Af­ter 55 years, class ring re­turned to its owner

The Globe - - OPINION - By Caitlin Burns

When lo­cal res­i­dent Wayne Jack­son lost his Lower Moreland High School class ring 55 years ago, he thought he’d never see it again. But on Jan. 7 he re­ceived it in the mail from a man in Florida who had ac­quired it.

“I’m to­tally lost on it,” Jack­son said. “One minute I re­mem­ber hav­ing it, then I went into the Air Force right af­ter grad­u­a­tion.”

Jack­son said while in the Air Force he was sta­tioned in Ja­pan and, he be­lieves, left the ring at home in Amer­ica on his dresser. How­ever, when he re­turned, it wasn’t there. But Jack­son said he is con­fused by the whole sit­u­a­tion and, since 55 years is a long time, he might be think­ing of an­other ring he left there when sta­tioned in Ja­pan. Jack­son said, ul­ti­mately, he has no idea how it came to be in the pos­ses­sion of Rock­ledge na­tive Bob Fair, who now lives near Venice, Fla.

Fair told the Venice Gon- dolier news­pa­per that he had re­ceived the Class of 1958 ring from his girl­friend as a ninth-grader in 1964 as a sign that they were go­ing steady. When they broke up, he said, the ring was put into a drawer at his mother’s Rock­ledge home. Un­known to him, his mother took it with her when she moved to Venice in 1980. Fair’s mother died in 2007 and, he said, last month he came across the ring while look­ing through her jew­elry. He de­cided to find who it be­longed to.

The ini­tials “TWJ” were en­graved on the in­side of the ring, so Fair con­tacted Lower Moreland High School, which in turn di­rected Fair to the school’s alumni as­so­ci­a­tion. Those three ini­tials, along with the 1958 class date, helped alumni track down Jack­son. They found that Jack­son was the only mem­ber of the class with those ini­tials. Fair then reached out to Jack­son to see if that was his ring.

Both Jack­son and Fair said they had never met or talked be­fore that phone call.

“I’m very ex­cited about [get­ting it back],” Jack­son said. “Af­ter 55 years, I fi­nally re­ceived my ring.”

Jack­son said he plans to give the ring to his 15-yearold grand­daugh­ter, whom he helped raise since she was an in­fant. He said she re­cently was di­ag­nosed with Type 2 di­a­betes and has been strug­gling to stay healthy. He hopes the ring will help her feel sup­ported.

“I’m her sup­port right now,” Jack­son said. “Any­time she’s down and out, she can look down at the ring and say ‘Pop-pop’s look­ing out for me.’”

In ad­di­tion, Jack­son said he feels the ring has brought him a new start for 2013. He said shortly af­ter re­ceiv­ing the ring in the mail, he was re­united with a daugh­ter with whom he had lost con­tact years ago.

“They say things come in threes,” Jack­son said. “It’s al­most like this ring has started some­thing.”

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