Harry Krame, of Fair Lawn, said he recently discovered “The Family Book Of Verse” by Lewis Gannet while cleaning the basement of his home.
“When he asked my name I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program,” Krame, 65, told WCBS-TV. “I took it out to read and never brought it back.”
Krame checked out the novel when he was 13 years old in 1966. When he realized he still had the book all these years later, he said he felt guilty for "a few seconds. ... It was like, I still have (it), sorry about that."
Dominick Tarquinio, the vice principal of Memorial Middle School, told the news outlet he was shocked when a former student returned his late book. He said that at today's rate, Krame would owe around $2,000 in late fees.
However, he said: "We’re not looking to collect."
The school's librarian told the North Jersey Record that the book was so old, it didn't have a barcode and so they couldn't even scan it into their system.
“We were very surprised to receive this book, needless to say,” Susan Murray said.
“I sometimes have to chase students to get their books, so this was wonderful to have someone who did this,” the librarian said. “He could have just placed it in a recycling bin, but he choose (sic) to return it, which was really kind.”
Murray said she plans to put the book on display to teach kids about the importance of returning their library books.