The Handbag



Neighborhood: Midtown

The Handbag
Photo by John Quilty

My good friend’s elderly grandmother was always losing her handbag – leaving it in restaurants, bank lobbies, once in a Times Square movie theatre. One morning the old woman awoke and could not remember what her handbag was for; and so, within weeks her family moved her to a nursing home where her senility rapidly progressed. When she finally passed away her granddaughter went to the home to claim the old woman’s belongings, but could not find her grandmother’s handbag.

A year later while browsing a thrift store on the Lower East Side, my friend spotted a Dior handbag that looked like her grandmother’s. When she opened it, she found a napkin inside with a message written on it in her grandmother’s handwriting! The message on the napkin read: “Help me! Please get me out of here!” My friend left the handbag in the thrift store. She wanted no bad memories.

Just today while walking down 57th Street with my friend, we were overwhelmed by a giant Dior handbag – the world’s largest handbag – outside a boutique near Madison Avenue. The enormous two-story handbag is an exact replica of the one the old lady used to carry. The one she always lost. The one that mysteriously ended up in a thrift shop. The one that became so large no one could ever lose it again.

John Quilty is a writer who lives in New York City.

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§ 3 Responses to “The Handbag”

  • That’s so funny! I know those old lady handbags, too, and they’re always turning up in strange places, blown up to giant- size, like they’d finished off a couple of bottles of Lewis Carroll’s “Drink Me” potion! Who is this “Quilty” guy, whose pix and stories turn up all over NYC — kind of a giant-size kink-head, I’d guess.

  • Smith says:

    Reads like a novel in three paragraphs. Surrealism.

  • It is commonly said that a women’s life fits inside her handbag !

§ Leave a Reply

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