"I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
-- Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Would everyone who lives within a mile or so of Macey's grocery store on 36th Street in Ogden do me a favor and go check your garbage can?
You are looking for a purse. If it isn't in your can, maybe it's in that dumpster down the street. Or under the bushes in that vacant lot.
It's a brown shoulder-bag type. There are probably ID cards in it under the name Georgia Turner.
Please call me if you find it. I'll come get it. We know the money is gone, but the ID cards would be a huge relief. If it will help, I'll even chip in $20 for a reward. Cash money, no questions asked.
Georgia just turned 90, but she's very independent. Tuesday she went grocery shopping at Macey's, bought her stuff, put her purse in her shopping cart to put the groceries in her car and turned her back for a second. You can guess the rest.
Steal a purse from a 90-year-old woman? That takes guts.
We don't normally cover purse snatchings, but Georgia's granddaughter, Cerie Steward, was pretty upset when she called.
I don't blame her.
Cerie said her grandmother raised her. Cerie worries about, and cares for, her grandmother. She sees her grandmother getting older and, just like Blanche DuBois, depends on the kindness of strangers to watch out for her.
Sadly, many strangers are jerks. They see a little old lady's purse in a cart as an opportunity.
Mostly I'm sorry for how this must have made Georgia feel. There's nothing quite like that moment when you realize that you have been invaded, violated, robbed and generally abused.
I sure know. It wasn't that my binoculars were gone, it was finding my car door open, my tool box missing and my stuff scattered.
Consider my younger son, whose freezer, located in his garage, has a dent on the top which -- sorry Ben -- Ben put there.
Hurt his hand, too.
Ben was careless the night before, forgot to shut the garage door. During the night someone passing by said "Wow, free bicycles!"
Also gone were his daughter's bicycle trailer with her helmet and favorite bicycling toy.
A year later, Ben still scans the sidewalks of Salt Lake City. What will he do if he spots his bike? Ben admits his fantasies in that situation are best described as "colorful."
Cerie said she wishes she knew who took her grandmother's purse. "If I did, I wouldn't be talking to you," she said, and I believe her.
As it is, she and Georgia are looking at the usual hassles. The money she had in her purse -- "She'd just gone to the bank, she was going to pay her taxes" -- is certainly gone.
Then there's the problem of contacting banks and other agencies to make sure her personal ID information doesn't get stolen or abused.
Mostly, Cerie thinks this shouldn't have happened.
Georgia has been an active volunteer in this community for decades. She helps out at Union Station. She's been recognized by the mayor.
"Everybody knows Grandma, everybody knows Georgia Turner," she said. "I just know if everybody hears a story, someone's gonna do something.
"And maybe the person who did it will feel guilty."
Don't bet on it, Cerie.
Many strangers have consciences, which is one reason many are kind.
But those who steal purses from 90-year-old women don't feel bad at all.