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Posted at 8:03 AM ET, 02/22/2011

Story pick: Wallet found after 40 years

By Annys Shin

"Show, don't tell" is one of those journalistic commandments that is harder to live up to than it sounds. It is about finding the right detail, or scene, or piece of dialogue that will bring a story to life. And there are few things that writers like more than an inanimate object that can tell a story almost by itself. Admittedly, following the journey of a thing has become something of a gimmick, although, one that if done well, remains effective. Journalists have followed a dangerous bacteria from meat grinder to hamburger, letters to President Obama from inception to the president's desk, and a gun from its purchase to its use in a fatal shooting.

Sometimes, the stories they tell are simpler, yet still satisfying, such as this one about a New York City security guard, Rudolph Resta, who lost his wallet 40 years ago. After a bit of gumshoe work, the wallet is reunited with Resta. The Times's David Dunlap describes the wallet's rediscovery.

He found his two sons, now in their 40s, when they were small enough to fit into the same lawn chair, side by side. He found his wife, Angela, posing before a knife-sharp Pontiac Grand Prix in Prospect Park, looking very sultry in a jaguar stole; “real jaguar,” he said, “not the stuff they have today.” He found a picture of his father, Nicola, that he once worried he would never see again. He found a Social Security card issued by the Federal Security Agency (the office hasn’t existed since 1953) and an American Express card so old that it wasn’t green, it was purple and white. (Member Since 64.)

Enjoy the ride.

By Annys Shin  | February 22, 2011; 8:03 AM ET
Categories:  Story Picks  
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