(But didn't I take the black bag to the cottage last year with the travel pillow stuffed into one side? Am definitely remembering stuffing pillow, but that could have been any time from 2000 on.)
In the end I used the small red wheeled thing-- another second bag that I brought manga back from Japan in, probably some time in the last century. And have never used since because it's Too Small, but equally, have never thrown out because of the maternal curse: You never know when it'll come in handy. Which it did. QED. Had a pleasant bus trip up through autumnal country and ohh what a relief/ change from the heat wave of Monday to Thursday. Get off in blowy grey wind, L is sitting in the waiting room, we hug, she picks up her bag-- a black bag with two zippered compartments and an outside pocket on one side. It's my bag. Looking at it, I realize that I stopped using it because it lost one metal hook to attach the shoulder strap to and I don't use bags I can't sling. But when did I give it to her? She thought it came from her son. In '05 we met in a restaurant after my nanny job, and I don't recall carrying it around all day. Before that was 2000 when she left, and I'm sure I used this in NY in '02 and '03. And if indeed it was '00, what bag did I use all those Shoujocon years in New York?
And at long last memory says something about black plastic weave and zippers-- and yes, there was a soft-sided suitcase, on unreliable wheels, that would expand if you undid the curving unreliable zippers and became something hip high. Handle on top. Can't remember anything more about it, and must have tossed it long since, New York beasts being more reliable.
I have indeed not seen the black bag in ten years. This makes me feel most peculiar.
ETA: so what happened to curvy-zippered bag? Am I sure I didn't just stash it away at the back of the closet? Go look in closet. There before my eyes-- but not there Saturday when I packed-- is a black wheeled suitcase with pockets on the sides, same material as the shoulder bag. Yeah, that's what I use on short trips, and that's probably what I was trying to remember when memory dredged up my 90s suitcase instead.