Lifestyle & Human Interest

Custodian Discovers Purse Wedged Between Locker and Wall, Opens Accidental Time Capsule


A red clutch purse from 1957 that was recently discovered at an Ohio school has friends and family members marveling over what life was like for a teenage girl back in the 50s.

According to North Canton City Schools, in the spring of 2019, North Canton Middle School custodian Chas Pyle was at work when he heard a loud metallic-sounding noise in a hallway.

When Pyle went to investigate the sound, he found that a piece of metal trim that filled the gap between a set of lockers and the wall had come loose and fallen to the ground.

As Pyle lifted the fallen trim, he saw a dust-covered red object wedged deep inside the narrow opening.

It was a red clutch purse, an accidental time capsule that had been left untouched for over 60 years.

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Pyle took the bag to the school office and, joined by the school secretaries, peered into it.

They discovered that the bag belonged to alumnus Patti Rumfola, a 1960 graduate from the school, named Hoover High School at the time.

Rumfola died in 2013, but her purse is an heirloom and a small treasure trove of what it was like to be a high school student in the late 1950s.

North Canton City Schools got permission from Rumfola’s five children to share the items found in her purse, which ranged from chewing gum to lipstick to a long-expired library card.

Rumfola had been carrying two pieces of jewelry, a piece of peppermint-flavored Beech-Nut gum and a Hazel Bishop lipstick in the shade of “Pastel Pink.”

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She had placed a photo of her friend Bonnie inside the purse, and Bonnie had signed the photo with a sweet message on the back.

Rumfola had been a member of the American Junior Red Cross, had a library card that expired in 1960 and a long-forgotten YMCA membership.

A few old and faded pennies were found inside her tattered wallet, which her children now have as a special memory of their mother’s teenage years.

“Each of her five children kept one of the wheat pennies as a token of remembrance of their mom,” a Facebook post from North Canton City Schools read.

“It truly is a snapshot of life of the average socially involved teenager,” one of Rumfola’s daughters told the North Canton City School District.

“My sister and I were looking through everything and we agreed that Mom would have been SO excited if she could see all of this. Would have made her smile so hard to know this had been found and reminisce about a day in the life of her old self.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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