A school janitor in Ohio found a student’s purse that had been crammed into a crevice and forgotten about for 60 years, CNN reports. The purse’s original owner has passed away, but even so, it serves as something of a time capsule of the daily life of a teenager in the 1950s.
In May 2019, Chas Pyle, the custodian at North Canton Middle School, was doing some routine work when he found the purse. It seems that near one set of lockers, there was about a four-inch gap between the wall and the lockers. The gap had been covered with a piece of trim for as long as anyone could remember, and no one gave a thought to the idea of anything at all being behind it.
However, the trim had come loose, and when Pyle went to replace it, he found a red, dust-covered purse in between the wall and the lockers.
At the time, school officials didn’t identify whom the purse belonged to or what its contents were, in order to have a better chance at finding its original owner. Now that several months have passed, the owner — or at least, her family — has been found, and officials are revealing her name and what was in her purse.
The purse’s owner has been identified as Patti Rumfola, who apparently lost it one day all the way back in 1957. Unfortunately, Rumfola has passed away in 2013, but school officials were able to get the purse — and its contents — to her descendants.
“Patti’s five children were together for a family gathering in the fall where they opened the purse to have a glimpse into their mother’s life as a teenager at Hoover High School,” the school said.
The contents give something of a glimpse into the daily life of an Ohio teenager in the 1950s.
Not unlike a purse belonging to a teenage girl of 2020, Patti’s contained makeup, including some powder and “pastel pink” lipstick. It also had a comb, some pencils and a couple of erasers, and a pen, as well as membership cards to the local library and to the YMCA. She also appears to have kept a few photographs, including one featuring what is believed to be the family dog. One photo was signed.
“Patti. Good luck to a swell girl and friend. Bonnie,” the inscription read.
There was also a bit of money inside — 26 cents, some of it made up in wheat pennies, which were given to her children as mementos.