Hen purse a conversation starter

Susan Manzke

I meet with friends for coffee once a week at Sissy’s in Seymour. It’s a time to laugh, enjoy a treat, and talk about everything under the sun.

This whimsical hen purse is among columnist Susan Manzke's purse collection.

Often someone is wearing a cute outfit—I’m usually in jeans and in the winter layers that are not fashionable, only comfortably warm. Many times someone has on cute new shoes. These are usually noticed. No one ever comments on my shoes because mine are unremarkable—I have a hard time finding shoes to fit my wide, un-cute feet. I’m just happy if my shoes aren’t pinching my toes.

I do not have a cute shoe collection. One friend once commented about the number of purses I have. I never thought of my purses as a collection. I really don’t have that many, but I do have a couple that are unique—I seem to compensate for not being able to buy and wear fashionable shoes by getting interesting purses.

In the back of my closet are purses that I believe I will use again. They have all kinds of pockets and zippers where I can put things I need. These are brought out when most useful, but not too often—I never try to match a purse to my outfits. That just takes too much thought and preparation. Not for me.

A friend of mine sews one-of-a-kind purses. No one else has the exact purse anywhere in the world except the person who holds it. Some of her purses have called to me and joined my collection. My current favorite is one made of old neckties. When I use it women comment on how nifty it is—they often think I made it myself. No, I’m not the purse artist.

My current purse attracts even more attention than my necktie purse. In fact, it gets laughed and pointed at. My purse is a chicken purse. It looks like a setting hen, a big plump one, made out of molded, soft rubber with plenty of room for too much stuff—I’m able to put my camera and cell phone inside and still have room for more. The only problem is the zipper opening could be larger. If it was longer I wouldn’t lose things in the bottom of my chicken purse like I do.

Susan leaving to meet with friends at Sissy’s for coffee.

I get a lot of attention when I’m out shopping with my chicken purse. Young adults (male and female) have said, “My mom would love that purse.” Many ask where I bought it.

I can’t exactly remember how I came across this purse. Researching something about chickens on the internet brought me to a site that offered a wide variety of chicks for sale and somewhere in that web site I found my special chicken purse.

At first the hen stayed at home, more a decoration. One of my children asked if I was really going to use it, insinuating that I might be embarrassed to be seen with it. That made me rethink using my purse in public. Finally, I got up the courage to use it and I’ve been having so much fun that I can’t imagine why it took me so long to take it out for a walk.

I take my chicken purse almost everywhere now. I say almost because I haven’t brought her into church. I’m afraid young children might make a fuss over it when they should be paying attention to the service.

For those crazy enough to want to have a chicken purse, I advise to google chicken purse handbag on the internet. I’ve seen it priced for around $26 to $80, so check around before purchasing your handy hen. And if you do happen to get one, please sentdme a note. I’d love to connect with anyone else who is crazy enough to buy and use a chicken purse in public. 

Susan and Bob Manzke, Sunnybook Farm, N8646 Miller Rd, Seymour, WI 54165,