Happy Birthday, Mom … so what was in “The Purse”?

This is my Mom.


Looking perfectly darling in her perfectly darling straw hat….and clutching her bottomless, mysterious, secretive straw purse…. “The Purse”


Nearly five years ago, as we prepared to take a train trip to Florida to visit Mom’s sister (and DisneyWorld), Mom was insistent that “The Purse” never leave her sight.

Sing to tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (The parenthetical remarks are not to be sung – you know, because they are …. parenthetical)

All my bags are packed I’m ready to go
(Actually, they’ve been packed for 2 weeks, and now I can’t find my beige pants)
I’ve tried my best, but I can’t say “no”
(Well, I’ve said “no” a few times, but no one will pay attention, darn it!)
Already I’m so anxious I could sigh
(Yes, a little sighing)
My nails are done and my hair is cut
(My nails look great, and my hair is just darling)
I’ve stopped the mail and my doors are shut
(And locked, tightly, a lot, every one of them, really….)
Now Jim’s blowin’ his horn and so I’ll say good-bye
(He does get a little anxious sometimes, doesn’t he? “Hold on, Jim, I’ll be out in a minute, er in an hour, er soon”)

So kiss me and smile for me
(Because this will be a great time, but I could use a little support, and a little sleep, I’ve been up for days. And, by the way, who thought this was a good idea! What are their credentials? Where is my car?)

Read my blogs and be happy for me
(We’ll keep you posted and I’m sure provide some laughs)
I’ll hold “The Purse” and never let it go
(Actually, I’ll clutch it to me like it was a part of my body – Good luck getting a Kleenex, or tic-tacs, or my wallet, or whatever else is in there!!)

Cause I’m leavin’ on a big train
(By the way, do they make these for personal use, ‘cause I could use one at home!)
Don’t know if they’ll have me back again
(Can’t wait for the first conversation with the conductor, the porter and any of the 200 interesting passengers who will be my best friends by the end of the trip) 

Alrighty then, I’m ready, here I go!!!

The trip was a family event.  My sister, Cathy and brother, Ralph came in to help Mom pack and get organized for the trip.

Sitting on the 'Cow'ch at the Baraboo Candy factory

(We live in Wisconsin, of course a cow was involved)

This was made more challenging when we realized that Mom could not decide which of the 55 pair of shoes (you heard me right…55) she needed to pack.


As the day approached for the big trip, we packed and unpacked several times.   Mom made lists, I made lists, Mom organized ensembles, I …. well I didn’t do that….  I made itineraries….


…  travelogues …

Travelogue Examples.003

(It’s possible that including the story of the Circus Train Wreck might have been too much information …  just possible)

Luggage Tags

… and luggage tags (I know.  I need a life).


Sister, Karen and her husband, Rich were part of this great adventure (Karen has either just read about the train wreck or realized that we will be on the train for three full days).


The train offered some challenges (so…who exactly is climbing on to the top bunk?)…


…but I remember plenty of giggles and fun times (yes, Mom is leading a conga line into the dining room, and yes she still has “The Purse”).


Mom loved her room steward, Bill (note:  she still has “The Purse”).


While we traveled, we wrote a blog and the whole family kept up with our travels, made their own comments, shared memories and took a few quizzes.


We arrived in Orlando, safe and sound (hat and “The Purse” intact).


Mom loved Disney.  Disney loved Mom.   Mom loved “The Purse”.


“The Purse” never left her side.


Mom mocked those who would try to remove “The Purse” from her clutches.


After two days of DisneyWorld, Epcot and the Animal Kingdom, we visited my Aunt Marianna.   The hat was gone, but Mom still had “The Purse”.


Even a family picture did not loosen her grip.


“The Purse” had begun to take on a life of it’s own.  A third party to every conversation, a tag-a-long, a third wheel….


A companion perhaps…

and yet…


…as the sun began to set it was clear that something miraculous was happening.


… “The Purse”, finally, after three days of train travel, 3 days of Disney and a glass of wine …  had a rest!!

Mom would have been 88 years old today, and we all miss her so much, but we are all quite certain that she still has “The Purse”.

Happy Birthday, Mom.

Category: Cast of Characters, Don't Judge Me..., Memories and Traditions, My Life as a Musical, My Other Wonderful Family, Old Memories, Smile
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(3) Comments and (1) Reply

  1. Yvonne | December 3, 2013 at 12:20 am | Reply

    Hello there,
    I just had to comment on your hilarious holiday with your mother (may she rest in peace) and ‘THE PURSE’. Honestly, I laughed so much I cried. I’m sure your mother would have found the whole episode very entertaining. I can see so many similarities and that’s what made it so funny. Thank you for making my day.
    Cheers Yvonne

    • jill | December 3, 2013 at 1:33 pm | Reply

      Oh, thank you so much. She was a kick and I agree, Mom would have giggled. Do have a great day, and thanks for your nice note!


  2. Cammy Basak | January 6, 2014 at 9:16 am | Reply

    I do remember your dear mom and having many conversations with her at your home in Elk Grove. She was certainly a great lady. I am sorry to hear that she has passed and am sure you miss her very much.

    I just had to tell you, we have the same “purse” thing going on with my mom, who turned 95 in September. She uses a walker which I store in the back seat when I am driving her somewhere. There is a bag attached to the walker which she uses to carry her purse. However, when we are driving the purse must come out of the bag and into her lap. Someone might steal it in the back seat of the car! She won’t even allow me to carry it for her. (Well, that might be smart, as I am known to misplace my own purse.) My mom’s two pieces of advice for her daughters have always been “Keep your purse closed and wear your lipstick.”

    Also, your blog is phenomenal! So creative and visually appealing, Jill, but not unexpected with your many talents.

  3. Joe Nugara | October 20, 2016 at 11:28 am | Reply

    A heartfelt story of a last great family trek. This delineation of love should be published in the form of a touchy freely book. I see a marketable publication. Great layout, pictures, puzzles, stories, travelogue, intrigue, poetry and patience. Wonderful interaction of loving memories. What was in Fran’s security blanket?
    You rock Jill!

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