I was never much of a handbag girl, maybe because I grew up in a 1920's house. This really does make sense-1920's houses had small closets, tiny closets that did not foresee the future of 1970s middle class families with more than one week supply of clothes, or shoes, or handbags. My Mom had a normal number of purses for her time, but, crammed into tight spaces, they avalanched on top of her every time she searched for the one in the back. It was a constant source of amusement for the rest of us, that tumbling sound, the soft cry of dismay, and I swore, as a black-clad 80's teen, I wouldn't ever need anything more than a backpack, or something like the grey laundry bag that Ally Sheedy dragged around in The Breakfast Club.
But we change. We grow. Or, our closet space does. And somehow, that indispensable accessory, the thing that sends you into a phantom-limb panic when you don't feel its weight on your shoulder, becomes a symbol, a banner. I don't like status bags, I still don't get them, but the older ones tell a story-vintage gifts from Mom, from friends, anonymous hand-made pocketbooks found for two dollars, the beaded purse my mother carried with her on dates, and she saved, in a way, just for me, the daughter she couldn't have known she would have.