Act of kindness: Purse stolen in 1957 found, returned to owner

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In 1957 Dwight Eisenhower was president, gas was .31 cents a gallon and a woman named Margaret had her purse stolen in the Book Tower building in Detroit.

Sixty-two years later, only one of those three things still exists and FOX 2 was there to watch as it returned home.

"Never, no I never thought anything would be recovered," said Margaret.

At its core, it's a simple story.

"I was really upset because I had never had anything stolen from me before," she said. "It's craziness, to find after 60 some years, someone is looking for you."

The year was 1957 and Margaret was working in the Book Tower building in downtown Detroit, when her purse was stolen.

"Yeah, I went across the hall, my desk was here and Carol Ludington's desk was here," she said. "And I came back in to get a cigarette - because those were the days, and my purse wasn't there."

The purse was never found, and Margie's life goes on.  She and her husband, Joe have three kids - Dan, David and Alicia.  She moves to Ann Arbor and the purse never crosses her mind again.

Until now.

"They found the purse right here, in this corner," said construction worker Jamie Roe. "He was up on a lift, sawing the ceiling down, taking it down in pieces and it happened to fall into the basket and he brought it to me"

Jamie then brought it home to show his wife, Jenni, who immediately decided, she needs to find Margaret.

"It was so old I mean the purse was dusty but everything inside of the purse was amazing," Jenni said. "You just knew that these were awesome things that someone would want to have back"

She posted it on Facebook, and tracks down Margaret's son David Cohen, and sends him the purse.

"The first thing I did was open it, because I wanted to confirm what was inside," he said. "When I looked through right away it was clear, this was definitely my mom's."

And that's how Margaret got her purse back, with best friend Carol sitting by her side remembering, as best friends do - all the stories and the people.

"That's Ronnie, he lived on the corner," Margie said, thumbing through old photos found inside.

Finding that like a good purse, a good friend stands the test of time.

"Oh that looks familiar Carol," Margie said, pulling out one of the photos.

"That is me, Carol Lapotsky," she said.

Carol read the back of the photo, which had a note she wrote to Margie. 

"Dear Margie, we've had some real crazy but wonderful times, I only hope they will continue in the future ..." 

"I didn't know they were going to go 61 years," Carol said.

From little old combs, lipsticks and keys to big secrets.

"There was the picture of Tony I was looking for," Margie said. 

"Who is Tony?" asked her son David.

"The sailor I wrote to," she said. 

"I didn't know that, you were writing a sailor," said Carol. "He looks like a movie star."

"I picked them good Carol," she said.

To the most important treasures of all.

"Oh, that's my dad," Margie said. "That's the only picture I've got of him."

Margie then finds a handkerchief.

"It's my mother's, remember we used to have those, we had hankies, we didn't use Kleenex," she said. "My mother gave it to me."

One story, one act of kindness,

"Mission accomplished, I'm just happy that she got all of her stuff back," said Jenni.

All thanks to one purse. 

FOX 2: "With all the work Jenni did, is there anything you want to say to her?"

 "Just thanks for caring, it means a great deal to me - and now I’m crying again," she said.

Don't worry Margie, you’re not alone.

This discovery means a little extra to Margie at this time of her life. She recently moved into an assisted living facility so she scaled back a lot of her things. 

Getting those memories to have and to keep, was more valuable to her than the money stolen out of it.