Colleen Distin figured her wallet was gone for good after she lost it at the Majestic Ventura Theater in 1975, but she got a blast from her past when a worker found it in a crawl space during renovation work on the iconic 1920s venue and returned it to her last week.
Tom Stevens was repairing a chandelier at the Majestic—now a live concert space that was shuttered for the pandemic more than a year ago—when he found the wallet among ancient ticket stubs, candy wrappers, and soda cans, and posted a notice about it on the theater’s Facebook page using the name on Distin’s California drivers license, which expired in 1976.
“Does anyone know Colleen Distin?” Stevens wrote. “There are a bunch of pictures of people, and they are super cool from that era also. Someone may want them. So if you are, or if you know Colleen, drop us a line and we will have it here for you!”
After about a thousand shares, Distin replied, “It’s me,” although she didn’t know what to expect from the unearthed relic.
“I have no idea what photos are in there, or which concert ticket since I did go to many back then,” she told the Ventura County Star.
The ticket turned out to be for a 1973 Grateful Dead show at U.C. Santa Barbara—for just $5—and Distin also found old poems along with photos of high school friends and her mother.
“Oh my God, my mother!” Distin said as she went through the billfold on KCAL-TV. “I’m shaking.”
She added that finding a picture of her mother “was really sweet because she passed away a couple years ago. Holy crap!”
Distin, who still lives in Ventura, recalls losing the wallet because it contained cash and a $200 check.
“I remember calling the next day when I realized it was gone,” she told the Star. “They said no one found it, but to call back, which I did. I had a little bit of money in it, but I needed it at the time.”
Still, Distin concluded, “There are good people out there. Money was stolen out of my wallet but there are pictures I haven’t seen. People need to see the gratitude. I think there’s so much other negative stuff that I think this is what touched people.”
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