Julie Anne Lisi and her husband Mike made visits to their local Goodwill Super Store in Jupiter, Florida, every Wednesday. Yet one particular trip to the store in August 2018 would leave Julie Anne weak with shock. Why? Well, she would discover something rather familiar on the racks…
Starting from 1989, Julie Anne and Mike have spent six months per year at their home in Tequesta in Palm Beach County, Florida. The rest of the time, though, they live in Ohio – in excess of 1,000 miles from their property in the Sunshine State.
Long before this, however, the Lisis were permanently based in Ohio. And on one day, in 1978, the couple were watching their 12-year-old son, Christopher, play baseball in Willoughby. It was Christopher’s final game of the season, and the plucky pre-teen chalked up a pair of home runs.
“At the end of the game, they presented trophies and had a big hullabaloo,” Julie Anne would recall to The Palm Beach Post in September 2018. In the midst of all that excitement, though, Christopher lost his glove; his mother later suspected that he may have put it down while still at the ballpark.
So, the next morning, Christopher cycled back to the baseball field to search for the glove – but, sadly, it was to no avail. Even now, 40 years later, a grown-up Christopher can recall his heartbreak. He told The Palm Beach Post, “I remember being really upset.”
And in August 2018, the one-time home-run hitter was working as a teacher; he also served as the coach to children’s basketball, bowling and football teams in Ohio. Meanwhile, over a thousand miles away in Florida, his parents were partaking in their usual Wednesday ritual: shopping at Goodwill prior to making their way to church.
In fact, the couple had developed some habits in their tackling of the store. Mike would make his way to housewares in search of coffee cups from Starbucks, for example. By contrast, Julie Anne would browse the shop’s toy selection. There, she would pick out items suitable to pass on during mission trips.
However, on August 29, 2018, that routine was shattered, as Julie Anne’s toy search resulted in an altogether different find. Casting an eye up and down the racks and visually sifting through the sports gear on display, she eventually focused on something on the bottom shelf.
And that particular item caused somewhat of a visceral reaction in Julie Anne. “My knees got wobbly, and I got weak and scared,” she recalled to WPTV in August 2018. Meanwhile, her husband told The Palm Beach Post that when he had come to find his wife, “she had a terrible look on her face.”
But as Julie Anne showed her husband what she had, he quickly understood why she had reacted in that manner. Somehow, their son Christopher’s baseball mitt – lost all those decades ago, over 1,000 miles away – had ended up on this store’s shelf.
There was no doubt that the glove belonged to their son, either. “I just walked in, and there sitting on the edge of a shelf… was this mitt. [It was] sitting so that I could see the name ‘Christopher Lisi’ on it,” Julie Anne would recall of the moment to WPTV.
And not only did Julie Anne recognize her son’s handwriting on the outside of the mitt, but she also found some of her own penmanship on the inside. With that, she texted a photo of her find to Christopher, who immediately urged his mother to purchase it.
Meanwhile, Sue Rounds was working the shift in the Goodwill store that day, and she couldn’t help but notice Julie Anne’s shock. When Rounds enquired as to what was wrong, however, Julie Anne excitedly replied by saying, “The glove!”
What’s more, Rounds told The Palm Beach Post that she had never witnessed anything similar to the Lisis’ experience in her seven years of employment with Goodwill. The cashier added that she was “thrilled to death that [the find] happened.”
Then, naturally, the Lisis bought their son’s glove – for the bargain price of $1.49. Yet once the excitement of the day had worn off, one question lingered: just how did the mitt make its way from Ohio to Florida, 40 years after it had gone missing?
Well, Julie Anne told WPTV that she had indeed brought some of her family’s unwanted items to Goodwill in the past. Yet she could only recall giving old books to the charity store – and only in Ohio locations, close to the Lisi family home.
And Rounds couldn’t reveal how the glove had come to the Jupiter, Florida, branch, either. “There’s so much that comes in so many bags, boxes [and] totes. There’s no way of tracking it, either,” she explained to The Palm Beach Post.
A representative for Goodwill later confirmed to WPTV that the company doesn’t record its donations or where they end up. The employee did, however, mention that Goodwill does shift items from one location to another if they linger on the shelves for too long.
So while there’s still some mystery surrounding the glove’s journey, Julie Anne hopes one day to uncover how the mitt had ended up so far from where Christopher had initially lost it. And, regardless, the mom recognizes how special her find was. “To me, it’s a miracle,” she revealed to WPTV.
As for the glove’s original owner? Well, Christopher has speculated that the mitt could be passed on to future generations of the family as an heirloom. In the meantime, though, he may just break the glove back in by throwing balls with his wife in the backyard.