updated 4/18/2006 5:41:10 PM ET 2006-04-18T21:41:10

Lance Nesta did what many people do when receiving a fruitcake — he set it aside, only to rediscover it more than 40 years later in his mother's attic. Nesta couldn't resist taking a peek at the cake, still in its original tin and wrapped in paper.

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"I was amazed that it hadn't changed at all," he said.

Nesta's two aunts sent him the fruitcake in November 1962 while he was stationed in Alaska with the Army.

"I opened it up and didn't know what to do with it," Nesta said. "I sure wasn't going to eat it, and I liked my fellow soldiers too much to share it with them."

As best he can remember, he packed the cake with the rest of his belongings and shipped it home to Waukesha when he left the military a few years later. He recently rediscovered the boxed fruitcake in the attic of his mother's home in Waukesha.

His mom had given him advance warning of the fruitcake back in 1962.

"She knew I hated the damn things, but she said she didn't have the heart to tell my aunts, who had already mailed it," he said.

The cake arrived wrapped in brown paper with a red "fragile, handle with care" sticker on it. The cake itself was contained in a round blue tin printed with the words "Old Fashioned Fruitcake."

"Now it's just old," Nesta said.

While looking at the cake's container this week, he noticed the listed ingredients included rum and brandy.

"If I had known back then that it had rum and brandy in it, I would have eaten it," he said.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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