Traincase Story

This traincase is my travel carryon. It’s perfectly sized to slip under an airline seat, and the flip top makes the interior easily accessible. Inside, there is ample room for necessities, including a shawl, book, Peter Paul Mounds bar and my little mini computer. An assortment of elasticized compartments hold my phone, sunglasses and lipgloss. Within the carryon, I am a CEO of organization. It also serves as the best foot rest. 

When I purchased this case, I peeked inside but didn’t examine its nooks carefully. Upon its first usage, I discovered a folded piece of paper tucked into one of the zippered pockets.  It was a letter of confirmation from a hotel in Hawaii. Dated December 21, 1967, the letter assured Mrs. Barbara Lee that a room awaited her at the rate of $10.00 a day for twelve days in January of the new year.

On the backside of the hotel’s stationery, in blue pencil, was written her husband’s name, Company and Platoon information, and the base’s location. Looking back to the date, it occurred to me that Barbara was possibly meeting her husband in Honolulu for a holiday before he left for Vietnam.  

A traincase was the luggage of women, often part of a two-piece set received upon college graduation. Purchasing such luggage secondhand wasn’t so common in the Sixties; Barbara was most likely its original owner. 
The case and I are leaving for a holiday with my prince charming. I so hope it was up for purchase because Barbara received a new set of luggage from her soldier…as a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary gift. 
Tie One On…an apron, of course!


  1. She would have been meeting him for R&R about half-way through his tour of Vietnam.Hawaii was the most popular destination for R&R (Rest and Recuperation) but was generally reserved for married soldiers so that they could meet with their families.
    I moved to Ft. Bragg,NC with my soldier in 1970 and had several friends that did the same thing.

  2. Lesthook, Hey! I thought about the Lee’s meeting up as R&R, but what threw me was the address on the back of the letter listed his unit as in New Jersey. However, I value your experience to the situation and thank you for chiming in. So…did you meet your fella with a traincase in hand?

    And Jennifer – thank you, too, for reading the story of my traincase.


  3. Beautiful Story! Thank you so much for taking time to share it. I know you must be excited to get a little time with your prince. I just returned from a couple of days with mine. Even though it was a working trip for him, I enjoyed it just being the two of us when meetings were over. I am posting a picture of my vintage luggage I just took on MY trip…are you sure we are not long lost twins????

  4. What a find! And the romance behind it has all sort of ‘hints’ to play on one’s imagination. My mother had a red set of those two pieces of luggage. Wow – if only I’d known it was to be such fun in my adult years, I’d have encouraged her to keep it.
    Such is life.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Probably his whole company went . They would have kept their stateside address as duty station. By the time I came along it was winding down. My prince was only an e-4 or so at the time and most of the wives I knew that went were Sgts wives. I remember one had a beautifully carved wood bowl in the middle of her kitchen table that she brought back as a souvener. Now this was a long time ago and I might be foggy on some things,LOL! But I spent 24 years as an army wife.

  6. Nothing like a bit of vintage carry on. Traincase was the star of the overhead bins!

    And y’all are my stars. Thank you for reading my little stories, writing back and in the process, sharing a bit of yourselves.


  7. Hey EllynAnne,
    I luv your cute little train case. I love to decopauge them, but I certainly would not decopauge one as cute as yours. It deserves to be shown off in all it’s vintage splendor!

  8. Love the pink handles! I am always excited to find receipts and stories of previous owners of items I’ve bought. Somehow the items become more precious because we feel like we know the people who used them before us.
    PS: Shawnee sent me.

  9. Shawnee sent me over to visit your blog and boy am I glad I came! I am in my first apron swap and your blog is so full of info.

    I love the story of the train case. Thank you for sharing it.

  10. I have visited your blog before and always enjoy it. I signed up on Shawnee’s apron swap and revisiting your blog for the give away of your new book. I do have the apron one!

    Enjoyed the train case story and remember hiding items in the same spot!

  11. I’m over from Shawnee’s Flirty Apron Swap blog.
    This is a lovely and romantic story. I love when a story lacks the details and I’m able to use my imagination to create an ending. What an awesome treasure to find.
    I really enjoy your blog, I’ll definitely be back to read some more 🙂

  12. I am a new reader and just rec’d your “Apron Book” in the mail yesterday. How wonderful that you’ve helped preserve the history and memories of aprons that have held families together since the earliest immigrants.
    My Nana’s apron was a treasure to me and wearing one has had a special significance for me all my married years.
    I am thrilled to be in my very first swap @ Shawnee’s “Flirty Apron Swap” to help pass on the love.
    ((hugs)) Carolyne

  13. What a great story! I am always digging around the local Thrift and Antique stores for suitcases and such. But what a gem to find the lovely note. Once, my grandma gave me an old coat of hers, from when my grandparents were first married, I found a note stuffed into the pocket. That was my favorite thing I have ever gotten from them.

  14. Hello Ellyn Anne
    You are a great story teller,
    and I love all your aprons and how you are talking about them.
    I came from shawnee’s Flirty Apron Swapand I would love to be drawn and win your wonderfull book

  15. What a wonderful story! I have a couple of my MIL’s train cases that I use for storing beads in for my beading projects, but have been thinking about seeing if there are any at the second hand store. If I find any, I will be sure to peek in all the pockets!
    I picked up your newest book at the store today and I have the other one on loan from the library. They are a lot of fun to read!

  16. Owning something with a history is one of the reasons why I love vintage. To have found that piece of paper inside that sweet Traincase made it even more valuable! Thanks for sharing your story 🙂

    p.s. I just received your Kitchen Linens Book(I was lucky enough to have won it in a Giveaway)I absolutely LOVE it!!

  17. I just have to ask, the fabric under the traincase….where did you get it??? Can you still get it? I am in love with this pattern and colors!!! I see it in the sides of your blog too….my blod is a tribute to my grandparents and there is an apron in my banner, my grandma always wore one and if I close my eyes, I can remember how it felt against my cheek when she hugged me! Great memories….I look forward to you letting me know about the fabric!

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