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A purse lost in the 1950s has become an unexpected time capsule, revealing what life was like then

High schooler Patti Rumfola lost her purse in the late 1950s. It was discovered a few years ago, providing a peek into what a teenager's life would have been like back then.

A purse lost in the 1950s has become an unexpected time capsule, revealing what life was like then
Image Source: NCCSvikings / Facebook

In 2019, a custodian at the North Canton Middle School in Stark County, Ohio, was repairing lockers when he discovered a bag lodged behind a piece of detachable metal. While the purse itself was dirty and dusty, its contents were well-preserved. After looking through the purse, school authorities discovered that it belonged to Patti Rumfola. She lost the bag in 1957 when she was a teenager attending what was then known as Hoover High School. Since it was discovered, the purse has become an unexpected time capsule, capturing the essence of what life was like back in the late 1950s, My Modern Met reports.


Some of the items found in Rumfola's purse included her American Junior Red Cross card, ticket stubs, a YMCA membership card, sharpened pencils and pens, a pocket calendar and photos of her friends and family. At first, when the school identified her as the bag's rightful owner, they contacted the North Canton Alumni Association. They hoped to get in touch with her to return her purse. The association discovered that she had graduated from Hoover High in 1960. Unfortunately, the former student passed away in 2013 in DuBois, Pennsylvania. She would never get to experience the nostalgia of seeing some tokens from her past.


According to her obituary, Rumfola was a retired school teacher who worked in Annapolis, Maryland. She was active in her community, just as she was while in high school, and helped establish the Theatre Arts Guild as well as the Young Women’s Club in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. In addition to this, she was a costume designer and seamstress with the Reitz Theater. The former Hoover High student enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren.


As the school could not return the purse to Rumfola, they reached out to her children. North Canton Middle School wrote about the exchange in a Facebook post. "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," they stated. "Those of you who may have gone to school in the 1950s or 1960s may have memories of some of these items. In one of the photos, you will see nine coins from Patti’s wallet. Each of her five children kept one of the wheat pennies as a token of remembrance of their mom." The family also gave the school permission to share the contents of her purse with the public, who enjoyed learning more about her past. One Facebook user commented, "Thank you for sharing. This was great for her children to be there to see what was in their mother's purse. Love this."


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