Letters to the Editor: The Wallet | Reader writes

I thought I locked the car. I knew I had locked the car. I thought I knew I had locked the car. My wallet was on the driver’s side floor. My favorite wallet that opened like the palms of prayer hands. My daughter gave me the wallet for my birthday and there were pictures of cats on both sides. I’d tossed everything out of my ragged old wallet and carefully slipped my credit cards and driver’s license, as well as AAA and library IDs into the slots on the new one. Then I put a couple of bills in my wallet. It worked so well – better than any wallet I’ve ever owned. The little gold snap made it easy to open, and the cat-covered case felt smooth in my hands. I loved it.

Yesterday I was walking across the newly opened bridge that spans Meadow Street between Buttermilk Falls and Home Depot. A bridge that has been mysteriously closed to pedestrian traffic for years. To ease the weight of my purse as I walked, I took out the wallet and placed it on the floor of the car where I thought it would not be seen. Then I got out and locked the car. What a thrill it was to walk across this once useless bridge and watch the traffic below me! Also exciting to follow the trail to a hidden pond on the Home Depot site.

The exhilaration from the walk accompanied me all the way home and up the many stairs to my apartment. When I put my wallet away, however, I noticed how easy it was and knew I had forgotten to put the wallet back, which must still be on the floor of the car. But I was tired. I knew it was in a place no one would see. I also locked the car. The next morning I went down to the parking lot, took out my key, hit the “unlock” button and heard it click. I opened the car door and saw with terrifying clarity that the wallet was gone. My heart sank. How could that be? The car showed no signs of burglary. There were several dollar bills in the alcove where I kept my sunglasses. Why would a burglar take the wallet and leave the cash behind? Had he – she – been surprised by someone walking by? Why wasn’t the car door ajar? The glove box open? Why did my car look exactly as I left it, apart from the missing wallet?

With pity I trotted up the stairs to my apartment again. I called the police. I opened my computer, logged into my VISA account, locked it and ordered a new card. I called the bank and was told that no new withdrawals had been made. A friendly policeman came to my door and filled out a form to take to the DMV office so they could issue me a new driver’s license. At some point I had to apply for a new health insurance card, library card, vaccination certification card, Shoppers Club card, and other cards I couldn’t remember. I thought of the burglar. Was it just cash he was after? My meager forty dollars? Had he spent it on drugs? Had he tried using the VISA card, found the account blocked, and threw it away in disgust? Had he given the wallet with the silky cat cover to his girlfriend, who flipped through the contents and laughed to see that Patsy was 85 years old and had a card that said she had a pacemaker? Would I ever see my wallet again? Would I even want to?

How did the burglar get into my car? The question still stays in my head. I locked the car after my walk. I know I locked it. Or did I just think I knew I finished it? It’s a question I’ll never know the answer to.

(Editor’s note: We heard from Emily that she found her wallet! Phew!)


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