Watercooler Stories – October 22, 2012 – UPI.com

Man gets stolen watch back after 53 years

BINGHAMTON, N.Y., Oct. 21 (UPI) — A New York man says strangers from Las Vegas returned a wristwatch stolen from him decades ago.

Ed Grigor’s received his wristwatch as a high school graduation gift from his aunt in 1958, the Press and Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, N.Y., reported.

The gold 23-jewel watch, which was engraved with his name and the date, was stolen when Grigor was serving in the Navy.

Then, 53 years after his watch disappeared, Grigor received a phone call last month from “Mark from Las Vegas.”

Mark said he had a watch with Grigor’s name on it.

“I get calls like this all the time,” Grigor said. “And coming from Vegas, it must be hoax.”

Grigor’s wife Rose, however, returned the phone call and a woman named Pat Herrick answered. She asked if Grigor had been in the Navy, and if he had pawned a wristwatch in Virginia Beach, Va.

After Rose handed him the phone, Grigor asked Herrick to describe it.

When Herrick told him it’s a Boliva with his name and “6/12/58” engraved on the back, Grigor said he almost dropped the phone.

It turned out Herrick’s mother owned a guest house and soda shop frequented by young Navy servicemen stationed in Virginia Beach. When they ran low on money, Herrick’s mother would hold collateral until they could pay their bills, but some never came back. When Herrik’s mother died, the watch was found a box unclaimed items from the guest house.

The Herriks did some searching on the Internet and found Grigor’s phone number.

About a week after the initial phone conversation, Grigor received a package from Herrick containing the watch.

“Taking the watch out of the package, I held it for the first time in over 53 years with tears of joy in my eyes,” Grigor said.

“It took special people to take the time and track down the real owner,” Grigor told the newspaper. “[Pat and Mark] went above and beyond the call of duty. Although the watch is not very valuable, I will treasure it for the rest of my life. It will be left to my grandson after I’m gone, and he will know its story.”

Pa. man gets support for Halloween display

EVESHAM, Pa., Oct. 21 (UPI) — A Pennsylvania man’s Halloween display was saved by local supporters after police said the decorations in front of his home were distracting to drivers.

Dave Newman, 58, a postal worker who for about 20 years has turned the exterior of his family’s home in Evesham a spooky Halloween celebration, was told by police officers a few weeks ago that his yard was a distraction, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported Sunday.

The officer, Newman said, said authorities had received “numerous” complaints that his display distracted drivers.

“I couldn’t believe it,” Newman said.

The day after the officer’s visit, Newman put up signs announcing, “I’m done,” and that he was selling his decorations.

Much to his surprise, community members were not pleased to find out that he was taking down his display.

Newman’s daughter Ashley, 27, created a Facebook campaign to save her father’s display and a TV news report generated a surge of support.

Local businessman John Carroll even gave Newman $500 to go on with the show.

“I’ve been taking my kids past his house for 20 years,” said Carroll. “I couldn’t believe someone complained. I just wanted to help out and let him know he’s appreciated.”

In the end, Newman decided to keep his display up.

“It totally floored me,” Newman said. “It brings me to tears even now.”

Giants fan builds replica Giants Stadium

NEWARK, N.J., Oct. 21 (UPI) — A diehard New York Giants fan has created a scale replica of old Giants Stadium in his garage in New Jersey.

Don Martini, 75, began building the mini stadium in 2010 after the real Giants Stadium was decommissioned and demolished, The (Newark, NJ) Star-Ledger reported Sunday.

Martini worked on his model, which is 20 feet long and 17 feet wide, for about eight hours a day for the past two years. He said he had no plans, just a vision of what he was creating.

“Have you seen the movie Mozart’s Amadeus?” Martini said. “Well, in the movie, the emperor commissions him to write an opera. In the process of writing it, the emperor would say, ‘I want to see the first scene.’ Mozart told him, ‘I don’t have anything to show you. It’s all right here in my noodle.’ That’s the same way it was with this.”

The stadium, complete with lights, trains and working elevators, cost Martini about $20,000 to build.

Martini, who retired in his early 50s after inventing and patenting a universal assembly jig for cabinet making, has also created a small village in his back yard that includes a working, elevated train, a windmill, and nine waterfalls.

He converted his garage into a showroom for the stadium, although not many people have seen it.

Martini’s friends have encouraged him to charge people a few dollars to visit the stadium, and his son has suggested he give it to the Giants, maybe in exchange for season tickets.

Even if the Giants agree to display it, Martini has mixed emotions about parting with his creation.

“Maybe,” he said, “I could build another one.”

Friends give away $20 bills in Boston-area

WAKEFIELD, Mass., Oct. 21 (UPI) — A pair of best friends from Wakefield, Mass., have taken to hiding $20 bills each day around the Boston-area with the hopes of brightening a stranger’s day.

Steven Grant and Richard Cook began hiding the bills over a year ago, the Boston Globe reported.

“Everybody could use 20 bucks,” Cook, a psychiatrist, said.

Over the last year, Cook and Grant have given away more than $7,000. They provide daily updates on their website, plentyof-twenties.com, and send out Twitter alerts to let their 2,100 followers know where the cash is hidden.

The person who finds the $20 then posts on the website that the cash is gone.

Private businesses have gotten in on the fun, accounting for up to half of the twenties being given away. In return, they get promotional rights on the website.

“People like to find or win money; it’s certainly a smart business model,” said Lisa Urbaczewski, who helps sponsor the site and Watercooler Stories – October 22, 2012 – UPI.com.

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