It was 1965. U.S. president Lyndon Johnson spoke about the Great Society in his State of the Union address, the first American combat troops arrived in Vietnam, My Fair Lady
won eight Academy Awards, and 13-year-old Jeff Cokeley went for a walk in the woods, adjacent to his Washington County, Pennsylvania home.
While in the woods, the teen spotted a box turtle, a common species in the area. He picked it up and on impulse, turned it over and carved his initials and the year on the turtle's shell. He then let the turtle go.
The turtle had been seen a couple of times after that, but as the years passed, Jeff grew up and moved away. Last week, his 85-year-old father, Holland, who still lives on the property, noticed his neighbour's dog barking at something. He went to investigate and found the dog was barking at a turtle. Holland picked it up, turned it over, and saw the carving his son made 47 years before.
Holland was quoted by UPI
I picked it up and I thought 'Oh geez, this is Jeff's turtle.' It's been here for 47 years, and it still has the same markings on it.
Holland then called his son who now works as an engineer in Rochester, New York. The father was quoted in the Observer-Reporter
When I called him and told him, he said, 'Wow, I thought that turtle would be dead long ago.'
The elder Cokeley took pictures of the turtle and sent them to his son. Jeff was quoted in the Daily Mail
I pulled the pictures up on the computer. I just started laughing. I just had to show my wife.
Jeff told a newspaper that his father had eaten the turtle. After Holland was asked about that, he said his son was only kidding. Holland kept the turtle for a couple of days before releasing it back into the woods.
According to experts, box turtles in the wild can live up to 100 years.