Many of you know that I am the excavator’s wife. It seems simpler to tell the rest of the story from my point of view.
The first thing I noticed as I emptied the damp wallet was an identification card dated September 1, 1954. I was really excited about this find. It was a piece of local history somehow buried for over sixty years! My mind was flooded with questions. Where had it been hidden for so long? Why had no one found it until the building was demolished? What can I find out about the owner and is she still alive? Will she remember this wallet and how it went missing? My excitement grew with each new piece discovered.
I discovered that the owner of the wallet was named Ruth. That’s my name! This young Ruth from 1954 had been a student at the school. She was seventeen years old, was 4′ 11″ tall, weighed 112 pounds and had brown hair and hazel eyes! All that information, including the date, was found on Ruth’s FHA (Future Homemakers of America) membership card. We called it Home Economics when I was in school and the majority of girls signed up for Home Ec learning how to sew and cook and manage a household. My mind drifted a bit thinking how silly that must seem to young women today. But it was the 50’s and that’s the way it was. Many girls’ hopes and dreams revolved around home and family. Women’s Lib was still a few years away.
Next I checked the coin compartment of the wallet. Maybe some coins? Lunch money? Nothing but a red button with a tiny piece of red thread attached and a promise from Perry.
I carefully attempted to remove several classmates photos which were carefully tucked in the plastic sleeves for pictures. Because they were damp, some of the edges tore apart as they stuck to the plastic. I continued to remove everything I could. I was afraid if they dried inside the plastic they would be even more damaged. Several of the pictures had messages on the back; bringing back memories of trading senior pictures with my classmates and trying to come up with something witty to write on the back.
I found a basketball schedule for the schools varsity team, a poem titled “To a Young Nurse” and a absolutely wonderful handwritten list titled “What I want in a husband”. The list was well worn, folded so as to fit in the wallet, and looked like it was composed over a period of time. I pictured her in study hall with a friend or at a slumber party, giggling and trying to come up with what she and her friends desired in a husband.
Must love to dance
Should not tell shady stories
Enjoys talking but doesn’t overtalk
not too mushy
considerate of my feelings and family
frank, truthful, intelligent
dependable and has a good job
responsible with money
fairly good-looking with a fairly recent model of car
has a nice place in society
must love children
Loves nature and sports
And then I discovered an old sample perfume card. It was the size of a business card and the perfume was called “Desert Flower”. I was amazed that I could still smell the fragrance! It must have been some potent perfume to have lasted over sixty years!
Stay tuned for Part Three…