A shining moment occurred during this year’s Cambridge Alumni Banquet (held the first Saturday of June for alums of Cambridge Schools and Ballard). And it all centered around a class ring.
Vincent “Kelly” Aldrich, Ballard Class of 1972, was reunited not only with former classmates, but with the class ring that he’d purchased right before his graduation.
About six months after purchasing the ring from Josten’s for $45, a lot of money back in that day, Aldrich lost the ring.
“I just woke and noticed it was gone,” he recalled. “I tried retracing my steps, but didn’t find it.”
For 47 years, the heartache of losing that special piece of jewelry has been with him. “I have felt bad about losing it and think of it every time I see someone wearing one.”
On the other side of this story was a lady named Norma Elliott, whose aunt, Pansy Munson, lived next door to Aldrich’s family back in the 1970s. Also part of this story is a woman named Connie Kappos, a 1971 graduate of Ballard High School, who attended school in Cambridge during her elementary years.
Kappos, now of Ankeny, came to the reunion this year, and so did Elliott. Elliott came mostly on a mission — to find the owner of that ring, which she honestly had forgotten about for a long span of time.
“Mrs. Elliott saw my name and knew that my mom grew up in Cambridge, so she showed me the ring. It was from the Class of 1972 and was a man’s ring. Scratched on the inside of the band was V.K.A., but it was very hard to read,” Kappos said.
Elliott had told Kappos that her kids had found the ring a number of years ago in her aunt’s yard.
“She didn’t know Kelly or anything. I did not know that the lady known to me growing up as Pansy Munson was an aunt to Mrs. Elliott … until Mrs. Elliott told me. But still, I never thought of Kelly (at that moment).”
At the reunion, Kappos approached another Cambridge native, Rex Baker, who had graduated in 1972. “I went over to him and said, ‘Who in your class had a first name that started with a V?’” And right at that moment it hit her and both she and Baker said, “Kelly.” Most people didn’t think about the fact that Aldrich’s real name was Vincent. And it just so happened that Aldrich was sitting at the table right next to where they were talking.
“I turned around and said, ‘Hey, Kelly, do you still have your class ring?’ He says, ‘No, I lost it shortly after my folks bought it and they had a fit because it cost $45.’”
Kappos continued, “I said, come over to this other table. I think this lady has your ring.”
Aldrich said he couldn’t quite believe it. It most certainly was his ring. “It was pretty emotional to have it returned … surreal,” he said.
Kappos, claiming she probably watches too much “Law & Order,” said she was excited to be part of the amateur sleuthing that it took to get the ring returned to its rightful owner. “I had to laugh. I always wanted to be a detective,” she said.
As for Aldrich, the ring is a tad bit too small on his finger today, but he’s planning to wear it again. “I’m going to have it resized,” he said.