You can take the girl out of the Girl Scouts, but…

It’s basically one of my major goals in life to be more like Mary Poppins. She’s sassy, but also cool and collected, she can fly, she has incredible fashion sense, and her carpet bag is the best accessory ever. Remember Hermione’s beaded handbag from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which was under an Undetectable Extension Charm? Yeah, Mary Poppins did that first. But I’m here to tell you that you don’t need magic to fit everything in your purse. You just need courage and determination. I know this, because my daily purse is small, but it’s got everything I need. Except a lamp. (My booklight died.)
You know how sometimes people pick up a really heavy purse and chortle, “What’ve you got in here? Rocks?” Well, yes, actually, there are rocks in my purse. In fact, here’s a listing of everything currently in my purse:
• Sunglasses
• Keys
• Wallet
• First aid kit
• Camera
• Phone charger
• A brochure for a Folk Art exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum that closed a month ago
• An promotional eyeglass cleaning kit from a Louisville hotel
• My current purse book, Run by Ann Patchett
• Small spiral notebook
• Answer sheets from the last time I played trivia with the Wesley Crushers
• A copy of the Constitution given to me in 2006 by my AP Government teacher…If I see her in the wild and I have it with me, I get bonus points.
• Paper High Fives and Pep Talks
• Post-Its
• A pack of Peanuts tissues, half-used
• A map from the Milwaukee Public Museum
• A pad of hall passes from my high school
• A bottle of hand lotion
• Dental floss
• Roll of quarters—Laundry time!
• A change purse with some pennies I want to save
• Another change purse with my spare keys
• A tea bag
• A pack of gum
• A lipstick I forgot I had
• A lip balm I refuse to be without
• Two squirrel paper clips
• Five pens and a pencil
• A rock from who knows what beach
• The Indy 500 Apples to Apples card

Everything I could possibly ever need...

Everything I could possibly ever need…

And then everything magically fit neatly back in!

And then everything magically fit neatly back in!

Okay, so this particular purse only has one rock in it. But all of my purses have rocks in them—gives them character, and helps me remember where I’ve been. And I know what you’re thinking—“Hannah, do you really need ALL that stuff?” And the answer is—probably not. But I do need my purse book. Purse books are essential. What if I’m caught somewhere with nothing to read? THE HORROR. So I always have a book that just stays in my purse that I don’t mind taking a long time to read, or that I’ve read before. Emma was a purse book for a while, which is why I finally had to take it out of my purse because it had been in there between pages 94 and 106 for three years. Sarah Vowell writes excellent purse books—I highly recommend the first fifty pages of The Wordy Shipmates and all of Assassination Vacation. And I have to keep the Constitution in my purse—it made me seem knowledgeable during jury duty. The rock is really pretty, and the hand lotion smells good. You can never have too many pens or post-its for leaving notes hanging around, and if anyone needs to leave class to go to the office, I can absolutely write them a pass. I’ll admit the dental floss and the eyeglass kit are kind of wild cards, but you never know when stuff like that will come in handy.
I guess what I’m saying is, I totally get why Mary Poppins has such an awesome bag. You never know when something will need a touch here and there. Or when you’ll need a cup of tea and a rock.

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