Quite a nice gesture was made to me a couple of weeks ago from a fellow classmate who had, of all things, found and purchased a woman’s high school ring on eBay and wondered if it were mine.
“It’s the class of 1977,” he wrote, “and inside are the initials PMS, and I wondered if you had lost yours?”
Here’s the funny thing, with the exception of those initials that have plagued me since birth, resulting in a steadfast refusal to wear any monogrammed sweaters when they were all the rage: I didn’t even realize the ring was missing!
I mean, I had noticed it not being around ages ago and figured it was in the back of a sock drawer or in my mother’s jewelry box. As I told my classmate, who was satisfied the ring was mine after my description of the cheap, little, green glass stone in the middle, it wasn’t a huge object of sentimentality for me: The only thing I particularly enjoyed about high school was being on the newspaper staff and going to that class, the last of the day, because we were expected to go out and sell ads, which resulted in my leaving the school parking lot in my ’69 VW Fastback and heading directly to the barn. Five days a week.
(I also managed to graduate high school without taking a single algebra class, which I still to this day consider my greatest achievement. It also explains why I have no marketable skills.)
“I see the ring was sawed in half,” wrote my classmate. “I suppose to see if it was real gold.”
Nah, I told him. It was sawed in half in the ER when I went airborne from a horse and broke my finger, and it wouldn’t come off. I went on to tell him thanks for offering to send it to me, but I wasn’t really attached to it.
“You should get it back,” Paul immediately suggested, “or you might regret it someday.”
“You think?” I asked, frowning. “I can’t imagine regretting not having something I didn’t even know I’d lost. Besides, high school wasn’t filled with halcyon days for me.”
“Still,” he said, and returned to seasoning the mashed sweet potatoes with honey and turmeric (you should try them like that — really delicious and very good for you), “you never know.”
I chewed on that for a moment, then wrote back and asked if I could indeed have the ring, and it arrived in the mail, lickity split, a couple of days later: too small to fit over my knuckle, initials clearly stamped inside, the band sawed in half. A tarnished little thing that, if I remember, cost around 20 bucks.
But here’s the thing: How on earth did it end up on eBay? In Rock Hill, S.C.? When I didn’t even realize it was really lost? I can’t cry, “theft!” because I probably left it somewhere. But it’s an odd thing to think that a personal trinket that might have gone through several hands, including a dumpster diver or a yard sale, might appear out of the blue like that, for sale online, for the whole world to see.
It’s not as impressive as someone finding a long-lost wedding band in the belly of a fish, which has happened more than once, but it’s still a bit of a head-scratcher, and a bit disconcerting because now I wonder what other things of mine that I can’t quite put my hands on might end up for sale somewhere? My autographed Marshall Tucker album from 1978? The cringeworthy teenage diary held together by rubber bands and angst? That one photo from Sam Kinison’s Halloween party?
Mmm, mmm, mm.
May be time to change my middle name to Bertha.
PBS is much more my style, anyway.