Saturday, January 22, 2011

Lost and Found: A ring with a story to tell

What do you call it when everything aligns to go your way?

A few months ago, Joanne Casalbore lost her wedding ring. She woke up on a Wednesday morning and didn’t find it in either of the two places she usually sets it down. She looked around, wrote down all the places she’d been, then made calls. Nothing. Panic settled into despair.

Joanne had worn that ring for 33 years, since the day her husband-to-be gave it to her. It was Nov. 11, 1977, she says, without hesitating. She was heading from New Jersey to New York City for work, and he handed it to her before she left. “It’s not very romantic,” she says, but it was their moment, and she remembers it vividly, and so does he.

She later would have the diamond reset into a platinum wedding band. And now, that ring was gone.

“I felt so empty,” she says. “And nothing, nothing could take that emptiness away.”

By mid-November – almost a month after the ring was lost – Joanne’s adult daughter, Ali, persuaded her parents to contemplate a replacement. One Saturday morning, Joanne and her husband, Carl, reluctantly headed out toward a jewelry store in SouthPark, near where Joanne works. But, as Joanne notes: “My husband is a man, and he turned in the wrong parking lot.” That parking lot was another jeweler’s – Donald Haack Diamonds and Fine Gems.

Joanne and Carl decided to go inside, where they were greeted by saleswoman Sara Wilkinson. Joanne told Sara about the lost ring, and Sara considered directing the couple to another salesperson who specialized in insurance claims. But Joanne was clearly upset, and Sara didn’t want her to feel passed around.

The couple and the saleswoman spent more than an hour looking at diamonds and mountings. Joanne seemed to gravitate toward something completely unlike the ring she’d lost. “It’s so different. It’s so different,” Carl said, gently. A couple of times, Joanne stopped the whole process to cry.

Says Sara: “Your wedding ring to me represents all the joys and tears of your marriage. You could see that all on her face.”

Joanne and Carl narrowed things down to a couple of mounts and diamonds, then went home to think about it. They also considered trying to recreate the ring, and they kept in touch with Sara about that possibility. No one was in a rush.

At the end of the month, Sara received another phone call. A friend, Jackie Sherard, had something to show her. “I found something, and I’m pretty sure it’s real,” she said, after coming into the jeweler. She placed an unusual ring on Sara’s desk. “Oh my God,” Sara said.

The next day, Joanne came in with an appraisal of the lost ring. Sara had left a cautious phone message, and Joanne was skeptical, but then she watched Sara’s eyes as she looked at the photo on the appraisal.

“You have the ring,” Joanne said, more declaration than question. Sara pulled out a small cloth bag. She pulled the ring out of the bag. She placed it in Joanne’s hand. There was screaming and jumping and, all across the office, crying.

“I still shake thinking about it,” Joanne says.

Jackie, it turned out, had found the ring in an uptown parking garage – the same garage where Joanne’s son parks his car. Joanne, who lives uptown, usually parks her car in a different garage, but she had used her son’s spot on one day. She’d forgotten about that, so she’d never made the call to the same property manager Jackie called when she found the ring.

All of which makes the ring reunion even more unlikely. The Casalbores and Sara Wilkinson have thought about that often in the days since. What if Carl hadn’t turned into the wrong parking lot that Saturday morning? What if Sara had handed them off to the other saleswoman? What if someone other than her friend Jackie had noticed something shiny on a parking garage floor in uptown?

“It’s great,” says Jackie, who never hesitated to reunite the ring with its owner. “A miracle,” says Joanne, who thanked her with a gift and a hug. Says Sara, the saleswoman: “Amazing.”

What do you call it when everything aligns to go your way? It happens more often than most of us probably want to admit, in big ways and small. We get green lights all the way home, or we happen upon the right moment, the right conversation. The right person.

That’s harder to remember in times like these, when the stack of bad things in our lives seems to tower over the stack of good. Or maybe it’s just human nature to see it like that.

Because when everything lines up to go our way, we call it serendipity.

And when everything doesn’t, we call it life.


Collegegirl said...

awesome story.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful story and a reminder that there is good in the world!

nancy Lovett said...

Things like this is when God Winks!!!!

Cedar Posts said...

Peter, great tale but totally unreadable.

I am not a professional so what do I know?


ie: "Sara received another phone call" how does Sara receive another phone call? Where does she receive the first phone call?

By the way are we in New York, New Jersey or Charlotte? I was lost after the second paragraph.

I understand writers who like to make the reader work, but I had to back up som many time I fogot what the story was about.

A story like this should flow so that the end comes along with a nice warm fuzzy feeling instead of a sigh of pure relief that I've managed to wade through the mess.

I think it is a great story, well worth telling so please send this one back to re-write.

pstonge said...

Cedar Posts: Sorry this one had you struggling. To answer your specific question: The sentence before Sara receiving another call said that the Casalbores stayed in touch with her about their plans to recreate the lost ring.


Lynne Stevenson said...

It is absolutely wonderful when Karma and fate work in the right direction. Stories like this remind us that not all people are evil and there are a few good souls out there. I'm still holding out hope that eventually my high school ring my husband lost at our local post office about 25 years ago will resurface. This just goes to show that you never know.

Anonymous said...

We always like to read a story like this, but for every found ring, there are probably 10 that are never found. I've lost a couple myself, one of which came off in the ocean in another state. Perhaps, someone else found them.

For every time I get green lights all the way home, there is another time that seems like I hit mostly reds.

Life, in general, has been brought me many more good things than bad, and I am very grateful.

Anonymous said...

Fluff twinkle toe stuff but St Onge and a few others need to stick with this lightweight happy genre niche. Moms apple pie. Maybe some romantic fiction paperback reviews? What about some animal pet love stories? Ole movies like Black Beauty or even Ole Yeller make great happy boy girl talk. We sure miss Fred Rogers and its a beautiful day in the neighborhood ..

Anonymous said...

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - "Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither murderers or sexually immoral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nor the wicked homosexual offenders nor unrepentant thieves nor the greedy swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God."

Leviticus 18:22 - "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable and you will die the death."

Leviticus 20:13 - "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman or a woman with a woman as with a man, both of them have done what is detestable and an abomination. They must all be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads for eternity."