There was a time when everyone’s Aunt had one. My Aunt Audrey did, although hers was a pearl-colored Samsonite one that I was totally in love with. So much in love that my Aunt Eva found me a child’s version and sent it to me at Christmas one year. I still have it. I still love it.
When Aunt Audrey would visit, her Train Case, which, by the way, is what these were officially called, would sit in the bathroom, beckoning me to look inside it, but I didn’t dare.
I don’t know why they’re called a Train Case, but I’m guessing because they were great for use on trains. Back when people actually traveled by train. Back when you couldn’t go by air for the same amount of money and days less time. Back when travel wasn’t miserable. I remember hearing people talk about that time. I just didn’t get to experience it. The TV show, “Pan Am,” makes it look so pleasant. They apparently haven’t been on a nine hour flight to Paris with their knees digging into the metal of the seat in front of them and their own seat being hammered by a restless five-year-old behind them. Of course, maybe people were just always drunk when you didn’t have to buy drinks and people remember travel through the haze of a good buzz. Maybe it was always awful but we just don’t have our senses dulled sufficiently now. I think I’ve hit on a genius idea for the airlines. But, I digress.
Back to train cases… Just the mere phrase conjures pleasant images…
Aunties carried their toiletries in them – even if they were going by car, not train. Maybe by plane, as well. Train cases had a lift-out tray for cosmetics and plenty of space underneath for lotions, potions, hair curlers, and what not. I have to say “what not” because I don’t use very many of the things the ladies of that generation did for their daily preparations to meet the world. (Anyone have a hair receiver lying about? On their dressing table? Exactly.)
Well, at one of my favorite thrift stores recently I spotted this gem. It still had the tray inside in pristine condition and the little brown envelope with “key” written on it taped inside one of the tray compartments. I’ll let you do the mental math on that one.
I snapped it up for a mere $2.
My initial thought was to put my own makeup in it. But, I quickly determined that wasn’t workable for me. Besides, if I gathered up every bit of makeup I’ve owned in my entire life, this case still wouldn’t be full. But, I knew I would find other uses for it and its first foray into the world with me was a few days ago for our trip to see the Johnny Mathis Christmas show.
Are you wondering what I put in it?
Hair spray? No – don’t own any.
Shampoo? No – it might leak on this beauty that still has the faint scent of dusting powder in it. I love that smell. Takes me right back to 1953 – even though I wasn’t alive them. But, you know what I mean. Do they even make anything called, “dusting powder” anymore. It came in wonderful scents with big, soft, poofy bits you dusted the powder with. (Hence, the name, obviously.)
Delicates? No – I’m not sure what all that encompasses, but suffice it to say there aren’t a lot of clothes in my world that are not “wash and wear” and pret a porter. (That’s French for ready to wear – and it doesn’t really fit here – but I just wanted to demonstrate that I remembered at least one phrase from the multiple semesters of French I took. Maybe I don’t remember it from that but from the movies. But lets just say it’s from class, shall we?)
Anyway… My train case has…
Computer and electronic widgets and gadgets. It will hold an external hard drive, my digital recorder and microphone, a pair of headphones with a mic for skyping, chargers, cables, pens, notebook, model releases, extra batteries, a tiny tripod, jump drives, and even the camera if I don’t want to carry it. I have used one of those organizers for a purse to containerize some of the items, and small bags for others. Although I haven’t yet tested this theory, I think it could also hold a tablet, mp3 player, and other similar goodies.
It worked great for this trip, but I haven’t tested it on a longer one yet. Obviously, it’s something you want to keep up with since it has all those sorts of goodies in it. But, it does offer some protection to them instead of them just bumping around in other bags. And it has the ease of everything being in one place instead of having to hunt for one thing or another.
I’m continually looking for the convenient way to store and access my computer/electronic things. This is the latest permutation. We’ll see how it goes long-term.
Regardless, I now own this ultra cool, vintage train case. It’s not as cool as Aunt Audrey’s was – gosh, I loved that thing – but Aunt Audrey would be proud.
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