Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mom's Handbags

Image: found at

Time has been kidnapping our memories
of the little things:

Her daily routines,
the zany habits.
We used to laugh –
with her and at her.

Today we tried to recall handbags.

There was the decoupaged wooden box
with a cold metal strap that she crafted
herself in the basement in the ‘70s.

In the ‘80s we were broke.
She made do with a LeSportsac
and a gray faux leather bag,
so frayed at the edges that
the cording showed.

Grandma complained at the sight of it,
nearly as much as she complained
that Mom needed a haircut
in order to show off her neck better.

In the ‘90s she took to big totes,
carting around her knitting,
reading materials,
and colorful scarves -
Things to bide her time
and distract.

She wasn’t good at keeping house
or tending handbags.
She’d dig and dig
and dump on counter tops
for keys, glasses, and that lipstick.

She was always putting on lipstick.
This we remember best.
The spread of the bright red grease.
The smack of the lips on Kleenex
until she approved of the mirror’s presentation.
This was ritual.

And there is one thing more we remember:
Our mother kept her purses in the liquor closet.

That’s just the way it was.

© 2010-2014/Jamie K. Reaser

Note from October 2010: October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. In order
to draw attention to the issue, women were asked to post on their Facebook 
wall where they place their handbags when not in use..."I like it in/on the..." 
My two sisters and I tried to remember things about our mother and her
handbags. She died of breast cancer in April 1995, at the age
of 52. Please support breast cancer awareness, and promote
the lifestyle choices that prevent it.

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