Missing Wallet Returned 54 Years Later

Posted at 10:31 PM, Jul 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-15 15:55:58-04

JENISON, Mich. – A couple in West Michigan got a hand delivered trip down memory lane on Tuesday, July 9th when something they thought was lost forever found its way home.

FOX 17 was there as a man was reunited with something few of us can go without.

There are things that come to Clarence Van Dyken’s mind when you mention the year 1959.  Gas was 25 cents a gallon back then and he made 50 dollars a week.

On September first of 1959 Van Dyken spent $16.00 on car repairs, something he can now prove thanks to an old receipt he found in a wallet lost 54 years ago.

It’s return home started with a modern day problem; renovations in Aron Schut’s bathroom in Jenison brought on by flood damage.

“I started sweeping up the insulation and inside was a wallet,” Schut said.  “So I thought, what a strange place for a wallet.  And opened it up and there was an I.D. in it and I recognized the name, it sounded familiar.  I know his son.  So through a couple phone calls I was able to locate his son.”

That man was Clare Van Dyken.  We met Clare on the driveway of his father’s home in Jenison.  We were there when he broke the news to his dad that his wallet was located.

“I got a call today from a fella in my church that bought our old house and he was taking apart our bathroom,” Clare said to his father.  “And by the bathtub, between the studs, he found your old wallet in there from 1959.”

“I’ll be cow-kicked,” his father, Clarence Van Dyken said.  “Unreal!”

Van Dyken thumbed through the worn and tethered pieces of genuine leather.  Inside he found two dollars, one dated 1935.  He also found a couple pictures.

“I never thought I would see that beaut again,” said Van Dyken.

Each folded up piece of paper unlocked a new memory, old addresses of relatives and neighbors,  a grocery list for watermelon and milk.  He also found a combination to an unknown lock box.

Van Dyken said The trip down memory land was well worth the two dollars he misplaced 54 years ago.