The Clues in the Vintage Handbag

When I was a little girl, I idolized Nancy Drew. She was clever, stylish and feisty…my kind of heroine. She made elegance and intellect look easy, showing us that women were not only beautiful creatures, but forces to be reckoned with.

Several of my core interests stemmed from my childhood obsession with Nancy Drew: a nerdy love affair with history, writing strong female characters, and a vintage clothing addiction.

Yesterday, I unearthed a treasure, hidden in the folds of my new vintage handbag. No, the treasure did not have any monetary value, but in my eyes—it was a priceless discovery.

Awestruck, I found myself staring at artifacts in the palm of my hand: baseball tickets and a voting certificate with a list on the back. The year was 1954, a time of I Love Lucy, the Communist Control Act, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, and of course…baseball.

Almost sixty years later, I find these clues from the past, offering a tiny glimpse into another woman’s life.

Looks like I get to be a sleuth after all.

Clue #1:  Baseball Tickets
During the 1954 season, Milwaukee Braves player Hank Aaron was making his permanent mark on the world of baseball. One of the first five African Americans to play in the league, he is considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

When: Sunday, August 22, 1954
Who: Milwaukee Braves vs. Chicago Cubs
Where: Wrigley Stadium
Winner: Milwaukee Braves 12-6

When: Wednesday, August 25, 1954
Who: Milwaukee Braves vs. Philadelphia Phillies
Where: County Stadium
Winner: Milwaukee Braves 4-3

Clue #2:  Voting Certificate and List
Unfortunately, I didn’t have much luck gathering solid information about the voting certificate, and if you have any insights out there, please feel free to comment down below. On the flip side of the certificate was a list, the most revealing lead…

Fly Swatter

So, who was she?
Based on the clues, I have created three different profiles of women, who may have owned the handbag…

  1. FILM  The baseball player’s girlfriend, unconventional and middle class. She enjoyed cheering him on, and never missed a single game. She integrated her love of photography with his love of baseball, documenting every tidbit of their lives together.
  2. SHOES & CHOCOLATE   The baseball fan’s wife, unfaithful and rich. Her husband’s idea of a romantic date always involved a sweaty baseball field. Bored out of her mind, she daydreamed about shoes and her younger lover while eating the chocolate she had stashed in her handbag.
  3. LOAN & FLY SWATTER  The baseball-loving son’s mother, devoted and poor. A struggling feminist, she always voted, hoping for better rights. She yearned to make adequate money to support her son, who wanted to be a baseball player. After the game she went to apply for a loan to avoid losing their home, which had recently been taken over by flies, escaping the summer heat.

If someone were to discover hidden artifacts in my handbag sixty years from now, they would probably find writing/dancing notes and a receipt for dessert.

What about you? Name two clues that might be discovered in your handbag or wallet.

Or, if you care to share…who do YOU think the woman with the handbag was?

12 thoughts on “The Clues in the Vintage Handbag

  1. Sounds like you have the elements for a great short story perhaps based on historical fiction. The various items remind me of a short story by Philip K. Dick called “Paycheck”.

  2. Two clues that are likely to be found in my handbag would be an old ticket to the football (I seem to find them everywhere) and a receipt for dinner at some ridiculously trendy restaraunt. Now if you can figure me out from that I’d be surprised!
    I think the woman with the handbag was a widowed mum whose son played baseball. She bought the film to document his career, the chocolate was a treat for her when she was home alone. The shoes were hers, they were worn from beating the pavement to find work (since the husband died, things were tough) and surely if she could get the manager of the bank to give her a small loan she could make it until she did find work.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Football and a trendy restaurant…I love it, Laura! Thank you for sharing your sleuthing skills, and giving us some insight into your mystery woman with the handbag. Great stuff!

  3. What fun! 🙂 I’m tempted to go find a vintage handbag just to see what I’ll find!

    If someone looked into my handbag years from now, I think they’ll find bits of poetry scribbled on paper, a pen, and maybe those tiny little vials of perfume I like carrying around. 🙂

    1. Totally! And, let me know if you ever come across anything! It was such a surprise to find something…I was so skeptical, thinking the goods were fake. But, the treasure appears to be legit.

      Thanks for contributing your personal clues. Man, those little vials of perfume end up everywhere, don’t they? : )

  4. Hmm…this is a great, engaging post.

    My duffel bag aka: large red nappa leather purse that I LOVE would have reciepts for work scribbled with “reimbursable” on them. In one of the zippered compartments, you would find may some healing gemstones in a small velvet pouch, alongside a bible, rosary and Yogananda’s positive affirmations.. Hey, what can I say – I’m well rounded.

    Woman with handbag ….she was on a first date. The shoes and chocolate were in anticipation of a second date. Fly swatter was in anticipation of no second date …and no second chance! Loan was because …she don’t need no stinkin’ man. 🙂

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