The bag she is carrying is also steeped in memory - for all of us it is the memory of another similar bag she had, had which we all loved. It was so loved I think it fell apart over the years but was missed by us all (I have 3 sisters). Mum found this replacement recently in a vintage shop and I have to say I am envious. I want one. It reminds me of a poem I read once by Ruth Fainlight called Handbag - or the other way round actually the poem reminded me of the bag when I first read it on the London underground. Here it for you all to enjoy too -
"My mother's old leather handbag,
crowded with letters she carried
all through the war. The smell
of my mother's handbag: mints
and liptsick and Coty powder.
The look of those letters, softened
and worn at the edges, opened,
read, and refolded so often.
Letters from my father. Odour
of leather and powder, which ever
since then has meant womanliness,
and love, and anguish, and war."
Happy Birthday Mum. Love you xxxx