FAIRLAWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – They say better late than never. A New Jersey man pushed that to the limit when he returned a library book 53 years late.

The year was 1966 – Vietnam War protests were raging, Lyndon Johnson was the president – and in Fairlawn a 13-year-old kid checked out “The Family Book Of Verse” by Lewis Gannet.

READ MORE: Police Searching For Driver After Man Seriously Hurt In Queens Hit-And-Run

That was 53 years ago – now 19,345 days overdue, reports CBS2’s Scott Rapoport.

“We never saw it again,” said Dominick Tarquinio, vice principal of Memorial Middle School, who was shocked when that mysterious student – now an adult – came in and said he had something to return.

After more than a half a century, the former student had brought the book back.

“When he asked my name I told him I can’t give it to him because I was in the witness protection program,” said 65-year-old Harry Krame of Fairlawn. “I took it out to read and never brought it back.”

READ MORE: NYPD: Mother Throws 4-Week-Old Daughter, 2-Year-Old Son Out Window Before Jumping Out Herself

Krame says he found the book recently while cleaning out his basement and started to feel guilty.

“It lasted a few seconds,” he said. “It was like, I still have (it), sorry about that.”

He says he knew at that moment he had to take it back, but had trepidation.

At 10 cents a day, that’s about $2,000 the school reckons. But not to worry.

“We’re not looking to collect,” said Tarquinio

MORE NEWS: Caught On Camera: Man Punches Woman In Face After Stealing Phone In Central Park

The copy of the “The Family Book Of Verse” was from 1961, when the cost of the book was $4.95.