Workers Find a Purse With a Heartwarming 60-Year-Old Surprise Inside
It was 2021, and Armando Rodriguez was just doing his job, renovating a school’s old recreation center. But, as he dismantled the stage, he saw something intriguing inside.
It was a purse that looked like it came from the 60s. When he opened it, he knew that it was critical that the owner be found. But how could that be done?
A Mystery Discovered
The new recreation center was being built at League City School in League City, Texas. It was supposed to be a straightforward job, one that Armando had done so many times before.
But now that he had discovered this purse, it seemed like the job just got harder. How do you track down the owner of a purse from 60 years ago? It seemed too much for a single man, but he wasn’t expecting that the search was going to intrigue a lot of other people.
A Purse Filled With Pictures
When Armando was interviewed by the YouTube channel CityofLeagueCityTX in 2022, he admitted that he wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen that day. But he knew he just had to look for the owner.
He saw that the old purse had a lot of pictures in it when he opened it to check for any kind of identification. At first, he wasn’t really sure how to feel about what he found, seeing that it was really old.
A Collection of Somebody’s Memories
At first, Armando had no idea what to do with the purse. But when he saw that there were a bunch of pictures inside, he immediately saw this as someone’s collection of memories.
Armando just knew that the owner needed to have it back. He was just so scared to browse through everything, as he might ruin something considering the age of the purse and its contents. That’s when he decided that he should turn it over to the authorities.
Preserved Through Time
Sure enough, Armando surrendered the purse to the authorities first thing in the morning. He was so careful with it–making sure that he turned it over in the exact same condition that he found it.
Sarah Osborne, a representative for League City, clearly remembered the day Armando surrendered the purse to their office. In an interview, she told The Washington Post that it was evident the purse was old, considering the chew marks from rodents over the years. Inside the purse, however, everything was perfectly preserved.
Other Intriguing Surprises
As expected, there were indeed a number of photos inside the purse. But upon closer inspection, it appeared that there were more surprises within that small bag. These surprises make this mystery even more intriguing than it was before.
There were a couple of old floral handkerchiefs, plus a few pencils and a nail file. There was also a small pocket calendar from the year the owner presumably lost the purse. But aside from these little odds and ends, something else made this mystery more exciting.
A Bright Red Wallet
There was a red wallet inside the purse, which turned out to be where most of the items were initially kept. The wallet was not just eye-catching because of its bright color but also because it bore a design that was really popular back in the 60s.
This wallet was literally packed to the brim, not just with pictures but with small pieces of paper that had messages written on them. With these new items available for inspection, one part of the mystery was immediately solved.
The First Piece of the Puzzle
Although they all estimated that the purse must have been from the 60s, a journal of sorts showed the precise era when the owner must have lost the purse. It showed that the entries stopped in April 1959. That’s one piece of the mystery solved!
Even the notes on the small pieces of paper showed that they were given at around the same month and year. So the purse and everything in it was 60 years old! Now with one part of the mystery solved, it was time to find out more.
A New Discovery
When looking at the pictures, there was one face that showed up in all of them. It was evident that this person owned the purse and had kept all of these photos in her red wallet to preserve the memories.
The notes also revealed the name Beverly Williams, who seemed to be 13 years old at the time. This was a great piece of information that everyone could work with during their mission to find the purse’s owner. But was it still possible to trace the person’s whereabouts 60 years later?
A Disappointing Lead
Getting a name to get started with was a real breakthrough. They now had an actual identity that they could track so that they could finally solve the mystery of the 60-year-old purse.
Sarah, now as engrossed in the mystery as Armando, quickly searched local records for any trace of a person named Beverly Williams. Being the League City representative, she was in a perfect position to find useful sources. However, it’s turning out to be a disappointing lead.
Taking a Pause
No matter how many resources Sarah had as a League City representative, she just couldn’t seem to find Beverly Williams. She exhausted every possible channel but ended up disappointed at each turn.
Considering the very little they knew about the woman they were looking for, and the amount of time she had invested in the case, she had no other choice. She had to put the search on hold and attend to more pressing matters. So the purse was placed in storage until things took a turn in September 2022.
The New Recreation Center
By September 2022, the new recreation center that Armando helped renovate was now ready to be opened. They were expecting huge crowds for the unveiling and knew that this was going to be an important milestone within the League City community.
Sarah remembered the purse and realized that this was part of the new rec center’s history. So she took it out of storage and decided to place it in a display case during the opening. She made sure all the pictures and other mementos in it were showcased.
A Brilliant Plan
It was truly aligned with the new rec center’s launch to showcase anything related to its history. But more than that, Sarah actually had another reason why she wanted to put the purse on display.
Sarah knew that the entire town would probably show up at the event. This made it the perfect opportunity to get people to look at the photos and see if they recognized anyone in them. It truly was a brilliant plan and could give them the big break that they had been waiting for!
A New Idea
Many people came by at the opening, and the entire town was ecstatic about this new milestone. But it didn’t bring the results Sarah wanted, at least in the case of the mystery purse.
Nobody recognized any of the people in the pictures. But when Sarah thought about how she connected this purse with the rec center’s history, she came up with another great idea. What if they reached out to the Clear Creek Independent School District and the League City Historical Society?
The Secrets of a Time Capsule
As expected, the League City Historical Society was thrilled to jump in on the case. Richard Lewis, the society’s vice president, was in awe of the items laid out before him.
He likened the experience to unlocking a time capsule where the secrets of a past era are unlocked. He examined each item closely. Knowing that a lot of work had already been put in before he was brought into the case, Richard knew he had to explore every possibility.
Documenting the Process
Richard got to work right away. First, he carefully assessed each item in the purse, looking for bits and pieces that could help him trace the person they were looking to find. Then, he carefully documented each step of the process.
