Arnold Fine, former editor of The Jewish Press, never knew finding a lost wallet could lead to such a heartwarming reunion. This beautiful story of enduring love, published in the Reader’s Digest in 1985, and retold in other publications, has been touching the hearts of people around the world for decades.
One bitterly cold day, Arnold Fine was on his way back home when he spotted a wallet on the street.
Hoping to find its owner, he opened the wallet to search for identification. Inside, it contained a $3 bill and a crumpled envelope that looked as if it had been kept there for ages—the only thing legible on it was the return address.
The letter within the envelope, written by Hannah to Michael, was dated 1924—nearly 60 years ago. In the tragic breakup letter, Hannah wrote she could no longer see Michael because her mother forbade it, but, she promised she’d always love him.
To locate the owner of the wallet, Fine called the operator to find a phone listing for the return address on the envelope.
The operator couldn’t give Fine the number; instead, she connected him to a woman now living in that house.
Fine spoke to that woman on the phone, and it turned out 30 years ago, she purchased the house from a family who had a daughter named Hannah. She recalled Hannah had placed her mother in a nursing home years ago.
Thankfully, the woman still remembered the name of the nursing home where Hannah’s mother used to stay. Fine called the nursing home, only to be informed her mother had passed away a few years back. However, he found out where Hannah was staying.
It was already 10 p.m. when Fine drove over to the nursing home where Hannah was living.
The nurse escorted him to the day room on the third floor. Hannah, a sweet, gray-haired lady, was there watching television.
When Fine showed Hannah the powder-blue envelope, she recognized it at once.
Hannah told Fine: “I loved him very much. But I was only 16 and my mother wouldn’t let us see each other, because she felt I was too young.”
“Michael Goldstein was a wonderful person,” she continued.
“If you find him, tell him I think of him often and I still love him,” she said with tears in her eyes. “I never did marry. No one matched up to Michael.”
Fine said goodbye after hearing her story.
As Fine was about to leave the nursing home, the guard asked whether Hannah was able to help him.
Fine took out the wallet and said, “At least I got the last name from her.”
Unexpectedly, the guard knew who the wallet, with bright-red lacing on the side, belonged to. It was actually the property of Mike Goldstein, a resident living on the eighth floor.
Fine thanked the guard and immediately informed the nurse, who escorted him to the day room on the eighth floor, where Michael was quietly reading a book.
Fine handed Michael his lost wallet.
He also told the elderly man he had read the letter, and knew where Hannah was.
“Could you tell me where she is now?” asked Michael, whose eyes sparkled with anticipation.
“I was so in love with Hannah. When I received that letter, my life literally ended,” he continued. “I’ve never gotten married. I’ve always loved her.”
Fine then led Michael to the day room on the third floor.
Hannah remained speechless as she looked at Michael while adjusting her glasses. Just then, Michael spoke, “Hannah, it’s Michael.”
Michael walked over and they embraced.
Fine and the nurse stood there watching. Tears rolled down their faces as they witnessed this touching reunion.
Three weeks later, Fine received a call from the nursing home. He was invited to attend Michael and Hannah’s wedding.
On their big day, 76-year-old Hannah wore a light beige dress, while 79-year-old Michael donned a dark-blue suit. Fine was their best man.
This love story that spanned nearly six decades ended on a sweet note.
“If it’s meant to be, it will be,” Fine said.
If two people are meant to be, somehow, fate will bring them back together in the end…
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