Monday, May 19, 2014

For all photos, click to enlarge

I've written several times now about lost class rings being found. But the ring shown above is different — it's been found twice, in two different contexts. And it doesn't seem to want to go home.

The story begins with an email I recently received from reader Frank Bitzer, as follows:

I recently rummaged through my now-deceased mom's old cedar chest, where she kept a lifetime's worth of keepsakes. I came across something odd: a 1975 class ring. My mom had it in a plastic baggie with a note saying she found it in the emergency lane on Interstate 271 east of Cleveland in September of 1984. (She was moving my kid brother to college; they made an emergency stop.) Mom died in 2005 and I just discovered the ring now.

My eyesight isn't good enough to make out the school's name on the ring. But if possible, I would like to see it returned to its rightful owner.

So the ring was first discovered by Frank's mother and then again, nearly 30 years later, by Frank himself. I told Frank I'd be happy to look into the situation, so he sent me the ring, along with his mother's note, which is shown above.

Frank wasn't kidding about the school's name on the ring being hard to read. The lettering is teeny-tiny and a bit weathered. I couldn't make it out with the naked eye, so I took a close-up photograph of it and then enlarged the photo, at which point the words "Indian Lake" became apparent:


School rings are often marked with owner's initials, but this one has something much better. The owner's name, Jeff Weeks, has been engraved on the inner shank:


Some quick Googling revealed that there's an Indian Lake High School in Lewistown, Ohio (about 170 miles from Cleveland), and that the school's class of 1975 included a Jeff Weeks. So I contacted the school, where a helpful staffer agreed to post something about the ring to school's alumni group on Facebook.

About two weeks later I received a call from a gentleman named Todd Weeks — Jeff Weeks's brother. He had seen the Facebook post and wanted to know more. I explained the situation and he said he'd pass my contact info along to Jeff.

About 10 days went by with no further developments, so I called Todd Weeks and told him I hadn't heard from Jeff. He sounded surprised, and then he gave me Jeff's number and encouraged me to contact him myself. I called the number, left a voicemail about the ring, and went out to run some errands.

When I came back, there was a message waiting for me. The voice sounded rather distracted: "Um, yeah, this is Jeff Weeks, just returning your call. [Pause.] Thank you." That was it — no mention of the ring, no curiosity about how I came to be in possession of it, no nothing.

That was five days ago. I've called Jeff twice more since then and have left messages, but no response. Maybe he doesn't want his ring back..? Could be — I can imagine all sorts of scenarios in which the ring might be a bad reminder of unpleasant times.

I'll post an update if I ever hear back from Jeff. For now, though, this story remains frustratingly unresolved.

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