Once everything was fully documented, he sent his findings to the Clear Creek Independent School District. They then uploaded a video showing how Richard went through all the pieces. With this video out in public, they were all hoping that someone would finally come forward and shed light on the mystery.
More Puzzle Pieces
It turns out that some of the photos date back to the 1940s. Richard says that a photo marked “1946” shows Beverly when she was just nine and a half years old. This means that she should be around 76 at the time they were doing the investigation.
All these little pieces of the puzzle were starting to come together. Which meant they must be closer to the answers they were seeking. The notes in the purse also gave them a few more pieces of vital information.
An Old School Facebook
A note in the purse showed Beverly’s mom, signed as Mrs. Frank Williams, giving Beverly permission to stay at a friend’s house. Richard also saw a picture of a man who must have been Beverly’s dad, Frank.
There was also a journal in the purse where Beverly’s thoughts and experiences were written. Richard compared the journal to a classic form of Facebook where people could share things that were important to them. It even had notes about Beverly’s love life!
Just Like Any Other Teenager
The journal showed a lot of tidbits about who Beverly dated and who she broke up with. It definitely showed that she had a healthy social life, very much attuned to how teenagers were back in the 50s.
This makes sense, knowing that boys and girls at that time got serious about love at an early age. In fact, History.com says that it was normal for boys and girls to get hitched at 20 to 23–they were all prepared to start families at a young age.
Prepared for Crisis
The ’50s were also shrouded in crisis, with the Cold War still going on at that time. So it wasn’t at all surprising that there was a Civil Defense Preparedness card found among Beverly’s belongings.
Basically, everyone back then was trained to respond to a crisis efficiently. They knew what to do and where to go in case there was an attack. This definitely added some trauma to teens from that era, giving us a little background on Beverly’s circumstances at that time.
Another Call for Beverly
All of these tidbits painted a clearer picture of Beverly and her life back then. It showed that she enjoyed life as a teenager, even if life has its usual share of ups and downs.
With all the information now posted in public, the Clear Creek Independent School District called for anyone who knew Beverly to come forward so that her prized possessions could finally make their way back to her. They all waited in anticipation, hoping this finally paved the way to the mystery being solved.
The Lead They Needed
With more detailed information now available on social media, Richard and the rest of the team finally got the lead they needed. Someone finally reached out to them and said they knew Beverly’s daughter!
Richard was told to reach out to a woman named Deborah Hicks. The caller said that Deborah was Beverly’s daughter! Knowing that their efforts were finally paying off was excellent news indeed. Were they finally going to come face to face with Beverly soon?
Things Falling Into Place
Richard immediately got in touch with Deborah to finally get the answers they hoped to find. This was the first time in the entire journey that they got a lead that was directly related to Beverly, so Richard was excited about what was going to happen next.
The conversation with Deborah revealed even more details about Beverly. It turns out that Beverly had a total of nine kids! It’s also possible that they found very little about Beverly Williams because her real name was actually Andrea Beverly Williams.
Meeting Beverly’s Kids
Deborah was just as excited when she found out about what had been going on. She got her two other sisters–Andrea Sanchez and Rhonda Dohr–to come with her to the League City Recreation Center.
Everyone who took part in the search was thrilled that they were finally closing the case soon. But unfortunately, Beverly’s kids brought with them the sad news that Beverly had actually passed away in 2015. She was 69 years old and living in Washington when she passed.
Cherishing Their Mom’s Memory
Although it was sad that Beverly didn’t get to see her purse again, it was still a bittersweet discovery for her kids. They happily went through each of their mom’s prized items.
It was also perfect timing when they found out about the purse. It turns out that it was supposed to be their mom’s 77th birthday two days before, so this was a great way to celebrate her memory. But they weren’t the only ones with memories of Beverly in the rec center that day.
More Stories About Beverly
Aside from Beverly’s kids, a man named Robert Schleyer was also in the rec center at that moment. It turns out that he also saw the video online and realized that he was, in fact, in one of the pictures.
Robert said that a wave of nostalgia hit him when he found out that people were looking for information about Beverly. They lived on the same street. “She saved my life,” Robert said as he remembered what a traumatic childhood he had.
Beverly was someone Robert could talk to about his woes when they were young. They would take long walks by the beach and hang out at the pier, with Beverly giving Robert the friend he needed during the toughest of times.
But Robert joined the marines, so they were separated for some time. When he finally got back, he tried to reconnect with Beverly, who lived with her grandmother at the time. Unfortunately, Beverly’s grandma kept sending him away, so they never saw each other again.
A Baffling Discovery
Robert enjoyed reminiscing with Beverly’s daughters. They found it nice that they found other people who knew a woman they all loved and cared for. But there was one question that baffled all of them.
It turns out that Beverly didn’t even go to League City High School, the place where the purse was found! This must be why they found it impossible to look for clues. But how did the purse get there, and what connection did they miss?
A Practical Joke
They tried to figure out how Beverly’s purse got there, knowing she didn’t even go to that school. Then, Andrea realized that Beverly and her sisters went to different schools. Maybe one of her siblings went to school there!
They recall that Beverly’s sisters were the biggest practical jokers, so this might have been part of a prank. They also realized that they never saw their mom with a purse this small, so she must have started using larger purses when she lost this one!
Preserving a Piece of History
After much reminiscing, Beverly’s daughters decided it was time to go. They didn’t want to take the purse home, though, and said that they valued the memories that they got from it. They realized that their mom was just like them when they were teenagers!
But they also acknowledged that this was part of this place’s history. They believe that this was meant to be put on display here, a part of the story that made this rec center what it is today.