Lake returns wallet

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:50 PM

Little did she know, the worn leather container would make its way up to Grand Traverse Bay — a floating trip of a couple hundred miles.

The 20-year-old Norton Shores resident was salmon fishing on Lake Michigan on June 20 when she thinks she lost her wallet. James said they were about a mile off the Grand Haven pier and she was leaning over the boat to haul in a 36-inch steelhead when her wallet may have fallen into the lake.

James said she didn’t know her wallet was missing until the next morning.

Last week, a woman called James and said her 5-year-old grandson found the wallet on a beach near Traverse City.

Pam Schuler said she was on the beach at her Eastport home on Grand Traverse Bay, possibly on July 10, when her grandson, Ethan, found a treasure.

“‘Nana, I found this,’ he says, and drops a soggy wallet in my lap,” Schuler said. “I started going through the wallet. I couldn’t find a phone number.”

Soggy paper fell apart as she pulled it from the sleeves.

Schuler said she tried to use White Pages online to find a match for the information, but that didn’t work. However, much of the contents in tighter compartments were laminated and Schuler was able to use an insurance card to track down James’ father, who works for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department.

“I Googled his name,” Schuler said. “It said he was a deputy sheriff, so I called that county.”

James said Ottawa County Central Dispatch turned over the information to her family.

“The middle of last week, my step-mom called me and said a lady found (the wallet),” James said. “She actually sent the wallet down by First Class mail.”

James said her 3-year-old wallet used to be brown, but had been bleached by its trip in Lake Michigan to “almost white.”

“It smells like fish — yuck,” she said.

But she’s still using it.

“It’s sentimental now,” James said.

The former Spring Lake resident and Fruitport High School graduate said she was excited when she learned someone had found her wayward wallet that was missing for three weeks.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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