When 81-year-old Marty Ingham Everett was 16 years old, her little black purse decided to play a number on her. It fell out of her handbag and landed behind the cabinet in the science room at Jeffersonville High in Indiana. This happened in 1954 and she never saw it again, until now.
Erin Bojorquez, who works at the Greater Clark County School District in Jeffersonville found a way to get the purse back to its rightful owner. A construction crew renovating Jefferson High found it sitting comfortably behind the cabinet, and it was sent to Greater Clark. Erin set up a ‘lost-and-found’ alert on the school’s Facebook page .
Marty’s son, John Folea stumbled across the post and connected Erin to his mother. Finally, the women spoke over the phone and the purse was sent by mail to Southwestern Florida, where Marty now lives.
A trip down memory lane
Marty, who is now a widow, was nostalgic when she opened her cute little black purse on February 15. Pulling out school dance photos, her lip gloss, her checkbook, and three letters from her admirers back then, she said it was like “opening a time capsule.” And indeed it was. The contents looked quite ancient and as if they came from a lifetime ago. Well, you can argue that they did. In a time when there were no such things as smartphones to take selfies or messenger apps, black and white paper photos and letter writing thrived.
Comments online lit up when the contents of the three letters went viral. They were from Paul, Carter and Clyde Morris, who referred to himself as ‘Torchy.’ Paul was a star athlete, Carter was a kid who lived in her neighborhood and swam with her every summer, while Torchy was a big guy with a charming smile.
People were asking to know who she later went to the prom with, and Carter was the lucky chap who got to take her.
Torchy’s letter read:
“Dear Marty, I’ve heard that Paul has asked you to go the prom with him. If he hasn’t, I would like very much to take you. Love, Torchy.
P.S. If you have already consented to go with Paul please forget that I have asked. If he has asked yet you haven’t consented yet please consider my invitation.”
This melted my heart. Torchy was such a sweet gentleman. Too bad, Marty went with the seemingly arrogant Carter. Written in pencil with a questionable hand-writing, his letter read:
Bobbie and I aren’t going back together. I’m just continuing to walk her to classes. She asked me if I would and I said I would.
But I am just trying to be friends with everybody and I decide to start on the girls that I have done wrong. Is there anything wrong with that? I’m going to date everybody and be friends with everybody. I figure that’s the least I can do.
I think Paul is an alright guy, but you’ll never catch him, he runs too fast.”
Seriously? “He runs too fast?” That was the best Carter could come up with? He was lucky Marty liked him, and she went with him to the prom. She even described his letter as ‘special.’
Marty got in touch with Carter Williams, who’s also 81, and lives in Phoenix. He’s the father-in-charge of a large family of five children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Still happily married to his wife Suzie, he recounts the good old days when things were done much differently than now.
“It was amazing to reconnect and reminisce about a time that is so different from today,” he said. “We respected our teachers, we respected the law, and we respected our parents. We had more time to sit around a table and just talk or listen. I feel very lucky to have grown up when I did. Marty was my first love, a real sweetheart and a great gal. What a treat it was to talk to her again for the first time in 65 years. I’ll never forget dressing up to take her to the junior prom.”
A blessing in disguise
Marty spoke happily about the first phase of her love life. “He was my first boyfriend,” she said. “I had an awful lot of things in my purse, but I know that the letter from Carter was special. That’s why I kept it. The letters from the other two boys meant something to me, too. Why else would I have carried them with me everywhere? So many years have passed that I don’t remember a lot about that time, but I do know that I enjoyed high school life. And I do remember some of my dates.”
The letter had been one of the things in Marty’s handbag, along with a compact, a comb, five tickets for an Italian spaghetti dinner at Everett’s Episcopal Church, several bobby pins, her old Social Security card, and driver’s license.
Losing her purse back then was certainly a nuisance, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. She ended up having something stunning to look back on six and a half decades later with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face .
“I was floored when I sat at my dining room table and took everything out of the purse,” she said. “How incredible that everything was still there and ended up back in my hands.”
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