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A Lost Wallet Returns From Antarctica, 53 Years Later

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In 1967, Paul Grisham lost his wallet in Antarctica.

PAUL GRISHAM: I was Navy. It was what we called Operation Deep Freeze. I was a meteorologist.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Grisham doesn't remember losing his wallet 53 years ago, but the 91-year-old recognized the worn, brown billfold when it recently showed up in the mail at his home in San Diego.

GRISHAM: It just blew my mind that - truly a bolt out of the blue.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Workers tearing down a building at the McMurdo science station found it behind the lockers where Grisham had lived during his 13-month stint there.

GRISHAM: Somebody retrieved it and said, oh, we'll try to find out if Paul Grisham's still alive and if he wants it. So a lot of roundabout going on - but within a week from the time I heard about it, I had it in hand.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what did he find inside? - his military ID, a pocket reference guide in case of an atomic attack and receipts for his poker winnings. Paul Grisham says, besides work, there wasn't a lot to do at the station, especially during the winter. Temperatures can reach 50 below zero.

GRISHAM: They locked us in because there were no flights or ships or anything like that in or out because of the severity of the winters.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: The long days lent themselves to making cocktails. Inside his wallet was a recipe for Kahlua.

GRISHAM: Yeah, I'd forgotten that. I'm pretty sure I got it from somebody down there - this homemade Kahlua thing.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Paul Grisham has kindly shared the recipe from the Antarctic with us. You can find it on our Twitter feed and Facebook page, something that kept him warm and maybe will for you, too, on a cold winter's night. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.