A large purse is a handy thing to have around

June 1, 2014

I always carry a large purse. Women of my generation love oversized, enormous, can’t find anything that has sunk to the bottom purses.

Our mothers (and now it’s been handed down to us) never left home without a copy of the deed to the house, insurance papers, photos of cousins from the Civil War era, and enough cash to buy another house should the occasion arise. Somehow it all fit in there.

Need a copy of your birth certificate? We could instantly produce it. Marriage licenses, electrical bills, medical records, we had it all. It was comforting to see that house coat lumbering down the street with a satchel the size of an aircraft carrier slung over her shoulder.

Now, there are young women who carry large purses, but those young women are people like New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady’s wife. Both of them are ridiculously handsome and would look good in a black Hefty bag. From what I can gather, the large purse has become a sign of aging though.

I can attest to this because lately I’ve noticed my adult children eyeing my purse suspiciously. I always thought an accessory was safe from critique. I’ve seen looks from them as if l was carrying around one of those coolers with an organ that had been donated and ready for transplant.

With the number of events like graduation, weddings and reunions, just showing up isn’t enough; you’ll want to make sure your outfit doesn’t put you in the category where the term assisted living comes up. Not that there is anything wrong with that; personally I could use the break.

But you are going to have to be careful. Children look you over and scrutinize what you are wearing like a judge at an American Kennel Club dog show picking out a best in breed category. Believe me, the wrong outfit will follow you for the rest of your life.

I once wore a plaid suit to a commencement. The photo of me in this outfit will more than likely be plastered on my final resting place with words, “I Rest my Case.” OK, so the hemline of the skirt was a little high for my age, showing knees that looked like two worn boulders that someone had run over at the end of the driveway. But on those same two boulder knees, I washed floors, picked up wet towels, scrubbed kitchens and left the outside porch light on at night. Every once in a while I would hear whispers of, “Remember when she wore ….” so you have to be vigilant.

I don’t know what you do with the small purse today. It might just be that you have a dollar to your name along with the telephone number of your parents, should you find yourself in a position where you actually have to pay for something.

Or it might be that it is a political statement, where you consider yourself an independent who orders only Pinot Noir red wine, to go with a vegan lasagna, but could easily be talked into a Pinot Grigio if it was swordfish instead. I’m not sure what that means except you won’t be advocating any forest trees be cut down soon.

It’s obvious to me a large purse has certain advantages. For instance, you don’t have to worry about a thief snatching it. The purse weighs about as much as a professional tackle in football. It doubles as a weapon; one blow is enough to make someone look like they went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. The large purse doesn’t suggest age to me. Simply put, it translates that I’ve been to the rodeo before, so don’t even think about it.

Some folks like the bumper sticker to speak their mind. I’ll take a purse anytime.

  • Nancy Katz has a degree in creative writing and is the author of the book, "Notes from the Beach." She has written the column Around Town for the Cape Gazette for twenty years. Her style is satirical and deals with all aspects of living in a resort area on Delmarva.

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