Nana’s Handbag

July 31, 2008 at 5:03 pm (Family and Friends) (, )

After writing about my Grandma the other day, I started thinking about Nana, who we lost just this past spring. I actually feel a bit weird about it, as I didn’t fly home for the funeral. I had just been home, couldn’t afford to go back, and it was perfectly reasonable. But it still feels odd to miss your own Grandmother’s funeral.

I currently have the picture of Nana and myself from just below as my wallpaper on my computer (why yes it is a very old picture, however did you guess?). It was a pretty common scene: Nana, with at least on Grandkid (she had 7) peeking into her handbag,

Me checking out Nana's Handbag

Me checking out Nana's Handbag

Nana’s handbag was really fascinating for two reasons. This first, most obvious, one was that it always, always, always had candy. She usually referred to them as sweets. But no matter what you called them, chances were good that if Nana was digging in her handbag, you were about to be offered a candy. Judging by the picture above, on that day I had either already been offered one, or had asked.

Her handbag wasn’t the only place with candy. You were also invariable offered one from her little tin if you rode in the car with Nana. The green apple shaped cookie jar was always full, and more often than not, unless it was almost meal time or Mom was right there to stop it, you got a small cookie if you just looked at it for a bit. My Nana liked her sweets

The other reason why Nana’s handbag was so fascinating, at least to me as a little girl, is a bit less obvious. That is, unless you remember what it’s like to be a kid. See, my mom had a purse. It was black leather and had a long shoulder strap (she actually had a series of purses, but I was 8 or 9 at least before I realized this). Other women I knew had purses. Most were black, most had shoulder straps.

So, what made Nana’s handbag so special? It was called a handbag. No one else that I knew carried a handbag, or even any sort of bag that looked like Nana’s. At least not on a regular basis. I’m not sure what exactly I thought it was, but I was fascinated with it because it was different. I very definitely connected the word handbag solely with my Nana for many years. In fact, I’m not quite sure when I figured out that other people could carry a handbag. Even to this day, if I refer to one as a handbag, or someone mentions one, I think of my Nana.

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