Once in awhile, I run across an interesting vintage item that really causes me to believe that it just longs to tell its secrets.
I don’t even remember where I found this sensational beaded flapper purse, but it absolutely HAS to have secrets to share. It’s possible that it belonged to a woman named Ruth, for inside, there is an envelope addressed to a “Miss Ruth Weaver” with a return address stamped on the back from a chiropractor and a postmark of 1926 Indianapolis where she lived just south of historic Woodruff Place. Did Miss Weaver have a bad back from dancing the night away? Or was the chiropractor a beau?
Admiring the multitude of midnight blue carnival glass seed beads, patiently sewn onto the silk purse in loops, I wonder — Did they once shimmer enticingly in the dim lights of the speakeasy Miss Weaver and her beau spent the evening dancing and (gasp!) imbibing in the forbidden “waters”?
It was inside the purse that I found the folded envelope. And inside the envelope are lots of loose beads and two straight pins. Was Miss Ruth in the process of completing the decoration of her purse, or are they wayward beads that tried to escape as she kicked up her heels in her new, flirtatious flapper dress? We’ll never know but there’s more …
The purse handle, made of black grosgrain ribbon and hand sewn to the frame, is broken in two! You don’t suppose she was in a speakeasy when a quick exit was required?! As she picked up her purse to make her escape, maybe it caught on the corner of a chair back, breaking the handle and a few of the threads which held the sparkling beads. She would have quickly picked her purse up off the floor and vainly tried to scoop up as many of the, now wild and carefree, beads as she could to erase any evidence that she’d been there. In her distress, a young man stops to help corral the beads and slips a few wayward ones into an envelope he happens to have in the breast pocket of his jazz suit. Handing Ruth the envelope, he helps her to her feet and guides her to the safety of the lighted sidewalks of Indianapolis where they pretend to have known one another for some time and have just stepped out of the neighboring theater only to find chaos on the street in front of them.
Once the danger has passed, Ruth notices the last trolley car of the evening arriving. She quickly thanks her new friend for his help and smiles sweetly before turning and going up the steps and taking a seat. Looking out the window, she sees him wave to her. She smiles and returns the gesture. As the trolley starts forward, she realizes … they did not introduce themselves! She doesn’t know his name!
But once Ruth reaches her home, she opens her purse and finds the envelope … with the name and address …
As you can see, this purse needs a new owner. I’m having entirely too much fun making up Miss Weaver’s escapades! (Or maybe … Miss Weaver was the crotchety old maid aunt who snatched the purse from her gallivanting niece, tearing the handle and breaking the loops of thread holding the beads. Angry, because the beads have scattered on her floor, Aunty grabs an old envelope from her chiropractor’s office and places the beads inside…..)