Elderly Woman Reunited with Purse She Lost While in High School in 1954

Combined Shape

Thanks to a thoughtful work crew and the power of social media, an 82-year-old woman was reunited with a purse she had not seen since high school.

Martha Ina Ingham, who goes by Marty, hadn’t laid eyes on her old purse in 65 years.

In 1954, the purse had been lost somewhere in the depths of Jeffersonville High School in Indiana, hiding treasures inside that would whisk Ingham back to her teenage years.

Work crews found the purse as they began demolition on Ingham’s old high school in January.

Rather than throw the purse away, someone decided it might be possible — and fun — to try and find the person it belonged to.

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Greater Clark County Schools posted a photo of the purse on Facebook, seeking to reunite the purse with its rightful owner.

“Lost and Found Alert: Martha Ina Ingham’s handbag from 1954 has been found in the demolition,” the post read. “We would love to return it to her or her family!”

The post reached one of Ingham’s relatives, who had a hunch that it once belonged to a glasses-wearing, sweet smiling girl named Marty.

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Ingham, who now lives in Florida, had the thrill of unzipping the purse she had not seen in 65 years.

Inside, Ingham found lipstick, an old Juicy Fruit gum wrapper and a track meet ribbon.

She also found a love note, written in cursive, from a teenage boy who wanted to take her to the junior prom.

“Dear Marty, I’ve heard that Paul has asked you to go to prom with him,” the letter read. “If he hasn’t, I would like very much to take you.”

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Ingham did not accept the young man’s offer but remembered going to the prom with someone else.

“It brings back a lot of memories and a lot of people I haven’t heard of in a long time,” Marty told Inside Edition. “What a good time we had in high school.”

Ingham has enjoyed the opportunity to revisit her younger years through this unexpected time capsule.

“Really interesting to me,” Ingham said. “Things about my life that I’d forgotten about.”

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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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