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Tribute to my Brooklyn bag

I am sitting at Lisbon airport waiting to board my evening flight to Barcelona for a family visit – my nephew is celebrating his fifth birthday this weekend. As I was having a green tea at the cafeteria, I noticed that my handbag has a pretty serious fresh rip in it. That simple rip caused a whole slew of thoughts regarding the good old bag that has been with me for the last eight years.

I got it soon after I moved to Brooklyn, at the turn of the millennium, in a little shop in Carroll Gardens, Refinery (254 Smith Street), one of the first boutique outposts on the main strip, where a woman makes and sells beautiful, stylish and sturdy bags. The bag has traveled with me since, to all the six continents I’ve been to. I don’t even know how many planes, buses and trains it’s been on… I stopped counting… but in the process, it became a part of me, as if we were tied with an umbilical cord. That’s not to say I didn’t try to cut the cord. I kept on buying bags – a super-cool Berlin piece made of recycled material, several handcrafted Buenos Aires bags, and many more. I’d wear them for a while but the enthusiasm would wear out and I kept on returning to my Brooklyn bag. It was my only true love, unconditional in a literal sense. However many holes it had, however flimsy it was getting, I kept on lugging it around the world as if it’s the last bag left on the planet.

Then after all these years, I took it back to the woman at Refinery who added a new zipper and fixed the inside lining. I was so happy – it felt as if I was reborn together with my revamped bag. That was about six months ago and after a lot more traveling, the bag is finally giving in again. I won’t give up on it though. As soon as I’m back in Lisbon, I’ll hand it over to my friend and neighbor to fix with his sewing machine. We’ll see if that makes it live a little longer. Strange how we get so attached to things we travel with. This bag has been the only companion on all my journeys. My little fellow gypsy… I’ll miss it when it falls apart.

Blog Comments

It’s beautiful! I love it.

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Bill Beck
Project Mgr.

I’m exactly the same with these black leather boots I bought in Cortina, Italy, about 10 years ago. At the time they seemed expensive, but of course they aren’t compared to today, but it didn’t matter as I could tell they’d last forever. The quality was so fine but they’re solid all the same and the style is classic, so they are never in or out of fashion.

Like your bag, they are my travelling boots – because I’m permanently on the road, and only have enough room for 3 pairs of footwear, sometimes I wear them for 4-5 months at a stretch, all through the cold months – I tramp about in them during the day, in snow, on walks, around cities, in the country, you name it. Then I polish them up and wear them with a black dress out at night to fine dining restaurants, bars and clubs and nobody knows what they’re been up to during the day! They are just so versatile.

For the first time I had their zips fixed in Buenos Aires a year ago… now they’re not looking so healthy anymore… no amount of shoe polish will fix them. My husband is encouraging me to throw them out. But like you and your bag, I’m having trouble parting with them. They’ve been everywhere with me – they’re a part of me… strange that we can become fixated with a piece of clothing, hey? I’m going to have to ponder this some more on my own blog.

I’d love to see a picture of your bag! 🙂

Lara, yes, strange how we get attached to items of clothing and accessories that travel with us! I look forward to reading your views on this topic on your blog. And here’s a picture of my bag, per your request. 🙂 By the way, it has been saved with a few strong stitches!

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