Tom Stevens, an employee helping to restore an old movie theater in Ventura, California, found a wallet in a crawl space that was stuffed with all kinds of 20th century relics, including a $5 Grateful Dead concert ticket from 1973, poetry, vintage photos, and a California driver's license with a 1976 expiration date. The license belonged to someone named Colleen Distin, which gave Stevens a good clue to start his search for the wallet's original owner.
He posted a message on the theater's Facebook page: "Does anyone know Colleen Distin? While doing some maintenance we have found her wallet. There are a bunch of pictures of people, and they are super cool from that era also. Someone may want them. So if you are, or if you know Colleen, drop us a line and we will have it here for you!"
The message spread fast, and Distin, who still lives in Ventura County, soon got wind of it.
Distin, who grew up in Ventura and remains a resident, said she heard from a lot of people online and received a call about the post on social media. She responded May 25, a couple of hours after the posting, that the wallet was hers.
Distin on Friday went to pick up the red wallet, now brownish with age, and said it was like opening a "time capsule."
Distin said she lost the wallet in 1975, when she was in her early 20s, at what was then a movie theater.
Distin said it must have fallen through a hole in her purse, which she had placed on the theater floor. At the time, her wallet held a $200 check and family photos.
"I remember calling the next day when I realized it was gone. They said no one found it, but to call back, which I did," Distin said.
"I'm shaking," Distin told KCAL-TV as she looked through the wallet. … "It's really wonderful."