Lost Purse Found After Six Decades

The purse, recently found by a custodian, offers a glimpse into the life of a teenager in 1957.
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Various items that were in Patti’s purse including lipstick, a ruler, comb, pencils and erasers.

Various items that were in Patti’s purse including lipstick, a ruler, comb, pencils and erasers.

NORTH CANTON, Ohio — A purse lost by a girl 63 years ago has been found in the wall of a school in Ohio. 

Chas Pyle, a custodian at North Canton Middle School in Ohio, found the red purse wedged behind a locker while carrying out maintenance work last year.

After investigating its contents, the school identified the purse’s owner as former student Patti Rumfola and in a Facebook post last month that went viral, the school showed off the contents.

Rumfola, who lost the item in 1957, died in 2013 but the school was able to get in contact with her children to return the purse and give them a glimpse into their mom’s life as a teenager.

Lost since 1957, the purse had fallen between a school locker and wall.

Lost since 1957, the purse had fallen between a school locker and wall.

The school said in the Facebook post: “Thanks to the investigative work of many of you on Facebook, we were able to track down Patti’s family. Unfortunately, we found out that Patti has passed away.

“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. Since that time, we have received permission from the family to share photos of the contents. 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 school revealed that the purse held their mother’s identification card, membership cards to various organizations, several ticket stubs that cost 50 cents or less, photographs of family, friends and a dog, and a stick of Beech-Nut gum.

One of the photos had a written message that said: “Patti, good luck to a swell girl and friend. Never forget the wonderful times we had. I hope we can be friends always, even though we’re far apart. Bonnie, ’56.” It also contained a comb, some make-up, stationery and typical items for a teenage girl in 1957 to be carrying.

The school said Rumfola had a career as a teacher and was active in their choir and also worked with her community theater. 

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