The purse belonged to Patti Rumfola, who was 15 when she lost it

By Rachel DeSantis
February 18, 2020 10:48 AM
North Canton City Schools

Patti Rumfola was just a teenager when she lost her red purse at Hoover High School in Ohio in 1957.

The accessory contained many things typical of a teen at the time — makeup, school supplies, calendars and even a select few family photos.

Now, more than 60 years later, the purse and its sentimental contents have been reunited with Rumfola’s family after the bag was discovered hidden between a locker and a wall last spring.

North Canton City Schools in Ohio wrote on Facebook that thanks “to the investigative work of many of you on Facebook,” they’d been able to track down the family of Rumfola, who graduated from Hoover in 1960.

Though Rumfola died in 2013 at age 71, her five children were more than happy to take ownership of the purse, and last fall, gathered together to explore its contents, which offered them a peek at their mom’s life as a 15-year-old student.

“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,” the post read. “Each of her five children kept one of the wheat pennies as a token of remembrance of their mom.”

With the children’s permission, North Canton City Schools shared photos of what was still inside the purse all these years later, including a portrait of Rumfola, her library, YMCA and American Junior Red Cross cards, a stick of Beech-Nut gum, pink powder and lipstick and a high school football schedule for the North Canton Vikings, with several of the games crossed off in pencil.

North Canton City Schools

The purse also contained black-and-white photos of what appear to be family members, and a sweet note written by a friend named Bonnie.

North Canton City Schools

The school previously announced back in May that the purse had been found by custodian Chas Pyle, who was removing a piece of trim covering an open spot between a locker and a wall.

“The trim had become loose yesterday, and Chas was going to reattach the trim when he spotted the purse at the bottom of the opening,” the post read. “He pulled the purse out and took it to the office where they went through the contents to find the owner.”

Though the school was Hoover High when Rumfola attended, it is now North Canton Middle School.

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According to her obituary, Rumfola was a longtime teacher who married John Michele in 1980.

She retired as a teacher in Annapolis, Maryland, and was a founding member of the Theatre Arts Guild and the Young Women’s Club in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.

Her obituary said she “especially enjoyed spending time with her children and grandchildren.”