Davie High class ring found 60 years later

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Leonard Jones knew better than to open the box.

His brother David had invited the family over for dinner. That wasn’t uncommon. They got together often at his house, where the family had grown up off of Cedar Grove Church Road in the Fork community.

But then David brought out the box.

He said that a woman had brought it by a couple of days ago, saying she really wanted Leonard to have what was inside. He assured her, he said, that Leonard would get it.

There was no woman. That was part of the joke.

David Jones was building an outside room, and upon taking a break, did one of the things he enjoys doing, walking around the property with a metal detector.

When the metal detector made that familiar noise that something was near, he began to dig. David didn’t have to go far until he found a ring. It was a Davie County High School senior class ring from 1957, the first year the school was open. He knew exactly who it belonged to, as well. His brother Leonard had lost it some 60 years ago.

Leonard had attended Shady Grove School, but went to Davie for his senior year when that school opened. He remembered his mother paying $20 for the ring.

Just a few months after graduation, Leonard was walking his dogs through the woods and when he returned, the ring was gone. He backtracked his steps. Still, no ring. Other family members joined in the search. Still, no ring.

“We looked all around,” Leonard said. “I said, well, it’s gone. I figured it was somewhere in the woods. Winning the lottery would have been easier than finding that ring.”

David moved back to the property in 2008, and has found all kinds of nuts, bolts, wrenches and other items with his metal detector.

And now, a ring. “It didn’t even have any pitted places on it,” he said. “When I got it, I knew what I had found.”

But he didn’t call Leonard immediately.

Laying awake in bed that night, he came up with a plan.

He called the brothers and sisters in for a meal. That’s when he brought out the box and told the story of the elderly woman bringing it by for Leonard.

Leonard wasn’t buying into that story. He ignored the box, which included a letter.

Brother Dallas finally opened the box, and someone else read the letter.

The initial greeting made Leonard’s wife, Mary Nell, take notice.

“Dearest Leonard,” it started. “I’ve missed you so much these last 60 years. The last few years we have been so close, but you just didn’t look my way. I haven’t changed much. I still have a heart of gold and ruby red cheeks (The ring was flanked with rubies), always wondering if we would ever get together again. Dallas, Nelson and Marlene (their brothers and sisters) have tried to get us together, but to no avail. I still carry your initials everywhere I go. It’s time to bring everything out into the open. The wait is over and I want to reveal myself to you.”

Leonard was still skeptical, and maybe a bit worried.

Then Mary Nell opened the paper that surrounded the ring.