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Diver Finds A Class Ring Lost During The '30s

Jan 6, 2012
Originally published on January 6, 2012 4:58 pm
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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: Lost time is never found again. But while days and decades may slip away for good, sometimes the things we lose have a funny habit of finding their way back.

BLOCK: Take this example from the Orlando Sentinel. A 38-year-old switch technician at AT&T named Reed Banjanin was scuba diving last summer outside Orlando. He was combing the sandy bottom of a natural spring with a metal detector when he came across a gold class ring.

REED BANJANIN: I was just amazed. I kept staring at it. I was like, this can't be real. I mean, it's in absolutely perfect condition.

BLOCK: The ring - from Mississippi Women's College - bore the date 1923 and an inscription. The name: Louise Hearst.

SIEGEL: After 20 years of diving, Banjanin said this is, by far, his best find, and he decided to try to find Ms. Hearst. So he set out to do some serious sleuthing.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: He hit the Internet. He searched Louise Hearst, and he put the word out on Facebook.

BLOCK: Banjanin quickly learned that Ms. Hearst was born in 1903 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but it took months before he came across a marriage record and the clue he needed: her married name.

SIEGEL: Louise Hearst had married Robert S. Entzminger two years after her college graduation. He learned that Louise Entzminger died in 1975, but Banjanin didn't let it go at that.

BLOCK: He tracked down another member of the Entzminger family in Oakton, Virginia: Louise's grandson, John.

JOHN ENTZMINGER: The first call I got was: Do you know anybody by the name of John Entzminger? And sure enough, she is my grandmother.

BANJANIN: So I called him and told him about it. He was just astounded.

ENTZMINGER: Well, it was quite a pretty - I said what? You found what?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BANJANIN: And so, a few days after that, I sent the ring to him, and he received it, I think, on Christmas Eve.

ENTZMINGER: Yeah. U.S. postal, special delivery.

SIEGEL: Lost but found again.

BANJANIN: I think she knows that I found it.

ENTZMINGER: Oh, yes, she would just be laughing and rejoicing about the finding it again.

BANJANIN: I'm just happy it's back in the hands of a relative, back where it belongs.

ENTZMINGER: She'll just say this is a miracle.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BLOCK: That's John Entzminger and Reed Banjanin. Banjanin returned Entzminger's grandmother's class ring. They figure it's nearly 40 years since she had lost it in that natural spring outside Orlando. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.