Losing your wallet is one of the most annoying things that can happen to you. You have to start thinking about getting a new driver’s license, canceling your cards, calculating how much cash you lost, not to mention if the wallet itself was an expensive or valuable possession.
Imagine you lose your wallet overseas, on a business trip let’s say… in Antarctica. When all you can see around you is ice and snow, you can easily leave assuming that you lost everything in that wallet forever. Well, sometimes you can be surprised.
Paul Grisham is a Navy meteorologist from Monterrey, CA, who was assigned in the 1950s to work in Antarctica in Operation Deep Freeze. Even though it sounds like a plan from a Disney villain, it was a program to provide assistance and support for civilian scientists working there. It was in 1958 when Grisham lost his wallet somewhere in the facilities but he forgot about it for almost 60 years.
During a demolition in Ross Island in 2014, a group of scientists found a lot of lost items from other people that travel there to work before them. They found a group of lot wallets and went online to try to find the original owners, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune.
They found Stephen Decato and Sarah Lindberg, who had experience returning lost items to former Navy members. Lindberg got in touch with Bruce Mckee, the leader of a non-profit that works with veterans, and he found Grisham through an association from which he was a member: the Naval Weather Service Association.
After all the effort, the wallet finally came back to Grisham and he was really surprised about it. Not only he retrieved that long-lost and forgotten possession, but also it was in surprisingly good shape, as well as anything it had inside.
Paul found his old driver’s license from the 1950s, his Navy ID card, and a beer ration punch card. Having the memory of the atomic bombs so recent in that era, and with the Cold War raging, it wasn’t strange that in the wallet there also was a guide for what to do during an atomic exploding, chemical weapon attack, or even biological weapon attack.
It may seem like a lot of effort for a meaningless object to get back to its former owner, but it surely gave Paul Grisham a moment of joy, remembrance, and nostalgia that he wasn’t expecting and that he thanked.