By Kelsey Watts
VANCOUVER, WA (KPTV) -
It's a story even Sheldon Wagner and Janet Smith can't believe.
Their two families were brought together over a 60-year-old diploma that Wagner just found Tuesday, in an old box that had been tucked away for decades in the Vancouver home of a family member who recently passed away.
They don't know how it got there, but when Wagner turned to Fox 12 for help in finding its owner, he got it.
“Most people would have probably thrown it away, there's no telling where it would have gone,” Smith said.
As luck would have it, Smith's long-time friend Willie Sanders was watching our newscast Wednesday and saw our story about Sheldon Wagner's discovery.
He immediately recognized a photo of Smith's late mother, Emily Marie Smith – the woman the diploma belongs to.
“He said, ‘Where did your mom graduate ?' I said, ‘Grant High School, 1955,' and he said, ‘It's her,'" Smith said.
That connection led them both to Sheldon Wagner, and to the box he discovered filled with their old memories.
“God all these, wow,” Smith said, looking through them all. “This is my grandmother's house, this is the house right here I was raised in.”
Janet's mother, Emily, passed away 10 years ago. She grew up in NE Portland with her husband and two children, and later moved to Vancouver . She would go on to have 6 grand kids and 10 great-grandchildren.
Some of them got to meet her in person, others will now have the chance through old photos discovered by a man who is no longer a stranger.
“I'm glad I could help you with this,” Wagner told them as they met for the first time Thursday.
“I'm glad we were watching the news,” Smith responded.
KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation.