stumbled on a wallet someone had lost in the street. I picked it up and looked
inside to find some identification so I could call the owner. But the wallet
contained only three dollars and a crumpled letter that looked as if it had
been in there for years.
thing that was legible on it was the return address. I started to open the
letter, hoping to find some clue. Then I saw the dateline–1924. The letter had
been written almost 60 years ago.
feminine handwriting on powder blue stationery with a little flower in the
left-hand corner. It was a “Dear John” letter that told the recipient, whose
name appeared to be Michael, that the writer could not see him anymore because
her mother forbade it. Even so, she wrote that she would always love him.
was no way except for the name Michael, that the owner could be identified.
Maybe if I called information, the operator could find a phone listing for the
address on the envelope.
unusual request. I’m trying to find the owner of a wallet that I found. Is
there anyway you can tell me if there is a phone number for an address that was
on an envelope in the wallet?”
supervisor, who hesitated for a moment then said, “Well, there is a phone
listing at that address, but I can’t give you the number.” She said, as a
courtesy, she would call that number, explain my story and would ask them if
they wanted her to connect me.
was back on the line. “I have a party who will speak with you.”
of the line if she knew anyone by the name of Hannah. She gasped, “Oh! We
bought this house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. But that was
30 years ago!”
could be located now?” I asked.
her mother in a nursing home some years ago,” the woman said. “Maybe if you got
in touch with them they might be able to track down the daughter.”
home and I called the number. They told me the old lady had passed away some
years ago but they did have a phone number for where they thought the daughter
might be living.
who answered explained that Hannah herself was now living in a nursing home.
thought to myself. Why was I making such a big deal over finding the owner of a
wallet that had only three dollars and a letter that was almost 60 years old?
home in which Hannah was supposed to be living and the man who answered the
phone told me, “Yes, Hannah is staying with us.”
I asked if I could come by to see her. “Well,” he said hesitatingly, “if you
want to take a chance, she might be in the day room watching television.”
nursing home. The night nurse and a guard greeted me at the door. We went up to
the third floor of the large building. In the day room, the nurse introduced me
oldtimer with a warm smile and a twinkle in her eye. I told her about finding
the wallet and showed her the letter. The second she saw the powder blue envelope
with that little flower on the left, she took a deep breath and said, “Young
man, this letter was the last contact I ever had with Michael.”
thought and then said softly, “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 at the
time and my mother felt I was too young. Oh, he was so handsome. He looked like
Sean Connery, the actor.”
Goldstein was a wonderful person. If you should find him, tell him I think of
him often. And,” she hesitated for a moment, almost biting her lip, “tell him I
still love him. You know,” she said smiling as tears began to well up in her
eyes, “I never did marry. I guess no one ever matched up to Michael…”
took the elevator to the first floor and as I stood by the door, the guard
there asked, “Was the old lady able to help you?”
“At least I have a last name. But I think I’ll let it go for a while. I spent
almost the whole day trying to find the owner of this wallet.”
was a simple brown leather case with red lacing on the side. When the guard saw
it, he said, “Hey, wait a minute! That’s Mr. Goldstein’s wallet. I’d know it
anywhere with that bright red lacing. He’s always losing that wallet. I must
have found it in the halls at least three times.”
hand began to shake.
8th floor. That’s Mike Goldstein’s wallet for sure. He must have lost it on one
of his walks.” I thanked the guard and quickly ran back to the nurse’s office.
I told her what the guard had said. We went back to the elevator and got on. I
prayed that Mr. Goldstein would be up.
said, “I think he’s still in the day room. He likes to read at night. He’s a
darling old man.”
any lights on and there was a man reading a book. The nurse went over to him
and asked if he had lost his wallet. Mr. Goldstein looked up with surprise, put
his hand in his back pocket and said, “Oh, it is missing!”
and we wondered if it could be yours?”
and the second he saw it, he smiled with relief and said, “Yes, that’s it! It
must have dropped out of my pocket this afternoon. I want to give you a
to tell you something. I read the letter in the hope of finding out who owned
disappeared. “You read that letter?”
know where Hannah is.”
know where she is? How is she? Is she still as pretty as she was? Please,
please tell me,” he begged.
you knew her.” I said softly.
and asked, “Could you tell me where she is? I want to call her tomorrow.” He
grabbed my hand and said, “You know something, Mister? I was so in love with
that girl that when that letter came, my life literally ended. I never married.
I guess I’ve always loved her.”
third floor. The hallways were darkened and only one or two little night-lights
lit our way to the day room where Hannah was sitting alone watching the
television. The nurse walked over to her.
to Michael, who was waiting with me in the doorway. “Do you know this man?”
a moment, but didn’t say a word. Michael said softly, almost in a whisper,
“Hannah, it’s Michael. Do you remember me?”
believe it! Michael! It’s you! My Michael!” He walked slowly towards her and
they embraced. The nurse and I left with tears streaming down our faces.
Lord works! If it’s meant to be, it will be.”
at my office from the nursing home. “Can you break away on Sunday to attend a
wedding? Michael and Hannah are going to tie the knot!”
the people at the nursing home dressed up to join in the celebration. Hannah
wore a light beige dress and looked beautiful. Michael wore a dark blue suit
and stood tall. They made me their best man.
room and if you ever wanted to see a 76-year-old bride and a 79-year-old groom
acting like two teenagers, you had to see this couple.
that had lasted nearly 60 years.