It’s purse-onal
Thursday July 19th 2018, 11:18 pm
Filed under: Life

When my mom worked in the English department of my high school, there was an assignment of vocabulary words that the kids were to put into sentences.

Which is how on one kid’s paper a damsel in distress cried down from the tower to the knight in shining armor, Frugal me! Frugal me!

(Frugal, the dictionary said: to save. The kid hadn’t read past that.)


So. This has seen newer days.

But the cheap black leather purse I had bought at Costco for my father-in-law’s funeral (because this one just would not do), the one whose strap edges frayed badly at ten days (the price sank to $20 after reviews piled up), had one strap rip out altogether a few weeks ago.

I went back to my favorite. The one embossed with those knitted cables on that soft, substantial leather. The most awesome big purse a knitter could ever hope for. I hadn’t realized how much I’d been missing it, shabby though it had begun to look.

My longtime dry cleaner was landlorded out last month (a developer had made the owner a better offer) and I needed to find me a new one.

I deliberately chose the one next door to the shoe repair place halfway across town.

But did not go in.

Today was when the dry cleaning was to be picked up and I told myself, okay, now or never. You need to know. (I think the bigger hurdle was that I was going to have to do without it for however long.) I went in that other door.

I’m a knitter, I told the guy, putting my purse on his counter so he could see that side, and I love my old purse. I even wrote a knitting book. I’ve been using this for three years. It’s me. Can you rescue it?

He saw those cables and thought it was a really cool piece of leatherwork.

And see here? The only inner pocket it has is this plastic one and it’s broken. If I wanted to have you make it a new lining with a zippered pocket on one side and open pockets on the other, could you do that?

Now, I know this guy has a bit of a reputation for being gruff but in that moment he was anything but. Yes, he said with great pride, wanting to do this for me, he could. He would clean it and touch up the dye, too; that would be $45 and then we could talk about the other.

I think he wanted to see my reaction to that number. I was already figuring a complete reconstruction of the interior and fixing of the exterior was probably going to run me about what I’d paid for the bag in the first place, but there is no replacing it. As Richard said to me later, He’s got to charge $100 an hour in this town just to break even.

I didn’t have anything to put all my stuff in, I told him, but I would be back. And I meant it.

Sometimes you just gotta do right by an old friend.

And if you ever hear of a good leather purse with knitting designs embossed in it, please tell me. I know this one will someday go the way of all the earth after all I can do.

3 Comments so far
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I love the title of your post!

I guess the man is also an artist, a craftsman even.

I’m glad you decided to take a chance on him.

Comment by Suzanne in Montreal 07.20.18 @ 6:55 am

Oh my gosh…I’ve been there!!! You have to prolong it’s life however long you can. It’s like a part of you!!!

Comment by Jayleen Hatmaker 07.20.18 @ 7:15 am

I remember an old Justin Wilson (Cajun) story about “frugal me, frugal me”. To keep that old leather purse in good shape, after you get it back, go over it once in a while with saddle soap–it will never wear out.

Comment by Sherry in Idaho 07.20.18 @ 9:50 am

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