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Wallet Lost In 1977 Will Be Returned To Ex-Fishkill Resident 40 Years Later

A wallet found in the ceiling of John Jay High School belonged to a student who graduated in the 70s.
A wallet found in the ceiling of John Jay High School belonged to a student who graduated in the 70s. Photo Credit: East Fishkill Police Department
A 10 cent check from the phone company.
A 10 cent check from the phone company. Photo Credit: East Fishkill Police Department

DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. -- A recent find in a ceiling during a renovation was like traveling back in time for East Fishkill Police Chief Kevin Keefe.

The chief was contacted last week by John Jay High School Assistant Principal Paul Albanese after a work crew found a girl's wallet inside the ceiling during a renovation of the school.

When inspecting the wallet, Albanese discovered it had been placed there in 1977, the same year the chief himself graduated from John Jay.

"I knew the family, they lived a block over from me when I was growing up," Keefe said. "I also knew a lot of the people in the photos and laughed when I saw a 10-cent check from the phone company."

The chief explained that the phone company used to send 10 cent checks to people who called and complained that they had lost money at a phone booth.

He also pointed out the number of photos in the wallet was standard for the day, but not something most people do today, of course.

"Everyone has all their photos on their phones, so it was neat to see all the photos (in the wallet)," he added.

Albanese said that looking through the wallet which contained many vintage photographs, notes, a library card and school documents, was like looking at a time capsule of the life of a John Jay sophomore at that time.

The chief said it took a little work but he managed to locate the woman's brother: "You know no one has a home phone today so it took a little sleuthing to find him," he laughed.

The woman, who now lives in the Midwest, will be returning to Dutchess in a couple weeks and the chief intends to return her wallet then.

"It was very nostalgic for me and a lot of fun," he said. "I've received a lot of calls from people interested in the wallet story."

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