Lost ring returned decades later

Ethel Ridley hands Glenn Williams his Class of 1973 Grady High School ring Monday at the Senior Citizen Resident Center in Clovis. Ridley found the ring in the sand at Ute Lake in the 1980s. (Staff photo: Ryn Gargulinski)

By Ryn Gargulinski

When Ethel Ridley stepped out of her truck at Ute Lake one day in the early 1980s on a fishing trip, she remembers feeling something hard under her foot.

There, buried in the sand, was a Class of 1973 Grady High School ring. Inscribed inside the ring were the initials “GW.”

Ridley put the ring aside and promptly forgot about it.

Years went by. Ridley’s fishing partner and husband died.

When she was in her early 90s, Ridley sold her home and all its furnishings and moved to the Senior Citizen Resident Center on Mabry Drive. She kept the bare minimum. For some reason she kept the ring, which she put it in a drawer.

Again it slipped from her mind until her son Paul Ridley spied it while putting away his mother’s groceries.

“I asked what it was and where it came from,” said Paul Ridley, “so she told me the story.”

Ridley decided to track down the ring owner.

After his second phone call to Grady High School earlier this year, Paul Ridley’s call was answered by an excited secretary. She said her brother was in the class of 1973. It turned out the ring belong to Glenn Williams of Clovis.
Family, new friend — and ring — were reunited Monday afternoon at the senior center.

“I am definitely happy to have this back,” said Williams as a grinning Ethel Ridley handed him the ring. “I would wear it but it does not fit anymore,” said Williams, adding that “50-year-old knuckles are much bigger than 17-year-old knuckles.”

Williams remembers losing the ring on a water-skiing outing in the early 1980s. Neither Williams nor Ethel Ridley were sure of exact dates, or how long the ring may have lain in the sand before it was rescued from beneath Ethel Ridley’s shoe.

What was important to them was it was back with its rightful owner.

“It would be great if you could find my class ring,” Ethel Ridley joked of her 1931 Cement, Okla., class ring, which she said she lost in 1932 during one of the frequent and debilitating storms of the Dust Bowl era.