Last Saturday I found a beautiful sterling silver class ring. It was a 1953 ring from Lacy Junior High School in rural Christian County, Kentucky. The school is now just an elementary school, but in the 1950’s is was a “full service” school for the families of Lacy. Kids started school in the first grade and twelve years later graduated from the same building. How amazing is that? So I had in my possession a boy’s 8th grade “graduation” ring. Since the year was 1953, he was most likely born in 1939 and graduated in 1957. But the biggest piece of information was found on the inside of the ring … the initials “E-W-G.”
So I immediately set out on a mission to try and locate the owner.
I just happen to know a teacher who works at the Lacy Elementary School today. She’s an old friend named Debbie. I called her and she put me in touch with a woman who graduated from the school in the 50’s. When I called her, she immediately responded, “Oh, that’s probably Ed Grace.” Seriously … it was a shotgun reaction. Not even a single second transpired after I finished my question. She knew who the ring belonged to. Unfortunately, she also knew that Mr. Grace had passed away several years ago. But she joined me in my quest. So she promised me she would do a little more checking and try to get me a contact number. That was Sunday, the day after I found the ring.
Then on Monday I received another hone call. This time, Debbie (my teacher friend) was calling me back. After we talked the first time she really got caught up in the quest to find the owner of the ring. Then, apparently, she and some co-workers at the school spent a good part of the day looking for old yearbooks and making contacts. They, too, came up with the same name … Ed Grace. But this time we knew that his first name was actually Edgar. And though there was no 1953 yearbook available, there was a 1952 edition that did not perish in one of the fires that destroyed the original building many years ago. Debbie snapped a photo with her iPhone and sent it to me. Here it is …
Ed’s picture in the 1952 school yearbook.
But Debbie had more … the name and number of a sister who still lived nearby. They had already contacted her earlier in the day to find some information, so she was expecting my call. So, immediately after hanging up the phone I called Miss Helen, Ed’s older sister. I introduced myself and told her the story of finding the ring, then I asked her what her brother’s middle name was. She replied, “Wayne.” And so the mission was accomplished … in only 48 hours! I have since affectionately dubbed all of the ladies who helped me my “Official Research Team.” 🙂
Miss Helen and I had a delightful conversation. She told me how her brother had died in 1990, at the very young age of 51, of a sudden heart attack. He was a manager in a high-pressure environment in a well-known department store / retail chain, and that apparently took a great toll on him. He traveled widely in his work. She had no immediate recollection of the ring, or him losing it, but stated that she would be thrilled to have it and would see if any of his adult children would be interested in having it some day.
So we made arrangements to exchange the ring. I discovered that she was still working at the age of 75, so I made an appointment to visit Miss Helen this morning at her workplace. She was all smiles when I walked in the door and introduced myself. And that smile got even bigger when I handed her the ring.
She actually couldn’t quit looking at it …
But we did manage to get her to pose so her co-worker could snap a picture of us with my phone …
Kentucky Shooter and Miss Helen
What an awesome day, and what an awesome turn of events. I never imagined that I would have a ring this old and in the ground that long (at least 55 years) back in the hands of the original owner or a close family member in such a short amount of time. I figured that it would take weeks.
Plus … out of the search, I have scored at least one more good place to detect.
It just goes to show you what doing the right thing can do!
Thanks for reading, and Happy Hunting!