A student’s purse that went missing 63 years ago in 1957 has been discovered between a set of lockers and wall during repairs and has turned into a long-lost time capsule from the 1950s.
Patti Rumfola, a former student at Hoover High School in Ohio – which is now North Canton Middle School -- lost her purse at school in 1957 when she was a teenager.
The purse contained several black and white photos of her friends and family – and even a dog – along with makeup items, a comb, pencils, a ruler, 26 cents and even a high school football schedule for the North Canton Vikings.
The purse was actually found in 2019 by a custodian making repairs at the school covered in dust behind some lockers causing the school to take to social media in an effort to track down the rightful owner.
“Some of you may remember the purse that was discovered at North Canton Middle School last spring,” North Canton City Schools wrote in a statement on social media. “The purse belonged to Patti Rumfola, a 1960 Hoover graduate. 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.”
Though Patti died in 2013 at 72-years-old, the purse was returned to her five children which became a special keepsake to them and, according to the school, each of her kids kept a penny from the lost purse as a special reminder of their mother.
According to Patti’s obituary she was an active costume designer and seamstress, belonged to a book club and a quilting club, and had “retired as a school teacher in Annapolis, Maryland, after many years of service.”
“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,” said North Canton City Schools. “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 purse went missing the same year that Russia started the space race by launching Sputnik 1, the first Frisbee was sold, the final episode of “I Love Lucy” aired, and Humphrey Bogart, who was born in 1899, died at the age of 57.