The 42 Words Waiting in Mom’s Purse

Posted September 24, 2013 by jimhigley


Well played, Mom. Very well played.

There are countless fabulous moms out there. And I was lucky to have one of them.

She didn’t live a long life – it was cut short just a few weeks after this photo was taken – but dang, did she pack a lot into the life she was given. A lot of purpose. A lot of joy. And a lot of lessons for her five sons. Simple lessons. Which make them all the easier to remember.

And leave it to her to step out of this world having the last word. Actually the last 42 words.

I was 14 when she passed away. And a few weeks after she was gone, I was helping my dad begin the process of sorting through her things. And the one particular item that day was her purse.

It was a mom purse. A big bag. Not necessarily pretty. But functional. When she was alive, I’m sure none of us thought twice about it. But now that she was gone, her purse was more like an archeological dig. And the contents suddenly took on a sacred meaning.

Her keys. Her sunglasses. The little packet of chewing gum – she only would chew a half of a stick at a time. The tiny bag of tissue because, well, she was a mom. The hair brush – with strands of her hair still attached. And her wallet.

The wallet with all the compartments. Like a magician’s contraption. It had a place for everything. The coins and the bills. Her driver’s license. The few credit cards she carried. And photos of the boys. Her boys.

I had seen everything in her wallet over the years. Or so I thought. Until we found one hidden compartment. And inside that compartment was a piece of paper with a poem that Mom had most certainly typed. 42 words in total. How long it had been there, neither of us knew.


Yes, well played Mom.

I took that tiny piece of paper – knowing for sure it was a meant-to-be message from her. And I’ve kept it all these 35+ years.

Today, it sits on my desk in a little make-shift, unassuming frame.

And those 42 words are the first 42 words I mentally put on my daily list of things-to-do.


This memory is brought to you through my partnership with Kimberly-Clark during the months of September and October. It’s part of their Pick Up the Values Program– providing tips and ideas for parents to stretch their budgets.

Today’s memory is compliments of Kleenex Facial Tissues. Why Kleenex? Well, what mom or dad doesn’t rely on some soft tissue to wipe noses, clean up tiny messes and, yep, show some love to a few tears.

Stop by the Kleenex Facebook Page to join in more conversations. And be sure to visit the Pick up the Values website for over $40 of money-saving coupons.

And for daily tips and ideas, be sure to “like” the Pick Up the Values Facebook Page!

Rest assured, while I’ve been compensated by Kimberly-Clark for this story, the memory, and belief in their product is as real as it comes.


I shall pass through this world but once.

If, therefore,  there be any kindness I can show,

or any good thing I can do,

Let me do it now.

Let me not defer it for I shall not pass this way again.



  • Joani Rump

    I am running for my Kleenex right now Jim … well played! You gave made your mother proud!