Many years ago my paternal grandmother asked a favor of me. I never really followed through, and since I recently stumbled across the item she asked me about, I figured it was time to complete her request.
Besides, there might be someone out there who would really like to reconnect with a piece of long-lost jewelry.
Sometime around the late 1970s my late grandparents, Delbert and Emma Mae Gilliland, who happened to live to be 97 and 99, respectively, moved into a small new modular home on Johnson Street in Hillsboro. It was the first home they ever owned. Some years later they had some work done on the roof of the home.
Some of the details are fuzzy from there, but sometime after that they found a class ring on the roof. My grandmother’s assumption, since they did not know of anyone being on the roof since the repairs had been made, was that someone who did the work on the roof lost the ring.
How much time passed between then and the day my grandmother approached me I am not sure. But since the ring’s original owner obviously lived in Washington C.H., and my grandmother knew that I worked for a newspaper in Hillsboro — which happens to have a sister paper in Washington C.H. — she gave me the ring and asked if I would help her return it to its rightful owner.
I said I would, especially since she never asked much of me except that I consider attending church services. She was a wise woman; wise enough not to ask me to make a promise I might not keep, only that I consider it.
I gathered all the information I could about the how the ring had been found, took the ring to work, and a couple days later called the woman who was then the editor of the Record Herald in Washington C.H. I had previously worked with her at the former Greenfield Daily Times, and figured the story of the ring would make a good human interest piece. And it would have. It also might have made someone’s day.
But for some reason that baffles me to this day, she said that it sounded more like a paid advertisement than a story, and that she was not interested. (For the record, I am certain current Record Herald Editor Ryan Carter would have a different response).
Unhappy, I tossed the ring in an old tin bulk film canister, threw the canister in a desk drawer, and figured I would do something with it another time.
That was many years ago.
The other day, as I have a few times over the years, I was fumbling through the old canister when I noticed the ring again. And I figured it was long overdue for another time to arrive.
So… It is a silver, maybe white gold, woman’s ring with a blue stone. Around the stone are the words Washington Senior High. One side of the ring says Class of ‘83 and has a small coat of arms below that. The other side says Lori and has a lion head beneath that. Engraved inside the ring are the initials L.J.S.
If my grandparents told someone they would do something, you could have bet your life it would be done. They were as honest and trustworthy as people come.
So, in their honor, it would be my honor to return the ring to its rightful honor, or at least her family.
Give me a call if you know anything about it. The only thing I would ask is that you talk with me about the ring. Because it would be a good story, and not a paid ad.
Jeff Gilliland is the editor of The Times-Gazette. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 937-402-2522.