom’s message that in spite of her recent challenges she had gained a greater appreciation of her life, and this earth school, as I like to call it.
I pinned the mirror to my bulletin board where I can see it daily, and the purse — I used it for awhile until the shoulder strap broke and I decided to turn it into a still life.
I love that this purse has two sides, kind of like many of us: The lush interior where the coin purse resides is in stark contrast to the exterior — dark, worn, scratched, navy blue leather. I suppose opposites helps us to see each side more clearly and appreciate them.
Although I continued the theme of contrast in my still life — the (not very old) dried, red rose resting in the smooth, red, antique satin coin purse that hasn’t aged much at all — both reds are the color of blood, soul, and heart.
Do you have an old purse that has a story to it?