Notice to unique purses worldwide: You’ve got a friend in Bernie NordmanI have a large collection of unusual purses, and they got more looks than I did this summer.
By: Bernie Nordman, Budgeteer News
I have a large collection of unusual purses, and they got more looks than I did this summer.
They were part of a window display at Billings’ Museum of Women’s History during July. The display brought in quite a bit of traffic for the downtown museum. Then, last month, they were on display at the MontanaFair, also in Billings. The purse display won an “honorable mention” ribbon.
It was green, my favorite color. Regardless, it was just a fancy way for organizers to tell me “Thanks for showing up and bringing your purses.” I did win the coveted People’s Choice Award, though. When people look at the different hobbies on display, they are encouraged to vote.
The people spoke; they thought my display was the best on the opening days of the fair. That made me smile. What do the official judges know, anyway? The first year I entered the fair, my display won a first-place, blue ribbon.
Next year, I have some great ideas of how to display my purses to get a blue ribbon again.
My collection got its start several years ago, quite by accident. I was taking an ex-boyfriend to a doctor’s appointment and a woman was carrying the coolest purse I had ever seen. It was a purse that looked like a Chinese takeout box (pictured). She refused my offers to buy it off her in the waiting room.
However, she did tell me that she found it on eBay.
That started my obsession with seeking out the weirdest purses I could find and make them my own. I bought one that very night.
Needless to say, eBay is like a drug for people who collect things. Only it’s legal and it’s not done in a back alley with someone being a lookout for the cops. I don’t really know how those back-alley things go; I just use my imagination and images from movies and cop shows that I have seen.
I now have more than 200 purses in my collection. There are too many to list.
However, I will share some of my more popular and unusual ones. (Note that “unusual” is a kind way of saying “weird.”)
I have a large yellow pleather purse that looks like a chicken. That one turns heads.
When Roy, my fiancé, became a master gardener, he bought me a purse that looks like a pink watering can.
I have an antique purse that was made out of cigarette wrappers by a prison inmate. I suppose it gave him something to do with all those wrappers when they were chain smoking in prison.
One that I really had to search for, that I could afford without selling a body part, was my telephone purse (pictured). Yes, its telephone is real, and it works: The handle is the receiver, the front of the purse has push buttons that really dial out and the inside has the jack. It was made in the ’70s long before cell phones were common.
I occasionally carry a huge working-clock purse as well. People think they are amusing by suggesting that I must always be on time. The thing hangs down past my hip, unless I kick it up with my thigh. I can’t see what time it is.
That is not an attractive look. I have tried it and almost fallen over.
My most recent acquisition was a purse made just for me. I always hear about women carrying everything but the kitchen sink in their purse, so I had a purse made that looks like a kitchen sink with cupboards on the front (pictured). It is really a simple and functional purse.
Roy is quite good about my little obsession. It takes a real man to be seen with a woman who is carrying a purse that is so unusual. I didn’t realize how good he was about it until we went out to dinner one night with friends and he had to carry my purse.
That night I was carrying a purse that looked like a polka-dotted blue bustier. There was a long wait for a table and I wanted to go outside. I set my purse on the little table we were waiting at then went outside with a friend who was joining us for dinner. While we were outside our table was called. Roy told me that he panicked a bit at first. He looked at his brother we were having dinner with and then at a cowboy sitting nearby.
This is Montana. The cowboy gave Roy a knowing, sorrowful look. Roy looked the cowboy in the eye and said, “If you are going to have to do a job, then you might as well do it right.” He put the purse over his crooked arm and pranced to the hostess table with all the gaiety of a happy school girl. His brother looked for a hole to crawl into.
When they got to the hostess stand, Roy made a big deal about “his” purse. He asked the hostess if the blue matched his eyes. She loved the purse and grabbed a couple waitresses over to the table to look at it. When I came back in, there were three women gathered around our table. Roy was opening my purse and showing off its features. I was so proud! Confidence is sexy, don’t you think?
Now all my family and friends are on the lookout for unusual purses for me. They figure if it’s ugly and they wouldn’t carry it, I must have it. I have received quite a few purses as presents over the years. It’s always nice to be told that something was so weird they had to buy it for me. Have you ever seen an armadillo purse? I’m always looking to give the poor strange and/or odd purses (old or new) a loving home. Next time you see a weird purse and wonder who would carry something like that, well … now you know.
Duluth “expat” Bernie Nordman can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.