KEYC - Box Returns to Rightful Owner After 61 Years

Box Returns to Rightful Owner After 61 Years

Posted: Updated:
WALDORF, Minn. -

What are the chances of a shipping box and its contents being reunited after being separated for decades? Well, that's exactly what happened for a glass clock and wooden box that was shipped from Japan with known stops in Mankato, Wells and Waldorf.

That's where our story begins.

"I wanted to send something to my dad."

In 1956 Alvin Groskreutz from Wells was in the U.S. Army, stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  While stationed he bought a glass clock, packed it in a wooden box and shipped it back home to Wells for his father, Louis.

"I wanted to send him that clock."

Packed in a standard shipping crate and labeled fragile, this glass clock made its way from Okinawa to Wells.

"It's really interesting."

Interesting, because over 61 years, the clock remained with the family, but the crate's fate is another story.

"It's a mystery; we wish the box could talk."

And like most mysteries, the box appeared in an unlikely place.

"I didn't look that close at the return address."

Melissa Amdahl remembers seeing the box with papers in it when she and her family opened Ummies Restaurant in downtown Mankato in 2014.  Yes, the box was at a restaurant in Mankato.

"We placed it originally in the window and then used it as décor by the bathrooms."

Melissa and the Ummies staff had no idea where the box came from or what it was used for, it just came with the space they now used for their business.

"The only thing I could think of is that it had a tag on it so maybe someone purchased it from a sale?"

But whatever the case, it remained at Ummies.  That was until a chance encounter over the summer.

"Somebody recognized the name and here we are today."

That was a family member of Alvin Groskreutz.

"How it kept itself together all this time is quite something."

For those keeping track at home, the box started in Okinawa, was sent to Wells, only to find its way to Mankato.

"It's really interesting."

Alvin's relative Jeff, purchased the box from Ummies and returned it to its first owner, at the exact same location that the gift was presented in...61 years later.

"I really do think there's a reason the box came back."

"I think it's kinda special to be a part of it."

The box as come full circle, with the beginning and the end.  With the rest, left up to the imagination.

--KEYC NEWS 12