Childhood Time Capsule Returned to Owner 67 Years Later

A 79-year-old man opens a letter and jar of boyhood trinkets he hid at age 12.

— -- Nearly seven decades ago, a 12-year-old crumpled up a type-written letter along with a few boyhood trinkets and stuffed them into a Mason jar which he hid away in the walls of the basement of his childhood home in Pueblo, Colorado. The jar would remain untouched and forgotten for 67 years before it was returned to the boy, now a 79-years-old man.

The letter says: “This house was constructed in 1929. Our name is Gilbert. There are four of us. My sister is Janice. My name is Billy Gilbert. I am 12 years old and Janice is fourteen. This is the year 1949.” Young Billy Gilbert went on to say that he had an Irish Setter, two kittens, and a bird, as well as a stamp collection.

Among the trinkets in the capsule was an 1892 stamp from his collection, an Indian head penny, and a black-and-white photograph of his family.

Billy Gilbert now lives in Sammamamish, Wash. After his sister passed away he is the only member left of the family in that photograph. Mark Knecht, a contractor remodeling Gilbert's childhood home, stumbled upon the time capsule, tracked him down, and delivered it to his house in person.

“It brought back a flood of memories,” Gilbert told ABC News, “I hadn’t even remembered writing the letter,” he admits, but he said looking at the tokens brought back “oh so many memories.”

“It was absolutely incredible, the man who found it was an amazing man, he could have thrown it away, but he spent a lot of time and effort trying to find me. Then I offered to pay for him to send it to me and he said he would bring it in person,” Gilbert exclaimed, “It was an amazing day.”

Knecht modestly plays down the praise and explains it took him about ten minutes to find Gilbert through the internet. The contractor was planning a trip up to the Seattle area anyway with his daughter.

The finding was just as special to Knecht, who told ABC News “It was the coolest thing I’ve ever found. I’ve torn a lot of houses apart but I’ve never found anything like this.”

“I knew immediately that I had to find this guy,” Knecht said.