Elizabeth Kilcoyne

Oct 7, 2021

2 min read

Family China

Family China

Today I bought a new purse, one year after my old one was stolen. My brother Sean was scheduled for surgery in the middle of the pandemic, and I needed to be with him. My husband Denis and I flew to San Francisco. I don’t remember taking one breath while on the plane. We picked Sean up in Berkley. Friends were caring for him there. He was severely depressed about the upcoming surgery.

We parked the car on the street in front of Sean’s apartment building on Nob Hill in San Francisco, and got him settled inside. The apartment was disheveled after months of illness. Denis returned from getting the luggage from the car with the face of someone who had seen a ghost. “What happened?” I asked. “Someone broke the window in the car and stole your purse.” I stared at him. My purse. Okay. Everything in the purse can be replaced: iPhone, pepper spray, passport. The purse itself, purchased from the Marimekko store in downtown Copenhagen, not so simple. My appointment book and writing notebook, impossible. But alas, my wallet was in my back pocket, it’s usual place, and no one was hurt.

“Your carry-on bag is gone as well,” he cringed.

My carry-on bag. “The family china is gone?” I doubled over and tried to scream, but nothing came out. I stepped into another room, trying not to upset my brother. How could this happen? We’re in a good neighborhood, the car was locked, and only out there for an hour. How will I tell my daughter?

After consulting with numerous moving companies, even at $3,000, they would not guarantee the safety of the china from Massachusetts to the west coast. I was taking the china to my daughter one small suitcase at a time. I took a long walk up and down the streets on Nob Hill, imagining how upset my daughter would be, or maybe how distressed I was. Then I started to think how surprised the thief would be when he opened the suitcase. A smile appeared, and I knew it would be okay to return to the apartment.

No one was hurt.