BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Jim Seubert’s class ring from Bloomington High School North is attached to a key chain as he shimmies it up his index finger. Just short of the knuckle is as far as it will go.
“The salt water must have shrunk it,” he says, the ring’s oval gem facing up he tries to push it further along. The skin on his finger causes a log jam.
It’s not the same finger that was once sized for a senior in the Class of ‘84. This is 30 years after he lost it, playing Frisbee with his father as the tide was coming in on Daytona Beach.
Only a couple of months ago, 49-year-old Seubert, now a resident of Edwardsville, Illinois, got the ring back in the mail from an elderly woman in Vero Beach, who had been keeping it in her jewelry box for a quarter of a century, The Herald-Times reported (http://bit.ly/1qDcg58 ).
This weekend, Seubert and his family were in Bloomington for his 30th high school reunion. While meeting with old friends, he was also showing off the ring he never thought he’d get back.
“It’s so nice to know there are still people out there that have a good heart and are willing to take that extra step toward getting the ring reunited with the proper owner,” said Seubert, who went to TV news with the story and was featured in a broadcast by KDSK in St. Louis in June. “I’m just tired of reading of news and you hear about all the bad things going on. It’s just letting people know there are still people out there who will do the right thing.”
The story of the ring had become the butt of jokes for years after it was lost. Whenever anyone in the Seubert family lost anything after that family vacation in 1983, they would say, “Charlie the Tuna must have it ... along with the class ring.”
Apparently, the ring traveled 128 miles from Daytona Beach to Vero Beach before Marge Viswat found it and tucked it away in her jewelry box, hoping one day she could find the owner. Seubert’s name was engraved on the inside, with a cougar on one side and a basketball player on the other. He had been a manager for the varsity team.
Viswat, now in her 80s, was recently cleaning out some of her things with her daughter when they thought about finding the owner again. The Internet offered them the means to do it. Despite all of the Bloomingtons in the U.S., the mascot on the ring helped the daughter narrow the state down to Indiana. She then found the Class of ‘84’s reunion page and tracked Seubert down.
The ring was sent back to Seubert in an envelope with a personal letter from Viswat: “It makes me happy to finally get this school ring back to the owner. Enjoy!”
The ring cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $150, which is the equivalent of about $358.28 nowadays, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ inflation calculator.
It was an “Oh crap” moment when it slipped off. Seubert’s father, John, had given him the ring as a Christmas gift, wrapping it with care. He had popped open an English walnut, sticking it in there, gluing the shell back together and mixing it in with a bag of other walnuts. The entire family spent about two hours on the beach. They knew where it fell, but they couldn’t find it.
“At this point, it’s gone. It’s gone,” Seubert remembers thinking. “I’ll never see it again.”
There was no chance Seubert was getting a replacement, unless he wanted to pay for it. In fact, Seubert ended up joining the Air Force and got a ring signifying his military branch. He just found that ring about six months ago in a drawer.
He’s keeping the class ring on a key chain, but that didn’t stop him from almost losing it for a second time a couple of weeks ago. He had stuffed his keys in the pockets of a jacket on a cooler-than-usual summer day and then put it away without thinking.
“I thought, ‘How did I lose it again?” Seubert said.
His family, sitting around a table at Bucceto’s in Bloomington, all agreed: He needs one of those wireless key finders.
Information from: The Herald Times, http://www.heraldtimesonline.com