The woman had gone to the movies with her daughter when she lost her wallet. Years later, it was found by a stranger.
We lose a lot of stuff from time to time. Sometimes it's our phone charger, keys or something valuable like rings or wallets. If we are lucky enough, we can retrieve our lost possessions, but if we are not, it might take over six decades for the object to make its way back to its owner. According to The Washington Post, Floy Culbreth lost her wallet in 1958 at the Plaza Theater in Atlanta. It remained hidden somewhere behind the walls and rubbles just like a time capsule holding all the memories of Culbreth from the bygone era.
Culbreth's daughter, Thea Culbreth Chamberlain, who is 71 years old now, was left speechless when she received the lost maroon wallet of her mother earlier this year. It was discovered by a contractor who was in charge of renovating the Atlanta theater where Culbreth had lost it. "I don't even know how to say how flabbergasted I was," Chamberlain told the outlet. "And it took a while for it to sink in."
Her mother had passed away back in 2005 at the age of 87. So the reunion of the wallet was with her daughter instead, who was only 6 years old back in 1958. Chamberlain revealed how her mother was always going around in Atlanta, where she resided with her husband and their two kids for decades. "She was known for being loving, giving, fun," Chamberlain revealed to the outlet. "She just had a way of welcoming people wherever she went and always making them laugh. I mean mom was like watching 'I Love Lucy,'" she said about the time when they visited the theater together.
Culbreth was a teacher by profession and an active member of her church and even volunteered for several nonprofit organizations. Chamberlain remembers her mother as a woman who used to set an example for her family and treated everyone with kindness. Chamberlain's offspring continued her mother's legacy when her sons Wes and Bryan founded the Culbreth Cup Gold Tournament in honor of their grandmother and her husband, Roy. The tournament proceedings went to benefit the United Cerebral Palsy of Georgia annually.
Thanks to the Culbreth Cup's website, the wallet was able to travel back home to Culbreth's daughter and her family. While the contractors were removing the bathroom wall tiles of the Plaza Theatre in October 2023, they discovered several discarded items such as umbrellas, hats, empty bottles, shoe boxes and many more objects beneath the debris. "They were careful as they were going through things, almost like archaeologists or something," Christopher Escobar, the theater's owner, told the outlet.
The space where they found Culbreth's wallet was the manager's office at one point, where the theater staff probably used to stash lost-and-found items. "We opened it up and started realizing how chock-full of history it was," Escobar said. He wanted to make an attempt and try to return the lost wallet to the family, so his wife Nicole aided him in tracking down the owner by searching Culbreth's name on the internet. An obituary on the Culbreth Cup website led Nicole to a Facebook page of Chamberlain's son Wes.
Escobar and the Chamberlain family met in November 2023 when Escobar handed the maroon wallet back to Culbreth's living family. "Oh, my goodness," Chamberlain said as she held the wallet. "This is hitting me more than I realized it would." She admitted to the outlet that her mother's memories came flooding back to her the moment she held the wallet. "She was in there," Chamberlain said. "I know it sounds kind of hokey, but she was." The family now plans to frame the contents of the wallet to preserve them in the hopes of not losing them ever again. In an interview with Atlanta News First, Escobar talked about similar incidents that have happened at the theatre and said, "This theatre still has a number of stories...it still surprises us."