Why My Purse is so Heavy by
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I have tried buying smaller, light weight purses to spare my back. But that will only work if I don’t overload them until they are bursting with essentials that I can’t leave home without. Or so I think. I’m going to inventory the contents of my smallish summer purse. Here are the items that are must-haves for me:

  • Phone (not pictured because it was taking the pictures for my story)
    Anniversary card for my son and daughter-in-law (now I just have to send it on time)
    Pills (just in case)
    Band-Aids (what grandmother wouldn’t have some of those)
    Pen (to write notes or checks — yes, I know I could use my phone for these things)
    Keys (much pared down — only for my and my daughter’s house and one car fob because I retired my work keys and we are seeing if we can get by with one car)
    Lactaid (never know when we will find ice cream)
    Tums (for eating something I shouldn’t)
    Alcohol wipes (again, just in case)
    COVID emergency bag (hand sanitizer, extra masks, rubber gloves — not ready to let that go yet)
    iPad Mini (mostly for reading e-books when I’m waiting for doctors or grandkids)
  • Mints (never know when I may need fresh breath)

Of course, I also stuff a wallet in there. In addition to needing some cash for tips or places that don’t take plastic, it holds a driver’s license, car insurance and AAA card, three medical coverage cards, a few essential credit cards, library card, blank check (you never know), old business cards (could probably toss those after eight years), voter ID card, and prescription savings card. I know. I could put a few of these on my phone along with the picture of my proof of vaccination card. I’m afraid to carry that one with me in the event I am mugged.

The purse itself is amazing. It holds all of this as well as a key chain with pennies representing my grandkids. Their names are on one side and the penny is from their birth year. How could I leave home without this special Mother’s Day gift? But here’s the thing. My light weight purse weighs a ton. And it only has one outside zipper for my phone. I would prefer a second one for my house keys, but still, this bag is a feat of engineering.

I never leave home without all of this unless I am just taking a walk in the neighborhood. Better to be prepared than sorry. I envy my husband who just stuffs his phone in one pocket, his keys in another, and his wallet in his back pocket. I guess he figures if he needs anything else, he knows where to find it.

I invite you to read my book Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real, join my Facebook community, and visit my website.

Profile photo of Laurie Levy Laurie Levy
Boomer. Educator. Advocate. Eclectic topics: grandkids, special needs, values, aging, loss, & whatever. Author: Terribly Strange and Wonderfully Real.

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Characterizations: funny, well written


  1. Betsy Pfau says:

    Laurie, I am just one step removed from you, not being a grandmother yet. I carry so many of the same items. Now I have shoulder and elbow problems. My physical therapist gave me a gentle lecture about this recently.. I bought a smaller wallet and took out some cards that I knew I wouldn’t use, plus old photos. I took out other items too. I am trying. But the purse still seems so heavy. I am just about ready to give up my spray hand sanitizer and just have some in my car. Slowly, slowly we will return to normal. This weekend we are at my nephew’s wedding in Cincinnati, first plane trip in 20 months, but the vaccination rate in Ohio is only about 46%, so that makes us nervous. But so nice to see some of my family.

    Good luck with your back problems. I understand.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Hope you had a great time at the wedding, Betsy! Buying smaller things like light purses and small wallets help. All photos are now on that must-have phone. I still feel like I need a couple of face masks and that small hand saniotizer, buy I guess the rubber gloves can. As you say, slowly, slowly…

  2. Khati Hendry says:

    Love the purse–and it doesn’t look big at all. Couldn’t think of a thing you would want to leave behind, especially the lucky pennies. You can justify it by knowing you are strengthening your bones with “weight-bearing exercise”.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      Ah, Khati, I love that you understand why I need all of this stuff. And if I remember to shift the purse from shoulder to shoulder, I can totally justify it as a form of exercise (LOL). Those pennies make me happy, and that’s worth something.

  3. Marian says:

    I can identify with this, Laurie, because everyone else depends on you to have all this stuff. You are brave to take photos of the purse contents. The pandemic has led me to pare down a lot. I now have a slim wallet with just the essential cards, and my phone fits in it. For safety, though, I have to keep some meds on my person any time I go someplace for more than a few hours, so I need something to hold a pill box.

    • Laurie Levy says:

      You are right, Marian. It’s not just my husband who knows I will have all of this stuff. My grown kids have asked me for kleenex, bandaids, or Tylenol because they know it’s in my magic purse.

  4. Yep Laurie, we gals do carry a lot of stuff in our bags, but as you said, we never know when we’ll need it!

  5. Suzy says:

    Laurie, you wrote the perfect story for this prompt! I love that purse, it doesn’t look so big in the picture, and I marvel at its contents which you have both described and photographed. Fun to see the contents of your wallet too. As you will see when you read my story, I’m like your husband, with just keys and a phone. I guess I should carry my vax card, but now there is an app to put it on your phone. If I had grandkids, and a keychain with pennies like that, which is very cute, I would keep it on my desk at home and not carry it around, because it must be heavy!

    • Laurie Levy says:

      You make several great points, Suzy. Of course, if I worry enough about losing my vax card, I should also take photos of my other essential cards and leave them home. But I’m not logical about this. I guess I should ask my shrink husband why I need to bring so much stuff when I leave home, but I’m not sure I want to know.

  6. John Shutkin says:

    Great story, Laurie. And I begin to understand — though only begin — what it is about women and their voluminous purses. I mean, in one way or another (including emotional), all this stuff seems essential. But dare I ask how much your purse weighs fully loaded and, concomitantly, how your back and shoulders are?

    • Laurie Levy says:

      John, you have hit the key issue. I have never weighed it, but when I had to go out the other day, I left several items behind so my reader would fit. It felt much better and, miraculously, I survived!

  7. Yeah, it may be heavy and full of obsolete junk, Laurie, but it’s quite a handsome bag. And I too am hypocritical to say I travel light when I dump stuff into my partner’s purse more often than is fair!

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