Finder didn’t want to be memento’s keeper | NevadaAppeal.com

Finder didn’t want to be memento’s keeper

Charles Sizemore
Nevada Appeal News Service

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – A bracelet found in Lake Tahoe after 53 years turned two city of South Lake Tahoe employees into amateur sleuths – and led them to a professor at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

George Miskovsky, seasonal building inspector for the city of South Lake Tahoe, spends much of his free time at area beaches searching for buried treasures with his metal detectors.

“I’ve worked it out, and I make about $1 per hour,” Miskovsky said. He always checks the lost and found sections of area papers looking for people who have lost the items he’s found.

In early June, Miskovsky was at Nevada Beach, outfitted in his waders in order to use his detector that works in the water. About 10 feet from the shore, in about 3 feet of water, he picked up a signal. Using his scoop, he retrieved a bracelet from the sand.

“It was pretty crusty,” Miskovsky said. “I guessed it had been in the water for 20 years.”

Miskovsky cleaned the bracelet, a silver ID bracelet with the name “Mike LeBow” on the front, and “Mom, Dad, Julie, Esty” etched in the back.

Miskovsky entered an Internet search for “Mike LeBow,” resulting in thousands of hits. Then Miskovsky added the two names on the back of the bracelet, “Julie” and “Esty,” to the search, and found a book written by a Michael LeBow, Ph.D. LeBow had dedicated the book to his two sisters, Julie and Esty.

Bill Potts, a building inspector for South Lake Tahoe, overheard Miskovsky talking about the case at work, and offered to help. Potts and Miskovsky found quite a few articles and books written by LeBow; then one day while taking lunch at home, Potts noticed that many of the articles referenced research done at the University of Manitoba. Potts went to the University of Manitoba Web site, and there it was: Michael LeBow, Ph.D., professor of clinical psychology.

Miskovsky called the number, but had to leave a message. The next day, Miskovsky received a call from LeBow. After speaking with LeBow for about five minutes, he approached Potts with a smile on his face.

“You’re not going to believe this,” Miskovsky said. “He’s 66 years old, he lost the bracelet swimming in Lake Tahoe while on vacation … 53 years ago!”

As LeBow remembers, his mother, Mildred, gave the bracelet to his father, Bill, before Bill was shipped off to fight in World War II as a naval corpsman. LeBow remembers admiring the bracelet as a boy. When he was 12, his father gave him the bracelet. LeBow replaced his father’s name with his own, and included the words, “Mom, Dad, Esty and Julie.”

It was one year later, In 1954, when LeBow and his sister, Julie, were invited on a camping trip to Lake Tahoe by their uncle Leonard and aunt Helen. On that trip, while swimming in Lake Tahoe, LeBow lost the bracelet.

“If I could’ve drained the lake to find it, I would’ve. I was heartsick,” LeBow said in an e-mail.

Once LeBow was able to speak with Miskovsky, he realized that what Miskovsky had found was the bracelet his father had given him, and that he had lost 53 years before.

Arrangements were made to ship the bracelet to LeBow in Winnipeg, and he received the bracelet on Aug. 24.

“It’s in much better condition than I thought it would be,” LeBow said. “It’s beautiful, really nice to have it,” LeBow said. He plans to pass the bracelet on to one of his kids or grandchildren, and LeBow has decided to dedicate his next book to Miskovsky.