Janesville76.3°

Lost ring found in a garden 20 years later

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
August 15, 2008
— Teresa Spencer unearthed a lost treasure while she was weeding her garden last month.

With a yank of an undesired plant, “out came this ring,’’ said Diane Hanley, Spencer’s daughter.


At first, Spencer thought she’d found a child’s play ring. But after taking it inside and cleaning it with a toothbrush she realized what it was.


Spencer then called the neighbor who had tilled the garden—the first she’s planted in 18 years—to see if she’d lost a ring. She hadn’t.


Then Spencer called Hanley and asked if she remembered where she’d lost her diamond engagement ring and wedding band about 20 years ago. Hanley only knew it was at her mother’s house on the day of her sister’s graduation party, when she had taken them off and put them in her front pocket before washing dishes.


“I went outside, visited with other people in the backyard and later on when I thought about it, the rings weren’t in my pocket,” Hanley said. “I’d gone to the store so wasn’t sure where I lost them.”


Family members looked all over for the rings, and Hanley even went back to the store parking lot to search for them. But the ring set was nowhere to be found.


“I figured it was a lost cause and resolved I’d never find them,’’ Hanley said.


At least that was the case until July 19, 2008.


To remember what her wedding ring set looked like, Hanley looked through her wedding photo album before going to her mother’s house to look at them.


“Sure enough it was my wedding rings. I recognized them right away,’’ Hanley said. “I bawled and bawled, then my mom started crying.”


Then she put her rings on and hasn’t taken them off since.


“I used to, to shower or do dishes, but I won’t again,’’ Hanley said.


The only damage to the rings a small knick on the side of the band.


“You can hardly see it,” Hanley said. “They are just fine. There’s nothing wrong.”


Hanley’s husband, Rick, has wanted to buy her a new wedding ring set for years, but it never happened due to other financial obligations, she said.


It’s still hard sometimes for Hanley to believe her rings have been found.


“We’re Catholics, so I prayed and prayed and prayed,’’ she said, admitting she eventually gave up.


But, sometimes, she said, “You’ve got to wait for your prayers to be answered.”



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