The Wallet (Part Three)

With all the contents of the wallet spread out on my dining room table, I leaned back in my chair and studied it all.  It was amazing what I had learned about Ruth by just examining the contents of her wallet.  I knew what she looked like.  I read some of her thoughts and ideas.  She apparently had lots of friends.   She was a junior (there was a receipt for paying her Junior Class dues)  and she was  interested in nursing because of the poem she carried around with her.  She liked perfume and maybe the color red.  I’m assuming a lot, but Ruth was a typical teenage girl from the 1950’s.

sr pics

The biggest mystery was how did the wallet stay hidden surrounded by hundreds of people everyday?  Where had it been that no one had noticed it in over sixty years? My husband, the excavator,  said that on the day they discovered the wallet, they had been demolishing part of the building that included the furnace ducts.   Maybe someone was teasing Ruth, grabbed her wallet and threw it down an air duct?  Would the mystery ever be solved?

During the time that the demolition was taking place, I was busy getting ready for my granddaughter’s graduation party.  Sprucing up the yard, cleaning the garage, making posters, and signs and other decorations.  She was graduating from the new school building which had replaced the one we had just demolished.  On the day of her graduation party, there were many people attending that had gone to school in the old building.  So I began to tell the story of the wallet.  And that’s when the story took another turn.

My son’s father in law, Dan,  graduated from that high school just a few years after Ruth.  He was interested.  I took him in the house and showed him the contents of the wallet.  He could put a name to almost every picture I had rescued.  He didn’t remember Ruth, but he thought her brother still lived in the area.  He said he would make some calls and find out if Ruth was still around.

A couple of weeks later I got a phone call from Ruth’s brother, who lived nearby and had heard the story of the wallet from Dan.  He asked if he could come out and look at the wallet.  He and his wife came right out and they were amazed at the condition of everything.  And yes!  His sister, Ruth, was still alive and living in another state.  She had found that perfect husband and had had a long and happy marriage and family,  but her husband had passed away a few years ago.  She moved into a retirement community and got involved with the activities there. Then she met someone and is now married again and happy.  And she had spent her career as a nurse!

I packaged up the contents of the wallet and handed it to him.  He grinned and said he though he would put everything in a box and mail it to her to surprise her.  He had not said anything to her about it and wanted to see what her reaction would be.  I asked him to let me know how it all turned out.

A few weeks passed and I forgot about the wallet until I received a phone call from Ruth’s brother.  He laughed and said it probably wasn’t the outcome I was hoping for.

When Ruth received the package she called him and said, “Why did you send me all that junk in the mail?”  She had no recollection of the wallet or any of the circumstances of its loss.  We were both disappointed as was everyone who followed the story.

Ruth had moved away from this area shortly after graduation and nursing school so I guess its not surprising that the loss of a wallet 62 years ago was not fresh in her mind.  Though I was disappointed in hearing “the rest of the story”, it was comforting to know that her dreams came true.  That’s all most of us want, right?

to a young nurse






About Life in the 50's and beyond...

Welcome to Life in the 50's and 60's and beyond .... where I write about my childhood memories, music of the 60's and about life in the country. I am a mother, grandmother, farmer's wife, business owner, and retired teacher.
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8 Responses to The Wallet (Part Three)

  1. Val says:

    Would she not have recognised anyone from the photos? It is sad, but at least her brother was pleased to see them. An astonishing story whatever the outcome. I had a similar thing a few years ago when I was going through some family photos that had recently come to me (my own family) and saw some people I’d never seen before. There was handwriting on the backs of nearly all the photos and gradually a family story came to my mind of an adopted or fostered child. Anyway, I looked online at a genealogy site and after much searching found the family and reunited them with their photos… unlike yours, they were very happy to have them and I was overjoyed to have reconnected them.


    • That is a lovely story You should blog about it. I know that the lady who lost the wallet moved away after graduation and maybe never kept in contact with her classmates. She is also in her early 80’s so I think it would have been easily forgotten. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Val says:

        I may well blog about it one day. And yes, you may be right – too much time may have passed for her.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Doris says:

          First Ruth, you are to be commended for your tedious work to prreserve the contents of the wallet and seek out it’s owner. Many people including Bill and me enjoyed looking at a glimpse of the past and the pictures. Thank you for telling the story of the wallet and sharing the contents.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I was disappointed with Ruth’s reaction…”I” would have been so excited…and happy that someone took the trouble to connect me with a long lost item such as this…You surprised me with the ending!…good story…true or not!…glad to see you are still writing…have been slacking with my favorite blooger’s writings…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. puppy1952 says:

    I can’t believe that the other Ruth was not amazed at your find. I think perhaps you’ve captured our interest with your excellent story telling. The other Ruth simply hasn’t clicked at how amazing it is that her wallet was found after all these years. The other wonderful element to this story is that you did find he original owner. Wow – what a story!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Luanne says:

    It amazes me how much this story reminds me of genealogy and researching family history. I am fascinated by every little crumb of information I can find about somebody 10X removed, and yet family very close to the 10X removed can be completely uninterested–absolutely devoid in curiosity.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an absolutely fascinating story, even if the ending wasn’t what you’d hoped for or expected. Perhaps in time Ruth will remember the day she lost her wallet (I find memories tend to ‘ebb and flow’ now that I’m ‘off a certain age’) and be thankful that you found a little piece of her history and followed the clues to find her and return it to her.

    Liked by 1 person

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