Renovations can unearth more than just the hidden beauty of buildings. This is what happened when the owner of the Talent Factory Theater decided to give a face lift to the venerable venue. What used to be a movie theater that was built in the 1920’s is getting new life as a local comedy club. Upstairs, the floor was being redone when a keen pair of eyes spotted something. A wallet was lodged in the floorboards. Upon further inspection, this billfold was much more than a collection of identification.
The sense of touch was the first indication that something was out of the ordinary. Instead of leather or a synthetic material, that tell tale feel of plastic greeted the person who found the wallet. An initial impression was that it had to be a child’s plaything.
Upon opening it, this was discovered not to be the case. Owner of the Talent Factory Theater, Larry Sloan, was greeted with a collection of vintage documents and mementos. How old were these venerable pieces of history? A pocket calendar dating back to 1944 indicated that the wallet was very old indeed.
Inside were faded black and white pictures. A boy scout card was among the belongings. Rations stamps from World War II confirmed the age of the wallet. Most importantly was a hand written identification card. Still visible was the name on an identification card. Clare McIntosh was listed as the owner of the wallet.
Also on this same piece of paper was the contact information on how to return the wallet if found. Instructions had it to call the McIntosh’s in a neighboring town. The funniest sign on how times have changed was seen by their phone number. Instead of those sprawling ten digit or more numbers, a lone “8” was given on how to call a person in a small town back in the 1940’s.
Alive and well was Mr. Clare McIntosh. Efforts to find his family had resulted in the discovery that he was very much still among the living. Contact was made and Clare made the drive to Nevada, Iowa to the Talent Factory Theater. At 85 years old, he indicated that he has not seen this wallet in 70 years. A trip down memory lane recalled that it was his sister in his photos. A love for the boy scouts was rekindled upon seeing those boyhood treasures from over seven decades ago. With a grin on his face, Clare said a hearty thank you and headed back to Des Moines.
Personal history unearthed from the musty recesses of a venerable movie theater. Over seven decades old, what were the chances the owner could be found and still be alive? This feel good story bucked the odds as Clare McIntosh was alive and kicking. A trip down memory lane, Mr. McIntosh went back to the quiet town outside of Des Moines with plastic wallet in tow.