It’s easy to imagine the sinking feeling Sue Decker experienced after exiting the Silver Spring Metro station Saturday afternoon. She got off the train. Her purse didn’t. She’d accidentally left it behind.

Sue and some friends had been downtown at the Nationals’ celebratory parade. They’d stopped in a bar to have a few drinks then caught the Metro back to Silver Spring, where her husband, Art Jaso, was going to meet them.

“I was pretty scared,” Sue said. Her purse contained her life: her phone, credit cards, keys to the car and the house. And on her driver’s license: her address.

“That’s a little scary,” said Sue of the prospect of someone showing up late one night, house key in hand. “I figured everything else was password protected.”

AD

Sue hurried to the station manager, who rang the stations up the line. No one had turned in a purse. He tried to console Sue by saying she wasn’t alone. His middle daughter was always losing things, he said.

AD

Said Sue: “I said, ‘I’m 62, and I finally lost my purse. I guess that’s not too bad.’ ”

Husband Art tried calling Sue’s phone. At first there was no answer, but when he tried again, a voice came over the line. “Is this Susan?” it asked.

A couple who had been at the parade had found Sue’s purse when they’d boarded the train — now headed in the other direction — at Metro Center. They were on their way to the Grosvenor-Strathmore station, which is where Sue and Art drove to meet them.

AD

“I’m kind of surprised people weren’t worried about it as a security risk,” Sue said. “It’s just a normal-looking purse, but maybe if it had been a backpack, people would have thought differently.”

When the couple emerged from Grosvenor-Strathmore, Sue rushed up to greet them with a hug.

Everything was intact in the purse, including the cash. The couple declined Art’s offer of a reward.

AD

Said Sue: “Talk about a range of emotions within an hour period. . . . Everything just worked in my favor.”

Said Art: “We didn’t even ask who they were, which we felt bad about.”

They think the man might be from Canada. He wore a Maple Leafs hockey sweatshirt. And he was polite.

AD

So, a heartfelt thank-you to the unnamed good Samaritan.

All that jazz

There’s a new gravestone at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Northeast Washington. Not a new body, mind you, just a new marker. It’s in Section 62, and it reads: “Louisa Harriet Mozee. ‘Sadie Crawford.’ Pioneering British jazz musician. 27 December 1885 — 18 December 1965.”

Louisa/Sadie is the London-born woman I wrote about in January. A onetime maid who was born into poverty, she fell in love with and married an American entertainer named Adolph Crawford.

Adolph was black. Sadie was white, though if people thought she was black, she didn’t correct them. Adolph taught her to play the saxophone, and they performed together in African American musical theater troupes that entertained the crowned heads of Europe — uncrowned heads, too.

AD
AD

It’s thought to be Sadie’s voice on 1923’s “La Haut” by Gordon Stretton, and the Orchestre Syncopated Six is the first time a British woman was captured on a jazz record.

After Crawford died in 1929, Sadie married a chauffeur from D.C. named Frank Mozee and spent the rest of her life in Washington. While her birthplace in the part of London called Tooting bears a blue historical plaque, her grave had been unmarked until last Thursday, when family members from England dedicated a marker.

Her great-niece Christine Willis was there with husband David. Their son — Sadie’s great-great-nephew — Stephen Willis was there with his partner, Millan Sachania.

AD

Father Michael Kelley of St. Martin of Tours Church, where Sadie worshiped, said a prayer. Shawn Townsend, director of the Mayor’s Office of Nightlife and Culture, said a few words. Surely this was the oddest bit of culture he’d celebrated — a white British woman who passed as black to perform jazz — but Shawn appreciated Sadie’s connection to D.C.

Cheryl Guidry Tyiska, the manager of Mount Olivet, observed that Sadie’s was just one of more than 180,000 stories from the cemetery — one for every person buried there since it opened in 1858. She said Mount Olivet was the first integrated cemetery in the city. That struck me as fitting.

Twitter: @johnkelly

For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.

AD
AD