Back in the mid 80's, I was an adjunct professor teaching and supervising art therapy students in their practicum experience at a women's Catholic college in a northern city and was in for the weekend to teach an art therapy seminar. An old college friend lived there and we decided to go out to a rough part of town to a jazz nightclub. I was driving my brand new Wolfsberg silver Scirroco VW with all leather interior and a fancy infinity snake emblem wrapped along the bottom of both of the doors. It had 5 on the floor and cornered like a dream. (I'm still crying over the loss of that car). I was able to find a parking spot a couple of doors down from the club and as we were walking to the door, a carload of men drove by eyeballing us and my car and saying 'hey baby' kinds of things to us.
We found a table with a good view and as we were sitting there, grooving on the jazz, a drunk man with a band aid on his nose, staggered by and then came back, stumbled and fell over top of the table. He grabbed my purse and was started to stroll out the door, when I jumped up screaming at the top of my lungs and over top of the band's music, "He stole my purse!!"
Everything wound down, and he was so startled by my screaming, that he knocked two people out of his way as he barreled through the door. I was right behind him running right out the door after him, screaming and shouting expletives that are better off not written down here.
I had just bought this lovely purse for more money than I had ever spent on a purse before and he had keys to my beautiful silver car in my purse along other life necessities in that purse. He was booking down the street and I, in my sensible shoes, was not too far behind him screeching all the way. We were both pumped on adrenalin and he had longer legs than me and the distance between us was growing.
The thief made a sharp turn into a dark alley. I could hear people running out of the club and someone running behind me. Just as I turned to follow the robber down the alley, the man yelled, "Lady don't go down that alley by yourself". I turned around and recognized him as someone who had also been at the club listening to the jazz so I stopped to wait for him and we walked down the alley looking in the garbage cans to see if he had dumped my expensive new purse in one of them.
No such luck, so we when we walked back to the club, and the waitress handed me my car keys and sunglasses as he had hit that door so hard and fast that they had dropped out of my purse. What luck, if he was after my sweet little car, he wasn't going to get it. But he also had all my money, a credit card and my check book and I needed money for gas to drive the 100+ miles home the next day.
The police were called of course, and he was identified as a black man with a band aid on his nose. A police report was made, etc, and the next morning I cancelled the credit card and banking account. Fortunately I had a second checking account and the checkbook was in my car and I wrote a check out to my friend for enough money to get me home. The purse and my belongings were never recovered.
When I had applied for this teaching position at the Catholic college, I had bought a nice cobalt blue suit to wear for the interview and was pleasantly surprised to see that the nuns were now allowed to change their traditional habits for a blue suit, with the black and white traditional head covering. Not being Catholic, I was not aware of this and was welcomed in my nun blue suit and hired for the teaching position. If course, I was also very qualified for the position too.
I had registered to go to the annual art therapy conference held in New Orleans a few months later and 3 of the nuns got permission to also attend so they could find out more about art therapy. One evening, they asked me if I would like to go to the French quarters to listen to jazz with them. Naturally I agreed and a couple of other art therapists joined us.
Having learned my lesson about purses being stolen, I wore sensible shoes and a suit jacket with a small purse over my shoulder and underneath the jacket so my arms could swing freely. We walked to a famous rundown old club where everyone had to stand and we were packed tightly into the small place. After an hour or so, one of the art therapists pushed her way through to me and shouted in my ear that some man was rubbing her bottom and they were going to take a taxi back to the hotel. (It's called frottage).
After awhile, the nuns, dressed in their blue suits and traditional head covering said they were ready to leave. By that time, it was about 2 in the morning and I suggested that we take a taxi back to the hotel (not realizing that nuns don't have money). One of them said that they had all walked back very late last night from the French quarters and had been very safe and they would like to walk.
We started down the deserted street with the older nun clutching her purse tightly under her arm, and her head bent down so that she was not watching the surrounding area. The other two nuns were talking and I was walking with my head up, arms swinging freely and hyper alert. I saw a man a couple of blocks down the street and he was running in an easy stride. As he got closer, I glanced at him and moved over to the side of the walk way.
The nun with her head down never glanced up as he grabbed her and tried to yank her purse from under her arm. She was hanging on so tightly that he forced her to the ground. The other two nuns were in shock. He raised his arm to strike her just as I started my shrill screaming, 'Get out of here, leave us alone!!' I and had enough of my wits about me that my language would not shock a nun. There was another couple down the street a couple of blocks, they shouted and started running toward us, their footsteps echoing in the distance. The robber gave up and ran off in the other direction and down an alley. They really like all those alleys.
The older nun had a badly bruised and bleeding knee and we managed to get her back to the hotel. The other two nuns said they would take care of her medical needs and I think she was taken to the emergency room.
That's why I always leave my purse at home when I travel. Now I wear a travel vest with lots of pockets and cargo pants with lots of pockets, and maybe a tough dame sneer. And other than those two times, I've never been in another mugging, knock on wood, and I've gone to many jazz clubs since then.
Sorry, my only pictures of my Scirocco are slides that are around here somewhere, so I got this one online and did some graphic manipulations to it. I couldn't find one with the snake infinity emblem on the bottom of the doors.