Sunday, August 4, 2013

Samaritan Sunday (August 4, 2013)

[If you should choose to adopt this prompt to contribute your own stories of folks who have gone out of their way to lend genealogy-related assistance to others, I would greatly appreciate a mention to Filiopietism Prism whenever you do so.  Thank you!  And please do use the same photograph below to illustrate the prompt.  ;-) ]

Like wedding bands and engagement rings, class rings often become family heirlooms that get passed down from generation to generation.  Of course that is difficult to do if the ring is lost.  

My high school class ring will never become a family heirloom because it was lost within weeks of when I got it.  It ended up somewhere in the beach sand at Shipbottom, Long Beach Island, New Jersey one June evening when some friends and I decided a moonlight swim was in order.  The ring went into my pants pocket and the pants, shirt, etc. were tossed in a pile on the sand.  After the swim . . . no ring despite hours of searching!

Vernon C. Collins lives in Russellville, Arkansas now and he probably thought he would also never have a high school class ring to hand down as a family heirloom.  Back in 1963, Vernon lived in New Jersey.  He graduated from Merchantville High School that year and after working for the summer at a YMCA camp in Medford, NJ, he went off to college in Arkansas.  Merchantville is only a few miles from where I graduated from high school and I ran cross country races against MHS not too many years after Vernon graduated.  I do not know if Vernon was a harrier, but he was a four-year swimmer in high school and he always suspected that he must have lost his Merchantville High School class ring when it slipped off while he was swimming some time.

On April 6th of this year -- just about 50 years after Vernon Collins graduated from Merchantville High School --  Dan Knight and his friend (Tucker) were metal detecting in the muddy bed of a drained lake in Medford, New Jersey.  It was a lake where a former YMCA summer camp had been located for years.  They found two class rings in that muddy lakebed.  Dan assumed responsibility for the Merchantville High School ring -- which had the initials "V.H.C." engraved inside.  Dan decided he was going to make every effort he could to find V.H.S. of the Merchantville High School Class of 1963, but there was one small problem -- Merchantville High School closed in 1972 and no longer existed!

How did Good Samaritan Dan Knight track down Vernon Collins in Arkansas 50 years later? What about the second class ring that Tucker recovered from the muddy lakebed? What happened to it?  To find out the answers to these questions and see a photo of Vernon's MHS class ring, go here
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N.B.  There are websites out there that can help locate lost rings and the owners of found rings.  The Washington Post ran an article on the founding of one such website, Class Ring Finder.  You can read the article here.  Another class ring website is Lost My Ring.  To date I have never seen or heard of my lost class ring, but who knows . . . after reading about Vernon's good luck and the Good Samaritan moment brought about by Dan Knight, my ring could surface any year now!  

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Photograph of the The Good Samaritan sculpture by Francois-Leon Sicard (1862 - 1934).  The sculpture is located in the Tuileries Gardens in Paris, France.  The photograph is by Marie-Lan Nguyen and has been placed in the public domain by her. See,
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Copyright 2013, John D. Tew
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1 comment:

  1. My Dad lost his high school ring in Lake Winnipesaukee, diving off the town dock at Alton Bay. Then he lost his BU college ring one day when we were all raking the front lawn. We searched for hours, but it was never recovered. At my husband's 30th MIT class reunion the class ring representative was doing a brisk business in replacement rings. We asked (just out of curiosity) what a new ring would cost. The price was more than six times what he paid originally. Do college kids even buy gold rings anymore? Wow!