Woman’s missing purse found after 63 years, filled with photos and a diary

A missing purse was discovered in a Texas high school after 63 years. Inside the clutch were several items, including a diary, numerous photos, a nail file and a calendar filled with messages up to April 1959. Facebook / Clear Creek ISD

They say you can learn a lot about a person by the contents of their handbag.

This proved true when a decades-old missing purse was discovered under the floorboards of a Texas school.

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In a video posted to Facebook, the Clear Creek Independent School District said a woman’s purse was discovered during renovations to a former school-turned-community centre in League City, Texas.

The purse — a visibly worn and yellowed studded clutch bag — contained several items, including a diary, numerous photos, a nail file and a calendar filled with messages up to April 1959.

The League City Historical Society (LCHS) said the purse had been missing for 63 years.

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The owner of the purse was believed to be a woman named Beverly Williams.

Among the several photos was one of Williams herself as a baby. Written on the photo was Williams’ age, 9.5 months, and the year 1946.

“That approximates her age at 76 years old,” said LCHS vice-president Richard Lewis.

There were also various other photos in the purse, including one of Williams’ father, her three sisters and several other people, presumed to be classmates.

Lewis, who was given the purse by a member of the renovation crew, said what he originally thought to be a wallet turned out to be a diary filled with handwritten notes.

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“Picture it as today’s Facebook: you’re putting everything down,” he said. “She wrote about her love life, who she broke up with.”

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Still, even with Williams’ name, LCHS did not know how to reach her or her family.

Finally, on Oct. 4, Williams’ daughter and family were located. Unfortunately, Williams (whose full name was Andrea Beverly Williams) died in 2016.

In another video posted to Facebook by the Clear Creek Independent School District, Williams’ daughter, Rhonda Dohr, came to retrieve her late mother’s purse and belongings.

Dohr is one of Williams’ nine children.

“I really wish she were here to see this,” said Dohr. “She would really crack up at this.”

Dohr also joked that her mother’s miniature clutch was “absolutely by far the smallest purse she’s ever carried.”

A former classmate of Williams’, whose photo was in the purse, was also interviewed. Robert Schleyer said he and Williams were friends. He said she supported him through challenging family issues.

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“She was a lifesaver,” Schleyer said. “The love, the warmth, the kindness just exuded from her.”

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Dohr said the found purse is “kind of like a smile from heaven.”

“It’s her sense of humour to be like, ‘You thought it was over and done, and here’s a surprise for you.’ She’d be laughing at this,” Dohr said.

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