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Woman’s class ring returned nearly 50 years after it went missing

  • Marilyn Vose shows off her 1969 Peterborough High School class ring that was recently returned to her after it went missing nearly 50 years ago Staff photo by Ben Conant—

  • Marilyn Vose shows off her 1969 Peterborough High School class ring that was recently returned to her after it went missing nearly 50 years ago. Staff photo by Ben Conant

  • Marilyn Vose shows off her 1969 Peterborough High School class ring that was recently returned to her after it went missing nearly 50 years ago. Staff photo by Ben Conant—



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Marilyn Vose was attending Peterborough High School (now ConVal High School) when she bought a 1969 class ring.

The ring arrived all those years ago — gold with a smooth dark green stone embedded into it and her initials “MJV” carved on the inside.

“I remember getting that ring,” Vose said during a recent interview with the Ledger-Transcript.

She said not long it arrived, she and her then-boyfriend switched rings (as was the custom in those days). He wore hers on his little finger, and she wore his ring on a chain.

As Vose remembers it, the two went swimming one day in Jaffrey and the ring slipped off her boyfriend’s hand, never to be seen again. 

“I always knew that losing it was a possibility, so I wasn’t that upset,” Vose said about misplacing the ring, although she remembers paying upwards of $240 for it, which was a lot of money to shell over at that point in her life.

And that was the story of Vose’s short-lived class ring for about five decades.

That was until recently when a local woman was metal detecting around the front steps of Vose’s childhood home in Peterborough. Vose said the woman uncovered the ring, located the initials on the inside of the circle, and started flipping through old yearbooks in search of its owner.

In the book, she came across Marilyn Jean Vose. It was a match. 

“So small town America, I was in the parking lot at Shaw’s and this lady who was a friend of the woman who found it said, ‘Hey Marilyn, do you have your class ring back yet?’ And I said, ‘No.’” Vose said.

Vose didn’t know what the woman was talking about, so she went over and talked to her.

“She told me the story that they had found it so I was like, ‘Wow, that’s so cool,’” Vose said. “This would have never happened if this was in the city, you know?”

Vose said the exchange of rings was made four or five weeks ago. Not long after the ring was returned she took it over to Hobbs Jewelers in Peterborough where she had it cleaned and resized.

Curtis Hobbs, a sales associate at Hobbs Jewelers, said he helped clean up Vose’s class ring after she brought it in.

“It was in pretty good condition,” he said of the ring, adding that some oxidation had occurred, which gave it a more rustic look. He said the shop could have reoxidized the ring, but that Vose was content keeping it as it was found.

The jewelers returned it to her about a week ago, and Vose said she has had it on her finger ever since.

“I do plan on wearing it all the time,” Vose said.

Hobbs said they have heard other stories of people losing rings only to rediscover them years later. He recalled a story of a woman who lost her engagement ring and then found it on a carrot that she pulled out of the ground while gardening two or three decades later.

“We hear those stories, but it doesn’t happen too often,” he said.

Hobbs said it’s common that people find rings while using a metal detector, but that it’s hard to match the owner with the ring once it’s discovered. That’s what was surprising to Vose, not so much that the ring was found but that it was returned. 

“I thought, ‘This is just too cool,’” Vose said. “Things like this don’t just happen every day.”

Now, she is on a search to find out how the ring was lost, and she’s wondering if she is remembering the day swimming in Jaffrey correctly.

“I have to say that maybe that’s not exactly what happened because how did the ring get from the lake back to my house?” Vose said.

Vose said she is in the process of connecting with her former boyfriend to see what he remembers. They haven’t talked about it yet, she said.

Regardless, in less than two years Vose will celebrate her 50th high school graduation, and at that time, she’ll be wearing her ring.

“The funny thing is I think it looks better now than if I had worn it for the last 50 years,” Vose said.

Abby Kessler can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 234 or akessler@ledgertranscript.com. Follow her on Twitter @a_kessler91.