So here's the story of the polka dot purse, the one that looks like it should be on Marilyn's arm in Some Like It Hot. This one came to me courtesy of an estate sale, and it's just been listed, sold and shipped to its new owner. It's canvas, with leather hand straps, and a brass toggle on the top to keep it securely shut. And it has a bright lipstick red interior, with a side pocket that zips.
I imagine someone forgot to clean out that side pocket though. And they left a little mystery for consideration.
Remember this is a late Fifties purse. A time of women in high heels, sheath dresses, red lipstick, gloves and hats. A time when women didn't usually take off and travel out-of-town by themselves.
This little calendar dates it perfectly to the summer of 1962. *Not* 1963 - because only the summer months of 1962 are on this calender (versus the early spring months of 1963)and no woman would have used a white purse before Memorial Day or after Labor Day back in the early Sixties.
Especially not to go to the beauty parlor to get her hair done. Everyone sees you at the beauty parlor.
So, Wednesday August 21, 1962....our mystery lady gets her hair done, first thing in the morning.
She has someone's credit card for gas (I've obscured the name and account number), but would like to point out that this was *not* the name of the family being liquidated at the sale. So was it a friend? A lover? Someone close enough to hand over his credit card. (And apparently he never got it back). Someone who knew she needed to travel that day and wanted to be sure she made it to her destination.
And then there are scraps of paper with large numbers listed and totalled. $10,217.00 - an awful lot of money back in 1962.
And a couple of phone numbers (yes, children those are phone numbers, back before private exchanges were common). And more large numbers, this time with names.
With another scrap: "you $1,000.00 cash" and "Hall $5000.00" Remember, in 1962 you could buy a new car for around $3000, and a new home for $13,000. The average income was $5500 a year. So what in the world do all these large dollar sums mean?
Then a matchbook from Nick's Caribbean Restaurant in Myrtle Beach - approximately 6 hours by car from Virginia Beach (Nick's is long gone btw).
Our girl was nervous while she waited at Nick's - there are several matches torn out.
And a scribbled note to herself: "meek & timid.... bashful, reserved."
Wonder who she was waiting for, sitting in the bar at Nick's, smoking cigarette after cigarette, worrying over being meek and timid, totaling up figures on scraps of paper. Wonder what she needed that money for? Wonder if James knew why she needed his gas card, or if maybe she borrowed it without asking?
What an interesting little mystery.