Last week in New York City, the wallet I’ve had for about 12 years started to fall apart.

It’s been looking shabby for a long while. Parts of it have been on the verge of letting go for a couple years.

Once the first part of the bill-fold started separating the whole thing went to seed within days.

The first wallet I ever had I made myself from a do-it-yourself leather kit. I must have made it when I was 12 or 13. It lasted until I was 15.

That first wallet didn’t wear out. It was lost at sea when, on a trip from Lakeside, OH to Kelly’s Island, a mile or so off the coast of Lake Erie. I was sailing with a friend in a sunfish sailboat. The boat capsized. When we got the boat righted and were back aboard, my wallet was gone to the bottom of the lake. With it my moped operator’s license. There might have been $6 in it, too.

When I turned 16 and applied for my learner’s permit, I had to explain to the guy at the DMV that my previous license was lost. No, I was certain nobody had stolen it. Yes, it was definitely lost. No, nobody else would have picked it up because it was at the bottom of a very deep lake.

My second wallet, bought at the age of 15, lasted me through the rest of high school, college and grad school. About 9 years. My third wallet went with me through another 8 years before it started falling apart.

Between that one and the present one, I went through two that were completely unsatisfactory. They don’t really count. They were trendy cloth things that people had given me over the years for Christmas and the like, and I’d kept them for the time I’d need them. Trendy, but anti-utilitarian.

I bought wallet #4, the one that fell apart last week, at the men’s department of JC Penney in Syracuse, NY. Now that JC Penney is gone, I have no idea where I’ll get my next one.

I only have one criteria. It has to last forever, or at least a decade. Leather preferred.