When Ed Grigor, a resident of upstate New York, finished high school in the late Fifties, his aunt gifted him a gold, 23-jewel wristwatch with his name engraved on it. But soon afterwards, during a stint with the US Navy, he left the timepiece by a sink in his barracks – and when he returned, it had gone missing.
Now, it has turned up after someone left a message on Mr Grigor's phone claiming to have found the long-lost gift.
His wife returned the call, only to be greeted by a Pat Herrick, who asked whether Mr Grigor had ever served in the Navy, and whether he had ever pawned a gold watch in Virginia. He hadn't – but the thief, it seems, had done just that, and then forgotten about the watch.
Ms Herrick's mother owned a guest house and soda shop in Virginia Beach that was a favourite haunt of Navy servicemen stationed nearby. When the sailors ran short of funds, she often held on to some collateral until they could settle their bills. The missing timepiece was among the unclaimed items left behind when Ms Herrick's mother passed away.
The Press & Sun-Bulletin of Binghamton said Ms Herrick and her partner, Mark, found Mr Grigor after matching the named on the wristwatch with a property record in Endicott, his village in upstate New York.
Soon after the call last month, Mr Grigor received a parcel containing the timepiece.