This isn’t necessarily a solutions-oriented story, but it will surely put a smile on your face.
53 years ago, Navy meteorologist Paul Grisham was shipped out to Antarctica to work as a weather forecaster for a science station and airport on Ross Island. He worked there for 13 months before getting the green light to return home to his family in California, but unfortunately, his wallet never left the island. Flash forward to just over a week ago, and Grisham has been reunited with his long lost wallet.
Although Grisham has no recollection of losing his wallet on the island, he was happy to see its return after it was found behind a locker during the demolition of a building at McMurdo Station, the southernmost town on Earth.
As reported in the San Diego Tribune, the old wallet still had Grisham’s Navy ID, his driver’s license, a tax withholding statement, a recipe for homemade Kahlua, and several items that his former colleagues would recognize, including a beer ration punch card, receipts for money orders sent to his wife for his poker winnings at the station, and a pocket reference card with instructions for what to do in the event of an atomic, biological or chemical weapons attack. The only thing the wallet didn’t have was cash; there was nothing to buy at the frozen station.
The wallet found its long lost owner thanks to Stephen Decato and his daughter Sarah Lindbergh, both of New Hampshire, as well as Bruce McKee of the Indiana Spirit of ’45 nonprofit foundation. The trio had already successfully returned a few lost Navy items from the past to families, so when Decato’s old boss heard about their success, he decided to mail them a few wallets he had discovered in 2014 when the McMurdo Station was demolished.
By contacting people within their old networks, they were able to find Grisham as well as the families of the deceased owners of the other wallets.
“If it was my dad’s possessions, I would have treasured it as I think they will,” said Lindbergh, whose grandfather served in the Navy. “It was a feel-good thing to do and both my dad and I have gone to bed thinking that another family was as happy as we are.”
As for Grisham, he certainly seemed happy as he perused through his old Navy items.
“I was just blown away,” said Grisham, who lives in San Carlos. “There was a long series of people involved who tracked me down and ran me to the ground.”
For those of us at The Optimist Daily, this remarkable story is one we won’t soon forget.
Image source: Nelvin C. Cepeda