A woman lost her purse in the 1950s at the Plaza Theater, Atlanta's oldest movie theater and cultural landmark. Now, 65 years later, he has been found. In a hidden space behind a collapsed wall in the bathroom, contractors discovered the antique model during renovations. The family couldn't believe their luck. “It's a gift.”
Under a pile of dust, in what was once a closet, the builders discovered a withered burgundy purse, frozen in time. A ticket to win a new 1959 Chevrolet, credit cards without a magnetic stripe, black and white family photos, insurance cards and a doctor's note. Everything was still in the wallet, which had been untouched for decades.
“A portal back in time,” as Plaza Theater owner Chris Escobar describes the discovery. CNN. He was determined to return the wallet full of history to the owner's family. It turned out that it was not so simple.
The owner of the wallet turned out to be Floy Culbreth. But in those days women were often called by their husbands' names, so a search for Culbreth's name turned up little. After some research, Escobar and his wife found an obituary for Flo's husband, Roy Culbreth. They eventually ended up with Thea Chamberlain, the Culbreths' daughter.
Now 71, Thea Chamberlain was six years old when her mother lost her purse. Chamberlain said the trinkets in the purse undoubtedly belonged to his mother. “It's very moving,” Chamberlain said. “The flood of memories came back and it brought her back.”
The entire Culbreath family came to collect the purse. “They had children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren with them,” Escobar said. “So there were generations of Culbreths to recover this lost family history.” He continues: “Really bringing back family history. It's a gift.”
Chamberlain watched his two grandchildren, ages seven and five, carefully look through receipts and photographs and asked their parents about their history. “They knew it was something to admire,” he said. “It's a special moment.”
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