LOYALSOCK TOWNSHIP -- A keepsake lost nearly 25 years ago in Lycoming County is now back with its 103-year-old owner. It took a house fire to make that happen.
The pin has been the catalyst for a new friendship and an opportunity for two families to help one another in a trying time.
"Oh, I thought she looked very young, not 103 years old," said Evelyn Fitzsimmons.
Evelyn Fitzsimmons and Kathryn Burrows raised families in the Williamsport area, but only recently did their lives cross paths. It's all because of a small safety pin with four silver baby booties attached.
"It's her grandchildren's names and birthdates on the bottom of each one of the booties," said Kathryn Burrow's daughter.
"Oh, yeah, as soon as I saw it, I knew what it was,” said Kathryn Burrows.
Kathryn who is now 103 lost the pin more than 20 years ago. For over 20 years, Evelyn Fitzsimons has kept this small keepsake safe in her home in South Williamsport.
"Long time ago. I probably found it in the parking lot on the floor I don't exactly remember," said Evelyn Fitzsimmons.
The plan was always to return it to its owner. There were a few failed attempts. Eventually, the pin was tucked away until about a month ago.
"I noticed the pin that was laying there and I pulled it up thinking, 'alright, she has four kids,' thought it was hers," said Stacey Fitzsimmons.
Last month, Evelyn lost most of her belongings when her house caught fire.
"It's been several rough months," said Stacey Fitzsimmons.
When Evelyn’s daughter in law Stacey Fitzsimmons found it she decided to take the search to social media. That's how she met Cindy Montgomery.
"I thought, 'oh, my, how could it be after all of these years?'" said Cindy Montgomery.
Cindy was in the midst of planning her mother's 103rd birthday when she heard about the pin. The families decided to return the pin to Kathryn at her party this past weekend.
"My dad had the same thing only his was made into a tie clasp and when he passed away we buried it with him so this will go with her too, said Montgomery.
As for Evelyn, meeting the owner of the pin has been its own journey. The end of one chapter and the beginning of a new friendship.
“It’s like a ray of sunshine,” Evelyn said. “Seeing the pictures and seeing her and stuff you know it takes you away from your own problems,"
The two families tell us they plan to keep in contact. Right now Evelyn, the woman who found the pin is working to repair her home.