RETURNED RINGS                  By Allan Holden   all rights reserved

    These stories never grow old! Being in the Great Lakes State, I would not be surprised to learn that our club members return more lost rings than any other group!
     This is not because we are nicer people, it's simply because we find more. Minnesota makes the claim to having 10,000 lakes. We simply call Michigan "The Great Lakes State," because we have too many to count! And to think; you thought that was a reference to the "Great Lakes." Well? Maybe it is. The truth is, you are never more than a 10 minute drive from a lake here in Michigan. Also, because of the "BIG" lakes, we have more fresh water shoreline than all the other states combined! This all makes for some great underwater treasure hunting!

        Our good friend, Dan Clark, recovered a nice man's class ring from shoulder-deep water while hunting in Marshall's Lyon Lake back in 1999. Right away, Dan tried to locate the ring's owner, and he thought the job would be easy! This was because the school was clearly Harper Creek High School, the year was 1969, and there were the initials, "C.W.".  As is often the case today, Dan contacted the school, who refused to lend any help. Dan was not about to give up the search. At the library he searched through 1968 and 1969 yearbooks and still was unable to find any C.W.'s who had lost a ring. After checking with locals and anyone else he could find, it was clear that this wasn't going to be so easy after all!

    Almost two years passed since the ring was recovered, yet it was still on Dan's mind. When on a service call to a company with computer problems, Dan struck up a conversation about metal detecting and the subject of the ring came up. It turns out the man he was talking with graduated from the same school as Dan's mystery C.W. . He was so intrigued by Dan's story he decided to call some friends for help. Eventually, someone remembered a C. Willerick who grew up near Lyon Lake.

    Dan had his man! The ring was lost 32 years ago and Dan saw to it the ring was reunited with its original owner. The story was printed by the Battle Creek Enquirer and they did a very good job. Also, I might add, Dan did a very good job mentioning the club by name and we got some very good publicity!

  Another ring story comes from the huge amount of rings found by Rob Poth while hunting in Gull Lake. I was fortunate enough to be able to purchase many of Rob's ring finds last year. One of the rings in the group had been entered by Rob in our 'Jewelry Category' at one of the monthly meetings. That ring had some important clues that inspired Don Bailey to go into his research mode.
    One day Don came into my store with what he believed to be the name of the ring's owner. He even located the owner's phone number. Don asked me to give the name to Rob and he remarked, "Rob can do with it as he pleases."

     Before I even had a chance to talk to Rob, it occurred to me that I might be the current owner of that class ring. With a little searching, I found the Lakeview High School ring and just as Don had said, it was dated 1968. The last clue was engraved inside the band, and if it was the correct ring, it would say "BLT." Don told me that he remembered the initials by thinking 'bacon, lettuce & tomato sandwich." Well, that's what I would have thought of, too! All great thinkers think alike. You can call Don and I anything you want, just don't call us late for dinner! Right, Don?

    I put in a call to William Lee Traver's residence and left a message on their machine. I didn't get a call back that evening, so I tried again. This time I got a recording which repeated the number and said that the line was being checked for problems. I tried three more times the next day and received the same message. Monday morning, I found a message on my answering machine from "Bill," but so far he had no idea what was going on. Once more I tried their home phone, and that time I had Bill's wife on the phone. I told her that I was calling from Pro/Stock Metal Detectors and I have something that I believe belongs to Bill.

" Did your husband go to Lakeview High School?" I asked.

She answered, "Yes, he did."

" Did he graduate in 1968?" I asked. At that point she was onto me! "Did you find the class ring he lost in Gull Lake?" Well, I guess you know, we had our man and secret agent, Don, was right on target!