The Disappearing Wallet

This is the first post in what may become a series. I haven’t yet decided. I certainly don’t have a shortage of material to choose from as I have experienced many a strange thing throughout my life. Perhaps I’ll post some additional stories in the future.

I call this story The Disappearing Wallet. Actually it later reappeared but I’m getting ahead of myself.

This tale is set many years ago. I was about 17 years old at the time and lived at home with my parents and siblings in a small town outside of Winnipeg. One evening a fire broke out on the upper floor of our split level home. The damage was extensive. As a result we had to find temporary accommodations while the renovations were carried out. The family split up with my parents and 2 sisters staying at a motel while my brother and I each moved in with friends of ours. My brother relocated with friends in Winnipeg while I stayed with friends in town.

The people I stayed with were my high school buddy and his parents. It was Darren’s parents who made the offer which I graciously accepted.

Darren worked as a carpenter apprentice while his parents were self-employed. I was working in underground irrigation.

Both Darren and I were excited about the coming weekend for the fair was coming to Winnipeg. I finished work early that Friday evening and hurried to the bank to cash my cheque – it was payday.

I arrived at my temporary home and was alone. Darren wouldn’t be home for at least another hour and his parents were gone for the better part of the evening. I decided to clean up and get ready for our night out.

I normally have a shower after work but this time I decided to take a bath instead. This point is actually important to the story, which I’ll explain later.

The washroom is located at the end of the hall opposite the front entrance as shown in the image below. Keep in mind the image is not to scale but is a very close re-creation.

floor plan

In the corner of the washroom stood a laundry hamper. It was actually hidden behind the washroom door when the door was open.

I got out of my work clothes and tossed them in the hamper. My wallet, which I removed from my back pocket, was placed on top of the closed lid. As I enjoyed a bath rather than a shower I left the shower curtain open.

After I finished my bath I got dressed and went to the kitchen to put on some coffee while I waited for Darren to come home.

laundry hamperWhile sipping the coffee and reading the newspaper I remembered my wallet in the washroom. I went to retrieve it. When I entered the washroom my wallet was not on the lid of the hamper. The laundry hamper was very similar to the one depicted in the image to the left.

I assumed that perhaps I mistakenly thought I removed it from my back pocket and placed it on the closed lid. It must still be in my back pocket. I pulled my work pants out of the basket and searched the pockets. No wallet. I then thought it must have fallen out and was somewhere inside the hamper. I grabbed the hamper by both handles and turned it upside down shaking all of the contents onto the floor.

I sifted through the pile of clothes on the floor but couldn’t find the wallet.

By now I was in a panic. I reasoned that I must have lost my wallet after leaving the bank and mistakenly thought I had it with me at home. I could have sworn it was in my pocket. I could have sworn I removed it from my pocket and set it on the hamper lid. I guess not I mused to myself.

Obviously I was upset. Not only did I not have the money to go out that night but my entire 2 week paycheque was in that wallet.

I waited for Darren to get home. When he arrived I told him the story. I explained I couldn’t afford to go out. Luckily he offered to cover me and we were on our way.

When we returned home later that night Darren’s parents, Bud and Arlene, were sitting in the kitchen chatting over coffee as they did every evening. They asked how our night went. I replied that everything was great except for the fact that I lost my wallet, ID and 2 week paycheque. I pointed out I was fortunate in that Darren gave me some money for the night.

“Just a minute” Bud said to me as he left the kitchen. He returned a few seconds later and held up his hand asking “Is this the wallet?”

“Yes” I blurted out! “Where did you find it?” He replied, “It was on top of the laundry hamper in the washroom.”

I was flabbergasted. Of course that is exactly where I left it but it wasn’t there when I returned to the washroom to retrieve it. I even turned that hamper upside down shaking the contents out onto the floor! I put everything back in the hamper and closed the lid. That wallet was not there.

I was home alone at the time I had my bath. Of course it’s possible that someone, perhaps Darren, came home early and decided to play a practical joke on me but I quickly discounted that theory. Remember earlier when I said that while I normally have a shower this time I had a bath and that this distinction was important to my story?

Had I taken a shower it would be entirely possible for someone to sneak in to the washroom. The closed shower curtain would have prevented them from being seen while the running water would have covered any sound they made. But I had a bath. The shower curtain was wide open and there was no running water. Not only would I have heard someone enter the washroom I would have seen them.

What happened is physically impossible. It cannot happen. But happened it did.

That was 30 years ago and while we laugh about it now I still have no explanation for it to this day.


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