Alison Garwood Jones

The Right Purse

April 4, 2023

I buy a new purse about once or twice a decade. Yesterday I bought two (TWO!) in the span of an hour. No more spending until 2033.

You see, I moved into my brick-and-beam condo without checking the closet space. A walk-in is for other people. I have a shoulder-in closet and a ton of stuff rammed under my bed.

I signed on the dotted line for my condo because I open the front door to the sight of two (TWO!) six-and-a-half-foot tall windows that offer a “big sky” view of Toronto’s west end and, at sunrise, the distant gleaming skyscrapers of Mississauga, which I’ve taken to calling Hoboken from my perch (snooty, I know).

In the past few weeks, I’ve been running to these windows every time I hear the oncoming honks of a trio of Canadian geese, back from wherever because it’s spring here in Toronto. As they fly past and head towards Lake Ontario, I get a very intimate view of their fat, fuzzy bellies, blinking eyes, and poo drops ( like B-17 bombing raids over Europe during WWII). The theatre through these windows never disappoints.

But let’s get back to the purses, which I have taken to displaying on my bookshelves because of the closet problem. The first two are a pair of beauties I purchased yesterday at Toronto’s annual Vintage Show at the historical Canadian Exhibition grounds. The colourful one is a hard shell with a snap clasp covered in a swirly silk scarf pattern that dates back to about 1962. I’m sure its previous owner paired it with white cat’s-eye sunglasses, a crinoline dress or pencil skirt with a matching sweater, and kitten heels.

My new purse from the Toronto Vintage Show

Yay baby!My new purse from the Toronto Vintage Show
Turn to the right.

The second is a black evening clutch with the perfect gold bow clasp. It was made in Montreal by Paramount bags.My new purse from the Toronto Vintage Show

I mean, look at it!

My God, its elegance is off the charts. And look! Inside there’s a gold satin change purse for those shiny pennies that the Canadian mint stopped making years ago. Back then, a few quarters went a long way. Beyond the change purse, there would have been a powder puff and a Kleenex square, and maybe a breath mint. I will fill this envelope with my iPhone, a credit card, the Kleenex square, and that universal tube of red lipstick that has been empowering us girls since forever.My new purse from the Toronto Vintage Show

What’s in your purse?

The third purse was purchased from the same show about 15 years ago. Note: As my hair gets threaded with more silver, I’ve kept my cougar accessories to a minimum. But this was a rare instance where I said, “Take my money!” Now hear me roar!My new purse from the Toronto Vintage Show

I had to bang this purse back into shape after I sat on it.

The swirly purse enjoyed date night last night. She sat on the bar top next to a glass of Barolo. As a final touch, I’m going to take her to my favourite cobbler and ask him to add feet to her flat base. I want her to rise above the messiness of life.


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