If your wallet gets stolen, you probably give up looking for it after a short time. Rarely, if ever, do they turn up. But for a lucky group of Centralia, Illinois high school students, the nearly impossible has happened - it just took 75 years for their luck to arrive!
The unbelievable discovery came when the old Centralia High School was being renovated by a local church. That’s when one woman - along with 14 other people - heard the news they never expected.
Fox News reports, “ A Missouri woman has been reunited with her stolen wallet 75 years after it went missing when it was discovered -- along with 14 others -- during a renovation at her old high school in a neighboring state.
"Sissom's wallet, along with more than a dozen others, was discovered when a congregation in Centralia, Illinois, was converting the former Centralia High School building into a church. Pastor Seth Baltzell said a plumber found the wallets stashed in the wall of a girls' bathroom'" CNN reports.
The wallets, that had gone missing in the 1940s, were presumed gone forever. But, in this case, forever didn’t last quite as long as they thought it would.
The pastor of City Hope Church, Seth Baltzell, wrote on Facebook the discovery was made amid demolition work at the old Centralia High School in Centralia, Ill. A stash of 15 wallets from the mid-1940s was found stuffed inside a heating vent.”
And although the cash was long gone, all the photos and documents were left behind. Most of the wallets appeared to belong to women, according to the school photos IDs discovered inside the wallets.
"While demoing out the old high school in Centralia Illinois recently we found a stash of what we assumed to be stolen walets from the mid-1940s stuffed in a heat vent.
"While someone took the cash they left behind all the pictures, information and other documents.
"I’m gonna throw some names in here of what appears to be mostly women, so these are probably maiden names. If you know if they are still living or are a family member, we would love to get it back to you!
Betty June Sisson
Mary Lou Cover
Mary Agnes Gilmor”
After posting the photo along with the names, Pastor Baltzell received some startling news.
He was contacted by the family of 89-year-old Betty June Sissom, who grew up in Centralia and now lives in Chesterfield, Missouri. She remembers quite a bit.
"I remember it was red and I remember I lost my wallet...I can't believe this from all these years ago. That's me with a little boy by the name of Jimmy Kane and I had a crush on him," Sissom told the KDSK.
"Oh my goodness, look at the boys' pictures I have. They took all the money, huh?"
Yes, the money was gone, but what was left behind was far more precious.
The war was ending and many of the photos inside the wallets are of soldiers either in or returning from combat.
"This is exciting. I can't believe after all of these years," Sissom said.