Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

The Purse That Disappears

by Vanjie Bratt, Becketwood Member

 A mystery. Can you help me solve it? Look for any possible clues, no matter how absurd.

It’s Tuesday, October 10th. I rise early, make my bed, slip into white jeans, select a white cotton top, eat an egg with avocado and toasted gluten free bread, do a few Tai Chi Chih warm-up movements, collect the CD player and tiny bell, open the door, lock it and I’m off to the Windsor room to lead the Continuing Tai Chi Chih practice.

Keeping the atmosphere of the Windsor room meditative, we lower the lights. With the room quite dark, the class requests that I wear light clothing. Soft music and the slow flowing movements of TCC create a feeling of total relaxation.

I return to my apartment, change into my everyday clothing. I glance at my calendar. In just three days I will be joining two other Tai Chi Chih teachers, driving to Rochester for a three day Seijaku workshop at Assisi Heights, a spirituality center.

I need more practice before I leave on Friday. Inserting my Seijaku video for TV viewing, I follow Justin Stone, the originator of Tai Chi Chih, teaching the Seijaku. It’s a great way to get the Chi flowing, the energy circulating in the body.

And now it is almost noon, time for a bowl of chicken vegetable soup. Then unto the Marketing Committee meeting from 12:30 to 2:00. Four more units will be open for sale soon.

I come back to my apartment where Carol Mockovak and I make final plans for our beginning TCC classes tomorrow. With 20 sign-ups for the beginning class last week, we need to split the class in two.

The phone rings. It’s Security. My friend Becky Anderson is here to deliver five of my Chinese paintings that she has recently beautifully matted. Wrapped in lots and lots of brown paper, we eagerly open and place them on the floor along the wall of bookcases. Each painting becomes a topic for conversation. We chat, we laugh.

I forget to offer Becky tea. She usually breezes in and out. I give her three more, this time smaller, paintings to frame, asking, “How much do I owe you?” Very little so far. I do not see my purse. Becky’s about to leave so there is no time to look. I find some cash, thanking her, grateful to have an amazing friend.

It is almost 4:00 o’clock, time to go to the writing class in the conference room. Without thinking, I grab what I might need, including a few crispy walnuts to eat on the way. It’s been a hectic day. I look forward to relaxing in the comfortable chairs, while listening to others share their writings. I wonder how many more sessions I will be allowed to attend ‘writer-less.’ I know, it is not a word.

I think about how I was going to write something two weeks ago but decided I needed a snack, poured myself a cup of tea, and settled into the book, The Nordic Theory of Everything by Anu Partanen. I’ll try next week. Elene and I are going to the opera tonight so we leave the writing group early.

It’s already 5:15. Elene, Judy, and I are meeting in the east elevator basement at 6:00. I find something to eat and dress up in one of my navy long-sleeved shirts. It’s chilly outdoors. I put on my little white down jacket. Oh yes, my purse. Where is my purse? I’m sure I saw it today, at least I think I did! I have my car keys and my cell phone. They are usually in my purse! I rush into the bedroom, the study, the bathroom and back to the living room, looking for my purse. No purse! It’s almost 6 o’clock. I need to leave now!

Stepping out of the east elevator, I hop into Elene’s car with Judy, letting go of the mystery of the missing purse. Downtown St. Paul is amazing at night, the interesting architecture, glowing lights, people dressed in their best attire, walking to and fro. Parking a few blocks from the Ordway, there’s nothing like a brisk walk in the cool fresh air. We enjoy the Don Pasquale opera, light and humorous.

Returning home quite late from the opera, I am too tired to look for my purse. I’ll do a thorough search tomorrow. It’s close to midnight. Sleep does not come easily. When did I actually remember holding my purse? Do I just operate on autopilot? I think back to Sunday afternoon, just two days ago, attending the Wise Women book group, eating at Vina, a Vietnamese Restaurant, paying my bill with a credit card, receiving a call on my cell phone, and driving my car back to Becketwood. I remember holding my purse. It has to be at Becketwood!

I can’t sleep. Let’s see. What happened on Monday? Visitors from Washington state, where we lived 45 years ago. They were leaving when a client came for a massage, and then I tutored two TCC participants. I did not leave my apartment except to fetch the mail. I usually lock the door even when I go somewhere in the building. I need to get some sleep. It is way, way past Tuesday night’s midnight!

I wake up groggy Wednesday morning. I am positive that my purse is in the building. I look in every possible place in my apartment, including the dishwasher, oven, and laundry. I go to the Windsor room where I taught Tai Chi Chih yesterday morning, then to the West Dining Room where the marketing committee meets and, finally, more than once to my car parked in the garage.

I check online and there is nothing suspicious on my checking and credit card accounts, although I do have them blocked. Priscilla takes me to Roseville where I apply for a new drivers license while she gets license plate tabs. Now I can let it go! It’s just a purse!

Thursday, I attend my Chinese painting class and pack for my trip to Rochester.

I leave Friday at noon, have a wonderful three days practicing Seijaku and return Sunday afternoon. As we approach Minneapolis, my cell phone rings. The message: “You can pick up your purse at Security!”

Thank you, dear Becketwood community, whoever returned it.

Ok. Help me. Where was my purse?

And yes, I was told where it was found.  It was at one of the places I had been on Tuesday but I forgot to go back to look there on Wednesday morning.  Once you've figured it out, click which place you think it was:

  1. Windsor Room -TCC
  2. West Dining room - Marketing meeting
  3. Conference room - Writing group
  4. I have no clue.



Leave a Reply

  • Ruth November 9, 2017, 3:13 pm

    Maybe you fit too much into each day!! possibility?? You not forgetful, its just difficult to be aware of everything. I know!

  • Judy solmonson November 9, 2017, 3:21 pm

    What fun! I am breathless trying to keep up with you in the story. Couldn’t you fit a few more events into a day? And thank you for the mystery question. Judy S

  • Rosemary Rawson November 9, 2017, 3:21 pm

    Oh so familiar! I’m always afraid I’ll find ( ) in the freezer. We all know what that means. good job, Vanje.

  • Dorothy Johnson November 10, 2017, 3:58 am

    Oh how well I know the feeling. Now you can return to the writing group – no longer “writerless.”

  • Elaine Churchill November 12, 2017, 8:43 pm

    I have no clue. Vanji, So Happy it was found and so pleased to know that you’re keeping yourself so busy. You never know when you will have to slow down—whether you want to or not.

  • Barbara White November 18, 2017, 6:13 pm

    Your writing is so clever that you clearly have not lost your mind. Most people would agree it is easier to “replace” a purse than a mind.
    Barbara White

  • SONJA WALKER November 23, 2017, 8:07 pm

    Aah Vanji. I loved your real story. I am part of the same club. Let’s enjoy it. (my keys were hanging under a hose!)