Life
School janitor finds lost purse from the 50s and it’s like traveling back in time
The teen's purse was discovered by some lockers decades after she lost it. Since then, the world has been fascinated by the items inside.
Jenny Brown
07.16.21

Those of us who carry a purse know they can contain a lot of items. Besides essentials, sometimes we throw in random junk like receipts, papers, and beauty products.

Just imagine if someone found your purse six decades from now. Would they think the items inside were interesting? In the story below – that’s exactly what happened.

At a North Canton Middle School in Ohio, students and staff got a look into the life of a student from the 1950s.

Wedged between some old lockers and the wall of the school was a little red purse. When it was finally discovered it was obviously covered in decades of dust and spiderwebs, but the school custodian pried it out.

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, May 30, 2019

But how come the purse went unnoticed for so long?

A commenter quoted a story from the previous year explaining:

“On May 29, 2019, North Canton Middle School custodian Chas Pyle heard a loud noise in a side hallway by the gymnasium. When he investigated the sound, he discovered that a piece of metal trim that covers a narrow opening between a set of lockers and the wall had become detached and fallen to the floor with a loud clang. As Pyle worked to reattach the trim, he noticed a red object at the bottom of the narrow opening, a purse covered with about six inches of dust.”

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, February 13, 2020

When the school posted the photos on Facebook, followers got to work trying to track down the student who was around 14-years-old at the time.

The purse belonged to Patti Rumfola, a 1960 Hoover High School graduate. Unfortunately, it turns out the Patti passed away 7 years ago.

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, February 13, 2020

However, the school did get in touch with her family.

In the Fall, Patti’s 5 children gathered together to open the purse – and it was quite the time capsule. It gave them enormous insight into their mother’s life as a teen.

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

By February, the school received permission from the children to post photos of the contents on their Facebook page for those who had been following the story. The post has now been shared over 64,000 times!

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

The caption read, in part:

“Those of you who may have gone to school in the 1950s or 1960s may have memories of some of these items. In one of the photos, you will see nine coins from Patti’s wallet. Each of her five children kept one of the wheat pennies as a token of remembrance of their mom.”

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, February 13, 2020

From school supplies to a variety of ID cards, the purse had a wealth of objects that fascinated viewers from around the world.

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

Now that’s an old stick of gum…

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, February 13, 2020

One thing’s for sure – Patti kept a LOT of stuff in her purse. And we can totally relate.

Next time we’re feeling guilty about all those extra papers, we might just think about how they might add to the historical record someday!

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

In a time without cell phones, the teen had carried actual photos in her purse.

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

With a wallet full of calling cards, high school sports schedules, and photos of friends, Patti appears to have been quite an active and popular student.

There was even a cute little cartoon and a drawing of it.

Facebook - North Canton City Schools
Source:
Facebook - North Canton City Schools

She had a very full life.

When she passed away in 2013, her obituary was proof that she never stopped being outgoing and active. She had worked as a teacher in Annapolis, Maryland and helped found both the Theatre Arts Guild and Young Women’s Club in Puxatawny, Pennsylvania. She was also active in book and quilting clubs and was even a costume designer and seamstress for the local Reitz Theater.

Posted by North Canton City Schools onThursday, February 13, 2020

So, if your purse was found in the future, would it be as fascinating as this one was? Surely it would give people something to talk about too.

Scroll down to see the entire Facebook post with all of the photos. It’s like opening up a time capsule!

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Jenny Brown
hi@sbly.com
Jenny Brown is a senior writer at Shareably. She is based in San Francisco and can be reached at hi@shareably.net.
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