Back in the 1940s, everyone in Nevada, Iowa did one thing in their free time. Whether they were children, teens, or adults, they gathered in the classic movie theater. And the place was where everyone went. You can imagine how many first kisses it helped bring about. And when one teen was getting a bit busy during a visit to the theater, he lost his wallet, and it was never seen from again.
Flash-forward seventy-years. The theater, which used to be the premier place to view the latest black-and-white movies, has gone through a lot during the last decades. The building was built in the 1920s and got a lot of use. When entrepreneur Larry Sloan bought the theater, he decided he needed to put a bunch of work into it. So he hired contractors to rip the history out of the place so he could give it a new face. Sloan wanted to transform the old theater into what he called The Talent Factory. His venue would be one part comedy club and two parts performance theater. That’s why he was willing to shell out a lot of money to make the old theater look new again without completely losing all its history and pizzazz.
During his renovations of the old building, Sloan’s men found something interesting in the third-floor balcony. As they ripped the old hardwood floors out, there was something perched on a ledge. And after looking closely, they realized it was a long-abandoned brown plastic wallet.
The workers reached down through the gaping space and grabbed the wallet. It was old, that was true. And when the workers opened it, they realized that everything inside it had been preserved. The wallet belonged to a 15-year-old boy Clare McIntosh. He must have lost it while going in for a smooch with his date in the dimly lit balcony.
Sloan happened to be an investigator before he switched careers to be a developer and entrepreneur. But he didn’t have to use much of his professional sleuthing skills to learn about Clare McIntosh. The boy had a calendar in his wallet, which pinned the year down as 1944. It also included World War II ration stamps and a handwritten ID card. And in the card, it listed Clare’s emergency contact phone number as “8.”
Besides the personal info, the wallet contained faded photographs. These windows into a boy’s life more than seventy-years before were a marvel in and of themselves.
Sloan was able to track down Clare McIntosh, who was still alive eventually.
Sloan reached out to the now 85-year-old man and told him that he had found his wallet. McIntosh did not know what wallet he meant because he still had his in his pocket. That’s when Sloan told him this wallet was lost in 1944.
When he reunited him with his long-lost wallet, Clare could not believe it was found after so many years. It was great for him to be able to see the stuff he’d lost, especially the photographs.