Fate and eBay combine to recover a lost high school yearbook

TAMPA - After going missing for 18 years, a high school yearbook ended up back in the hands of its original owner, thanks to the awareness of a friend and the honor of a stranger.

In 1976, Rex Colby was a freshman at Kubasaki High School in Okinawa, Japan. He was a typical high school student with homework, hobbies, and a yearbook. His hobby turned into his career, and his yearbook traveled with him as he progressed through life.

He travelled to Reno, Nevada for his first stateside job, and stayed for more than ten years, when an opportunity opened in Tampa.

He took the job here at ABC Action News, and packed up his life for the move to Tampa.  But the yearbook never made the trip.

Somewhere between Nevada and Florida, the yearbook was lost or stolen.  

As we all know, it is impossible to replace a yearbook, mainly because of the signatures and personal doodles that are etched onto them.  

This one was especially difficult to find because it was from an overseas high school.
Imagine his surprise when he received a call from his sister's best friend, telling him to check eBay for the yearbook.  He did, and there it was.

Not just the 1976 Kubasaki High School yearbook, but HIS 1976 Kubasaki High School yearbook.
The eBay description told him everything:  "... this was not my yearbook. It was owned by someone named Rex Colby."

Rex contacted the seller, and was able to piece together some of the book's last 18 years.

The seller had also attended Kubasaki High in the mid-70s, and had received the yearbook years ago as a present from his parents.  They had purchased the book online.
When the seller realized he was speaking with the original owner of the book he stopped the auction, and sent the book to Rex. He even paid for the shipping.
The yearbook has had a well-traveled life.

It was lost for a while but the book found its way home.

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