Real lost and found story: Ring re­stored, 29 years on

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Pa­trick Beach pbeach@states­man.com

Sam Roy saw a glim­mer in the dust and thought it was prob­a­bly a coin stuck in the ground on the soc­cer fields at Zilker Ele­men­tary School, where he’s in the fifth grade.

It took some dig­ging, but he got it out of the ground, and when re­cess was over he took it in­side to show his teacher. It was a man’s wed­ding ring.

“It was kind of a mys­tery for our class,” said Sam, who’s 10.

He came home with it perched on his thumb, re­called his mom, Kari Anne Roy, and ini­tially he wanted to keep it. But the mom knew it was in­scribed with the names Tom, Mol­lie and a date. The mom de­cided some sleuthing was in or­der and posted the news on Face­book, to no avail.

She combed wed­ding sites, high school re­u­nion sites. With the in­scribed date, she was able to track down Tom and Mol­lie Bid­di­son’s record of mar­riage on the state’s vi­tal statis­tics site. Then she went to the Travis Cen­tral Ap­praisal District’s site to see if the cou­ple were still in the area. They were.

It took months, and all the while, the ring sat on a box of choco­late-cov­ered salted al­monds in the fam­ily’s kitchen. Friends were in­trigued, but there were just too many un­knowns: Were the cou­ple still mar­ried? In the area? “Don’t be too sto­ry­book about it,” Kari Anne Roy re­called them say­ing. Fi­nally, an email ad­dress, an email sent and an­swered, a phone call placed.

“I asked how long it had been lost, and (Tom Bid­di­son) said 29 years, and I started to cry,” she said.

Here’s what hap­pened: Decades ago, the new­ly­wed cou­ple lived near the school and were play­ing catch there. Some un­de­ter­mined time later, Tom no­ticed the ring was miss­ing. Their best guess was that it had come off when Tom re­moved his base­ball glove.

“I was al­ways fight­ing with it,” he re­called.

They searched the grounds with a metal de­tec­tor, but no luck. They weren’t even sure that’s where it had been lost. Then, Mol­lie Bid­di­son said, she bought her hus­band a new ring, and they moved on.

Tom Bid­di­son and his lost ring were re­united in time for the cou­ple’s 31st wed­ding an­niver­sary Dec. 4.

“I gave him the ring,” Mol­lie Bid­di­son said. “I didn’t let him put it on. We went on a hik­ing trip to Wild Basin, went to the wa­ter­fall, and I gave it to him then.”

“It’s a mys­tery, but it’s pretty cool. It’s a good thing,” she said. “I don’t think things hap­pen by chance.”

Now Sam Roy is back to be­ing a reg­u­lar kid, one who has read the Harry Pot­ter se­ries mul­ti­ple times and is hooked on “Minecraft.” But he’s got a neat lit­tle story to tell.

“It was fun while it lasted,” he said.

THAO NGUYEN / FOR AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

Sam Roy, 10, shows the ring he found Oct. 17 on the soc­cer fields at Zilker Ele­men­tary School. It had been lost by its owner, Tom Bid­di­son, nearly 30 years ago.

Sam Roy (left) and his mother, Kari, pose with Tom and Mol­lie Bid­di­son. Sam found Tom Bid­di­son’s wed­ding ring, lost for 29 years. THAO NGUYEN / FOR AMER­I­CAN-STATES­MAN

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