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The Wallet
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Australian Bush Poetry
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Merv Webster
Merv Webster
The Storyteller
Fri Apr 04, 2008
Talk : Poetry
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I found the leather wallet in a street that was called Hope
and folded in a window was a well-worn envelope.
The date was nineteen forty four, as far as I could tell,
and legible, though only just, an address there as well.

The scented “Dear John” letter to one Michael did convey
that though she loved him dearly, Hannah then went on to say,
they could not see each other, as her mother made it clear,
the match was quite impossible, he was too cavalier.

The content rather touched me and I simply made a vow
to find the lass called Hannah, though I didn’t know just how,
but rang the telephone exchange and asked could they supply
a listing for the address and explained the reason why.

“We have a listing,” said the lass, “but cannot give it out.
I can contact the number though and tell them all about
your message and advise them and perhaps they’ll talk to you.
I’m sorry but at this point it is all that I can do.”

“That’s fine with me,” I answered her. I saw no other choice.
The waiting was nerve racking, then the operator’s voice
came back and said ,”Please go ahead, they will accept your call.”
“Good morning! Can I help you sir in any way at all?”

“I’d hoped to contact Hannah. Does the fam’ly still live there?
“I’m sorry, but young Hannah had to place her Mum in care.
We bought the house a long time back, some thirty years or so.
The Home knew Hannah’s whereabouts. I rang them, years ago.”

The nursing home advised me Hannah’s mum had passed away,
though mentioned they had heard first hand, and just the other day,
that Hannah now was in a Home, she’d had a nasty fall,
And did I wish the number so that I could make a call.

I thought … this task is futile and why bother to return
a letter sixty years of age, it’s hardly my concern.
But something urged me on and when I found they did concur
that Hannah did live there I asked if I could visit her.

“It’s10. p.m.,” the nurse advised, “she could be still awake.”
I reached the Home and walked as fast as my poor legs would take
me, to the third floor day room where I found a silver haired
old timer with a gentle smile and thought – I’m glad I cared.

I told her of the wallet that I found and then expressed
I’d hoped to find the owner or at least I’d do by best.
The contents that I found inside have led me here to you.
This envelope and letter are my one and only clue.

When Hannah saw the envelope she took a real deep breath
and whispered, “After all these years I thought I’d reach my death
and never hear of him again. This letter was the last
I saw of Michael Goldstein. How so many years have past.”

“He was my one and only love, but I was far too young.
Yes, cavalier and handsome was my Michael. Still, I clung
so tightly to those mem’ries. They have lasted all these years.
I never got to marry. Would you please excuse my tears.

Page 1 of 2

“Per chance you find my Michael; tell him that I love him still.”
I wiped the tears from both my eyes and promised, “Yes, I will.”
You wouldn’t credit it. I told the night watchman on guard,
how giving back some property could prove to be so hard.”

He looked down at the wallet and exclaimed, “Sir, I would swear
that’s Mr Goldstein’s property . I’d know it anywhere.”
Red lacing ‘round the edge. Yes, that’s a sure dead giveaway.
He’s always losing it. I found it just the other day.”

“A Michael Goldstein. You are saying he lives here as well?”
“Why yes, a gentle old man, and as far as I can tell
you’ll find him in the day room on the eighth floor. Loves to read
and stays up late. I bet he’ll be there.” That he guaranteed.

There, in the only room that had a light still burning sat
an old man reading. “Mr Goldstein is there a chance that
you may have lost your wallet,” asked the Nurse. He put his hand
down to his pocket and expressed, “I don’t understand.

It was there.” “Don’t you worry. This kind gentleman has found
it and he wishes to return it.” Michael turned around
to face me with his gentle smile suggesting I should be
rewarded. “Thank you. Finding you though is enough for me.

I have to tell you though; I read the letter that’s inside
your wallet Sir to find you.” Michael did not try to hide
his hurt. “Not only did I read it, but I found your Hannah too.”
“You know where Hannah is? How is she? Tell me this is true!

I loved that girl so very much and when the letter came
my life seemed all but ended and then nothing seemed the same.
I never married. Hannah was my life, my only love.”
“Then finding your lost wallet sir was sanctioned from above.

I took old Michael to where Hannah sat watching a show
and not to startle her the nurse gently asked, ““Do you know
this man?” Poor Hannah fixed her glasses but she did not say
a word. Then Michael whispered to us “Please Sirs, if I may.”

It’s Michael Hannah. Do you remember me Hannah dear?
She gasped. “My Michael? Tell me, is that really you I hear.
He walked towards her and they both embraced. The nurse and I
then left, both unashamed that neither of us could support a dry eye.

A phone call three weeks later asked if I could break away
on Sunday to attend a wedding to be held that day.
A fairytale come true I thought and deep down in my heart
I’m chuffed I found that wallet and I played my little part.

The Wallet - Page 2 of 2

©Bush Poet - Merv Webster