For four decades, a precious gift sat at the bottom of White River Lake, a keepsake that was written off as lost forever. However, after a bizarre turn of events, the missing gift would find its way back to its owner 40 years later.
Gary Oakley, the owner of the Lubbock Rare Coin shop off of 34th Street and Flint for the past 4 years, is familiar with odd and unusual items being brought in but none with a story quite like this one.
He says a gentleman came into his shop on February 9th wanting to sell a piece of jewelry he stumbled upon while walking on the dried-up bed of White River Lake. "The lake was down about 30 feet from the droughts," Oakley said. "He was walking near the water's edge when he saw this black glob. He picks it up, takes it home, starts cleaning it and discovers it's a class ring."
Oakley was now holding a 1970 Texas Tech class ring. "I looked at it and noticed there were three initials on the inside of the ring. I just thought someone might have lost this ring," he said.
Curious about this mysterious ring that had been lost in the murky waters of the lake, Oakley called the Texas Tech Alumni Association to pass on the initials, hoping to reel in the owner.
"Sure enough a couple of days later I got a call from a man who says he lost a ring on White River Lake. He says my mother bought me that ring," Gary said.
The ring's owner says he had been water skiing back in 1972 when it slipped off his finger. Thinking it was gone forever, the owner was beyond shocked when he was able to once again slip the ring on his finger.
"When I handed it to him he said yeah that's it. He put it on and said it's still loose, and that's how I lost it," Oakley laughed. "It was amazing, it really was."
Oakley says the first thing the owner said he was going to do was show the ring to his 89-year-old mother who bought it for him 43 years ago.
It was a happy and unexpected ending to a lost but never-forgotten keepsake.
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