Fifty years ago, love was lost when a man and his girlfriend broke up, and so was the high school ring he gave her when she went “steady” with him in Pennsylvania where they lived at the time.
Now, after half a century, the ring has been found and is back in possession of its original owner, Horst Adler, Quakertown (Pa.) Community High School, class of 1959, who now lives in east Mesa.
In late October, Adler received an e-mail from Lelette Magrini, a woman from Oakland, N.J., who recently discovered the 14K gold ring with a black onyx in a plastic box of gems and other stones her father left her when he passed away in 1989. Magrini noticed the initials “H.A.” inside the ring and it intrigued her. She then contacted Alice Bishop, an administrative assistant at the school’s district office, who saw that only one person from the graduating class had those initials. Bishop then found an e-mail address for Adler after a Google search on the Internet and e-mailed Magrini back to tell her she found him.
“I was flabbergasted,” Adler said about the ring he gave to the girl in 1960. “Who would take the time and initiative to do the detective work to find the owner of the ring?”
Adler, 69, who worked in information technology systems for 22 years, received the ring from Magrini shortly before Christmas, neatly packaged in a box. Now, the ring is resting on his desk.
Adler said he had given the ring to Valda Ozols, a Latvian girl he was dating at the time whom he met at the Latvian Baptist Church of Philadelphia where they were active in the choir, youth events and other social functions. Adler, who is part German and part Latvian himself, said they had an ethnic connection in common, and after they started dating their lives centered around the church.
“She put the ring on a chain and wore it around her neck,” Adler said. “We went steady. Does that term mean anything to anyone today? I guess it’s gone out of vogue. Going steady was a big deal then.”
But after about two years Adler and Ozols broke up. Adler said he never asked for the ring back and eventually lost touch with Ozols. When Adler and his wife were living in Maryland in the early 1970s, he said he last heard from Alda’s cousin that she had moved to the Chicago area.
“It brought back a lot of memories,” Adler said of opening the box after he received the ring in the mail.
Magrini did not know how the ring wound up in her father’s belongings, but said that her father used to collect gems and stones and trade them with people throughout the United States. Her father, Albert “Bundy” Beres, also had gone to a family wedding in Philadelphia in the early 1960s.
Adler and his wife, Jeannette, have been married for 45 years, and they have two sons, ages 41 and 43.
“The ring is older than my boys,” Adler said. “I am amazed at the integrity and sensitivity that someone would take the time to research its owner. In this day in age when everyone’s so busy, it’s amazing that someone would take the time to recognize that the ring had sentimental value to somebody. The speed of which (Bishop and Magrini) located the owner of the ring is remarkable evidence to our communicative capabilities through the Internet and electronic communication.”
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