Woman gets wallet back 75 years later

Missing wallet 75 years

Missing wallet 75 years. A woman who had lost her back in the 40s received the news of her life this week. The missing wallet was returned to her 75 years later.

Betty Sissom, 89, received the gift of a lifetime last week when her wallet from the mid-1940s was returned to her. Sissom’s wallet, along with more than a dozen others, was discovered when a congregation in Centralia, Illinois, was converting the former Centralia High School building into a church.

Pastor Seth Baltzell said a plumber found the wallets stashed in the wall of a girls’ bathroom.”We’ve been working on this building for six months. I’ve been kind of waiting for that really cool thing that nobody’s seen in the last 75 or 100 years to pop out,” Baltzell said.

“One of our plumbers cut open a vent in the girls’ bathroom and as he cut it open a bunch of old wallets fell out,” Baltzell said. “He fished them out and put them in a box then brought them to me. There were 15.”

Seth Baltzell took a photo of the wallets and shared it on Facebook, hoping he could return them to their owners.

The relatives of 89-year-old Betty June Sissom saw the post and reached out to Baltzell. They told him that Sissom used to live in Centralia and moved about 85 miles away. Baltzell asked reporters from KSDK to personally deliver the wallet to Sissom.

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“All the pictures seemed to be from 1945 and 1946,” he said. “Best we can tell is that someone was stealing wallets and then ditched them behind the toilets in a heat vent.”

They’d likely been sitting there for 75 years.

Crazy Story! While demoing out the old high school in Centralia Illinois recently we found a stash of what we assumed…

Posted by Seth Baltzell on Thursday, June 20, 2019

After posting the photo and names of people that were discovered inside the vent, Baltzell’s Facebook post received over 1,100 shares.

Baltzell said he went through the wallets and used the pictures and I.D. cards to identify the owners. He posted their names along with a photo of the wallets on Facebook late last month. When he checked in that evening, the post had been shared over 1,000 times.

Sissom said even without finding money inside, being able to get her wallet with some photos back was “unbelievable.”

“This is exciting,” she told KSDK-TV. “I can’t believe after all of these years.”

Shakes Gilles

Editor of The Talking Democrat. He enjoys bike riding, kayaking and playing soccer. On a slow weekend, you'll find him with a book by the lake.